Volunteer Spotlight: Karly Koop, Rice Elementary School

September 9, 2016



Karly Koop, 22, has spent the last three years volunteering in the Wiggle Room (Sensory Motor Lab) at Rice Elementary School.  Drawing from her own experiences with Dyspraxia, a neurological disorder that impairs motor, processing and other cognitive skills, Karly uses different methods of thinking to help students reach their goals.


Since she was a child, Karly's Dyspraxia has impaired her motor skills and visual perception. Because of this, she has to find new ways to complete normal tasks which are, in most cases, different methods from how others accomplish tasks.


"One thing that is really cool about my motor planning and visual perception difficulties is that I 'see' things differently than most people and figure out new ways to get things done," Karly said. For example, she was able to teach a neighbor to learn to ride a bike without training wheels simply by encouraging the child to use the training bar on the back of the seat as a back rest. This simple act of feeling the bar against her back made the child feel more confident and less worried that she might fall. That day, she took off on the bike all on her own.


"The way I look at it, being 'out of sync' with the rest of the world isn't such a bad thing," Karly said. "In fact, I think it's a blessing. I like the way I am and I appreciate that my uniqueness can help other kids."


Although a steady volunteer for the past three years, Karly was recently hired by Rice Elementary School to run the Wiggle Room two days a week working with 36 children each day.


Thank you, Karly, for being yourself and helping students be true to themselves as well. 

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