CCS senior Brooklyn Christensen teaches Down syndrome patients how to swim as part of her SAE, titled Special Swimming for Special Kids.
CCS senior uses lifeguarding skills for SAE project
Brooklyn Christensen, a senior at Chase County Schools, has a personal interest in her supervised agricultural experience (SAE).
Her SAE, called Special Swimming for Special Kids, is an adapted aquatics program free to kids with Down syndrome and their parents or guardians.
“I don’t remember how exactly the idea came to be, but I love working with people with special needs,” Christensen said.
The senior’s knowledge on the disease comes from family members and friends being diagnosed, including her brother, a four-year-old nephew and a classmate.
Christensen’s brother and nephew do water therapy, which she has helped with.
“That gave me a foot in the door,” she said.
“I have connections with doctors who helped teach and guide me to learn how to do adapted aquatics,” Christensen added. “I also read books and magazines and have watched many videos on how to best help the families that I work with.”
In Christensen’s program, she works with all ages of Down syndrome patients, helping them with muscle mobility and learning how to swim.
The parents and guardians are also a big part of the picture.
“I really stressed that the parents were a part of the swimming lessons because they were the people that these kids are dependent on, know, and trust.” Christensen said. “By teaching the adults my techniques, I am able to continue helping these children for years to come.”
For legal reasons, convenience reasons and because there is not a large number of children with Down syndrome in southwest Nebraska, Christensen does her lessons at her sister Erica Fish’s house in Oklahoma City.
“My sister and her family were willing to let me use their pool so that I didn’t have the expense of renting a pool for my project,” she added.
Christensen also works at the Imperial city pool, so she is certified in lifeguarding, CPR and also has her pool manager’s license.
After high school, she plans to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to major in chemistry, continuing on the path of becoming a certified anesthesiologist.
Christensen was also one of six Imperial FFA members who recently met the qualifications to receive the Nebraska State FFA Degree.