My Experience at Lyle Torrant

My Experience at Lyle Torrant
Rebekah A. Radtke
Jackson College


My Experience at Lyle Torrant


I can genuinely say that my experience at Lyle Torrant surprised
me. I knew that as long as nothing tragic happened during the day, I
was going to enjoy it, but I did not expect to love it as much as I did.
I’ve always understood that every human life has value, but I never
had the opportunity to witness the value of those with special needs
until now. This clinical experience taught so much from practical
nursing skills to teamwork to the joy of these students.
After looking at the records of the six students I was working
with, I noticed that they all had the diagnosis of cerebral palsy in
common. At first, this confused me because the only case of cerebral
palsy I personally knew about was Gianna Jessen, a pro-life advocate
who got the disorder because of a lack of oxygenation to her brain
while surviving a saline abortion. She has a slight limp and her speech
is somewhat affected, but otherwise she is completely fine. So, why
were all these children in wheelchairs and in need of such extensive
care? After some research, I realized that Ms. Jessen was on the lighter
end of the spectrum of cerebral palsy, while these students were on
the heavier side. Cerebral palsy is a disorder having to do with
movement and posture; it occurs when the parts of the brain
controlling them are either not developed or they’ve been damaged.
The disorder also commonly causes seizures, which explained now why
many of the students dealt with them recurrently. Sadly, there’s no
cure for this disorder, but it doesn’t get worse and there are plenty of

My Experience at Lyle Torrant


treatment options to improve the lives of those affected by it-options I
got to witness be successful firsthand.
In the room, there were four people working together to help
these students learn and thrive in any capacity they could: two
teachers named Andrea and Allyson, a nurse named Kris, and a
volunteer/former student of the school named Kevin. Andrea and
Allyson worked so well together being nurturing and working with
every student at their own pace. It was interesting how during their
lessons Andrea and Allyson used these electronic answering devices
that the students simply had to press to use. Because purposeful
movement was extremely difficult for many of the students, they could
even answer simply by looking at the device and letting them press the
button against their hands, cheeks, and feet. Kris was excellent at
caring for the students’ physical needs such as their tube feedings and
catheterizations. Something I noticed, though, was that although
everyone had their own responsibilities in the room, they went outside
of their roles to make sure every student was given the best care. For
instance, while Andrea and Allyson moved the students from their
wheelchairs into their therapeutic sitting arrangements, Kris taught
them all their vocabulary and their number for the month. I knew that
this wasn’t technically her responsibility, but she took the initiative.
There was never a moment in the room that something was forgotten

My Experience at Lyle Torrant


or skipped; everyone and everything was accounted for because of the
teamwork of the staff.
Although Healthy People 2020 have several goals for those with
disabilities, one that definitely affects the care that the staff of Lyle
Torrant provides to its students is to “reduce the proportion of people
with disabilities who experience nonfatal unintentional injuries that
require medical care.” Safety is a major concern at Lyle Torrant, and
while I was there I noticed that every precaution was taken to ensure
that no students were ever in any physical danger or risk of it. Locks
were used on wheels of wheelchairs and carts, students were under
constant supervision, etc. These students are at such a high risk of
injury and the staff had a very clear understanding of that fact. They
took the necessary precautions not just to meet the goals of Healthy
People 2020, but it was evident that keeping their students safe was
much more important to them.
Overall, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I never
thought of myself as someone who could work with special needs
children and be happy, but this experience showed me I am. I will take
this memory with me throughout my nursing career whether I end up
working with special needs children or not. Simply, thank you.
Works Cited:

My Experience at Lyle Torrant
National Library of Medicine (2013, November 3). Cerebral Palsy.
Retrieved from
Healthy People 2020 (2015, September 17). Disability and Health.
Retrieved from