Cary coach develops program to help special needs children

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- High school can be tough for any teenager; everyone just wants to fit in.

For special needs kids, it's even harder. They don't typically get to be included with the rest of the students.

However, a Wake County coach thought his school could do better, and now special needs kids are hanging out with everyone else.

Green Hope High junior Ashley Parrish was busy at Wake County's Special Olympics this week.

"I'm doing the running long jump, the softball, and the 100-yard dash," Parrish said.

And when she was done, her girlfriends were there to celebrate.

In fact, all the athletes from Green Hope High had a big cheering section.

Coach Houston started the "Pepi" class five years ago. He pairs juniors and seniors with special needs students in a gym class every day.

"We don't really focus on what they can't do, it's all about what they can do and we go with that," Houston said. "All they want to do is be considered normal people and have normal friends and have a normal life."

Couch Houston isn't specifically trained to teach special needs children, but he saw that those kids were left out and he does his gym class to help them and the other students.

Dawn McLeod's son Tyler is one of Houston's special students.

"These kids are going to grow up they're going to be accepting of anybody and it's going to make for a better place for everybody and a great place for my son," McLeod said.

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