Share “Special Care in Oklahoma City helps those...”

Special Care in Oklahoma City helps those with needs learn valuable life lessons

Bri Johnson, 8, has learned many lessons about self-esteem, thanks in part to almost seven years that she has spent in programs at Special Care, an early childhood education center in Oklahoma City with specialized care and therapeutic services for children with and without special needs.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: July 27, 2014 at 3:00 pm •  Published: July 27, 2014

At only 8, Bri Johnson understands a few life lessons that even some adults still struggle with.

The vibrant girl is full of sage advice. Just ask.

“You’re beautiful in your own way, and don’t let anybody get you down just because you don’t look as beautiful as everybody else,” she says.

“Know you’re beautiful inside — it’s what counts instead than outside,” she adds.

And most importantly, she says, “Never make fun of somebody.”

These are things Bri has learned, thanks in part to almost seven years that she has spent in programs at Special Care, an early childhood education center with specialized care and therapeutic services for children with and without special needs.

The Oklahoma City education center includes classes of such children, including Bri and her 3-year-old sister, Sammi.

Bri was accepted into Special Care’s program at 15 months. Her grandmother, Walkidia Gomez, took Bri there after doctors diagnosed the girl with spinal muscular atrophy.

Bri has the Type II form of the disorder. She hasn’t been able to walk since she was 1 and uses a power wheelchair. Bri also wears a brace that keeps her upright and helps with her scoliosis.

Symptoms of this type of the disorder typically appear between ages 2 and 17, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Complications include scoliosis and chronic shortening of muscles or tendons around joints, according to the institute.

The prognosis is poor for babies who are diagnosed with the Type I form of the disorder. Most do not live past their second birthday.

For children like Bri with Type II, the prognosis for life expectancy or for independent standing or walking roughly correlates with how old they are when they first begin to experience symptoms, according to the NIH. Life expectancy is hard to calculate, but some people with spinal muscular atrophy live into adolescence or young adulthood.

Continue reading this story on the...

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
+ show more


It feels like a family. Everyone here is different but the same in their own little ways. We have different personalities, we don’t look the same, we don’t act the same — we can be just the way we want to be, and we chose the way we want to be.”

Bri Johnson,
Johnson, 8, was accepted into the Special Care education center after doctors diagnosed her with spinal muscular atrophy.

Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    DeMarco Murray still practicing, Weeden misses for personal reasons
  2. 2
    OU football: Sooners take awesome Christmas card photo
  3. 3
    'Duck Dynasty' Star: 'I'm Trying To Figure Out' Whether Being Gay Is A Choice
  4. 4
    Obama Says Sony Should Not Have Pulled Film Over Hacking
  5. 5
    Breathing in Pollution While Pregnant Linked to Autism
+ show more