Newspaper Archive of
The Sundance Times
Sundance, Wyoming
June 23, 1966     The Sundance Times
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June 23, 1966

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by Or. Cecil Shaw State Superintendent of Public Instruction 'Next fall a new school in Thermopolis will open up a new area of special education for W~,oming. The facility, the Big Horn School for the Trainable Mentally Retarded, will be the irst in the state to center around i~tensive therapy for the men- ~ally retarded. Operated through the Ther- ~nopolis school district in cooper- ation with the State Education Department, the school will be located at the Gottsche Rehabili- tation Center. Gottsche is one of the nation's top facilities staffed and equipped to deal with phy- sical 'handicags and related men- tal and emotional problems. The Thermopolis school district and others in the area saw a ~eed for such a school for the mentatly retarded in the Big ~Iorn Basin and were able to add an extra dimension to the school through the Gottsehe facilities. Gottsehe will provide dorm- itory facilities, supervision, class- rooms and therapy for only the actual cost of room and board and the housemothers' salaries. ~ottsche officials believe that the students' skills for living and making a living can be substanti- ' aUy increased through intensive l)hyhsical therapy. Mentally re- ~arded persons usually have poor physical coordination which ~nders them in everyday house- ~told ,tasks and lowers their abil- ity ~o compete for jobs. However, skills increase as co- exiination develops through phy. Idol therapy. Coordination is closely related to intelligence, ~md students could raise ~heir IQ.'s and performance levels significantly with better physical control. Crottsehe officials e~plain that child can ~hgve an I. Q. of 90, but because of poor physical co- ordination, ,be working at a per- formance level equal to an I.Q. of 60. Physical therapy should push the performance level up to at least equal the I.Q., and in some cases l.Q.'s may even be raised. Students will come from Hot Springs, Washakie, ~ig Horn, Park and Fremont counties. If the facilities can accomodate them, the school will also he open to students from other areas of the state. Supervision and training in all areas of living from ,household tasks to recreation will be in- cluded along with physical thor- apy and classroom work. Gott- sehe officials believe students should stay in the dormitories during the week to get the max- imum benefit from the program, but the .school will be open to nonresident students. A sheltered workshop is ex- pected to be set up later to give the students on-the-j