Waco: Baylor group’s donation causes a stir in high school classroom

(Photo by Ke'Sha Lopez)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) There was a lot of excitement in Kristen McKerall's Life Skills class at Midway High School Wednesday.

The student group Baylor Helping Hands provided one of her special needs students with a new supportive positioning chair.

The group raised around $4,500 to purchase the chair for 17-year-old senior Cody Kusler who has low functioning autism.

He also suffers from epilepsy and cerebral palsy

The new Smirthwaite Hardrock chair has a table, a more comfortable belt to keep him secure and wheels that allow his teachers to easily move him from one learning table to the next.

"We are actually able to just wheel him right over and we don't have to deal with getting him up and out of the chair and then back in the chair which for Cody that's a lot of transfers,” McKerall said.

“That's a lot of movement for him and it's easy to get over-stimulated."

McKerall said the chair helps Cody stay focused longer on his learning activities.

In the past she said he could stay engaged for about two minutes.

Since he has been using the chair for the last month that time has increased to between eight and 11 minutes.

She said they are now able to work on more activities that are vital to his growth and development.

His mother, Angela Kusler said she sees a difference in her son.

"We're absolutely getting more great days out of Cody and more 'he did academics today. He participated well in academics.' We get a lot more of that each day since we've had the chair."

Once Cody graduates next year the chair will stay in the district so that other students who face similar challenges can benefit from it.