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Wil Hansen
Wil Hansen

Disability Matters: The Sunshine School

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Wil Hansen has spastic diplegic Cerebral Palsy. He walks with crutches, wears braces most of the time, and uses a wheelchair in places like shopping malls and airports and so on. When he was a pre-schooler, he entered the Sunshine School in San Diego. The students--all with disabilities--ranged in age from Pre School to high school. Some older kids attended the local community college. The school was a one-stop shop for education and support services. Kids received physical, speech and occupational therapy. California Crippled Children Association, as it was known then, operated medical clinics out of the school. In 1970 there was no standard policy for special ed. Though staff at the Sunshine may not have realized it, they were developing procedure, creating a foundation for many of the practices and mandates in place today. But according to Wil, that wasn't the most important thing about The Sunshine School.

Wil Hansen lives in Canton. He is publisher of, an online news digest focusing on stories about living with disabilities.

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