Chelsea Werner was born with Down Syndrome, a condition that can cause certain medical issues including low muscle tone.
Shortly after she was born, Chelsea’s parents decided to get her into gymnastics to help build her muscles. After a long search, they found a great coach who was willing to teach her.
When she started off, Chelsea had trouble with even the simplest exercises. She struggled badly. Yet this did not stop her, it only caused her to want to practice more. She found that the harder she worked, the more she improved. Over many years, she increased her practice time from 1 hour a week to over 12 hours a week!
Chelsea went on to compete against other children with Special Needs and is now a 4 time Special Olympics USA National Champion. More recently, she has competed against typical children in USA Gymnastics events. And above all, she remains a super nice, caring and happy person.
Chelsea is a great role model for all children to be the best they can be. Every day she shows the power of hard work, focus and passion.
Watch and learn more about Chelsea’s inspiring story thanks to The Today Show:
- Watch other great IMK stories about children and adults that exhibit perseverance or who have special needs
- Read IMK’s list of great quotes for kids about the importance of hard work and doing your best
- Learn more about Down Syndrome and what it’s like to have Down Syndrome
Topics for Discussion:
- How would you describe Chelsea’s attitude and what role has it played in her life?
- Do you think of Chelsea as having a disability?
- What is one lesson you can learn and apply in your own life from Chelsea?
- Learn more about the Special Olympics and explore ways to get involved
- Find a child with special needs in your school or neighborhood and try to become their friend.
- Think about a big goal that you have. It could be for school, for family, or any other important area of your life. Write it down, using this goal worksheet or create your own worksheet. Keep track of your progress, stick with it and reward yourself when you have completed it. Keep doing this and you will be surprised at how much you can achieve.
Teacher and Parent Features:
- Here are some great insights and tips on educating children with Down Syndrome by special ed teacher and Aunt extraordinaire Marianne Young, who is homeschooling her beautiful niece Felicity.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.