The most severely disabled students in Boston and their families have a special place for Thanksgiving. The Carter School has transformed the lives of many, and the families look forward each year to giving thanks for the school that affirms what students can do, rather than focusing on their disabilities alone.
Students come to the Carter School with extreme developmental, mental, and physical disabilities. Every year, the 25 students, along with families and friends come together at a potluck Thanksgiving dinner hosted by the school. For some with no access to special transportation, it may be the only Thanksgiving dinner they will be able to attend.
“Our students are thought to be kind of the 1 percent of individuals in our city with disabilities,” says Carter principal Mark O’Connor.
By one percent, he means the most severely disabled students enrolled in the Boston public school system. All except two students use wheelchairs all the time. Most cannot speak at all, and those that can have few language skills. They are children, ages 12 to 21, and their parents say the Carter School is a haven that helps them to achieve to the best of their abilities.