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stories

Robert Belden’s Story

My name is Robert Belden & this is my life story. I was born on September 4th 1986, two months earlier than my mother’s due date. I was born with CP (Cerebral Palsy). During my beginning years I went to Parkside school which helped me with developmental skills like speech, sitting up & eye coordination.

By age 3 I was able to sit up on my own and speak. Parkside also helped me get my first wheelchair & walker. I continued attending Parkside until age 5.

After that I attended Pursey Hughes elementary/middle school from k-8th grade. While I was there I was provided with a one-on-one teacher who helped me with my reading, writing and other work I needed extra assistance with. I was also provided with PT (physical therapy), OT (occupational therapy) and speech which helped me make progress with my walking, talking and hand-coordination. While I was a student there I established a great bond with my physical education teacher who introduced me to competitive sports like wheelchair racing for the Valley Field Days as well as for the Games for The Physically Challenged which were held at Brockport College. Some of the sports I played there were wheelchair racing, swimming, slalom, and different activities to help with my upper body strength.

At age 8 I started receiving support services & did adaptive skiing at Arise which helped me be more independent out in the community and to realize that people living with disabilities can have fun too. During my high school years at Fowler High School I continued to receive a lot of my support services that I received during my younger years like Res Hab, PT and my one-on-one teacher.

My 9th grade year when I was 14 years old I received another manual wheelchair which was provided by CNY Medical. While continuing my education in high school I tried bowling for Fowler and let’s be honest, I wasn’t any good. But there were other things and opportunities I challenged myself with like taking a Cad1, Cad2 & Cierra Home design class at Central Tech. For those who are not familiar with those classes they were for learning how to do blueprints.

Once I reached my 11th & 12th grade year I got my first job through CNY Works summer program where I was a secretary for two years. Towards the end of my high school journey I was able to attend my senior prom and graduation which I’m still very proud of to this day. Class of 2005!