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At the age of 18 months Kiley Griggs was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. While the condition may restrict her ability to move, it does not confine her ability to dream.
“When it comes to dreams, you never know what lies ahead of you,” said Kiley, 8. “And if you never try, you’ll never be able to do.”
The second-grader at Cotee River Elementary School has done a lot. She has acted as a spokesperson for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and Wheelchairs 4 Kids. In the Pasco County School District, she has been the subject of both teacher and student profile video spotlights, this owing to the fact that she delivered a lesson on the subject of anatomy at Rushe Middle School.
“My mom’s a teacher there, and she taught me the subject,” Kiley explained. “She asked the principal if I could teach the class.”
Aside from teaching a lesson and administering a quiz she created with the help of a computer program, Kiley handed out stickers for good and bad behavior.
“We did super fun stuff,” she declared.
Currently the Student of the Month at Cotee River, Kiley is praised for her good behavior. In addition, she and her family volunteered to help serve a Thanksgiving meal at Gulf High School.
“If someone is upset,” she said. “I can’t wait to make them happy.”
And according to her dad, Jason Griggs, Kiley makes him and mom Lori very happy.
“She inspires me every day,” said Griggs, of New Port Richey. “If I feel like I can’t do something, she says, ‘Daddy, you can.’ “
Both in and out of school, Kiley undergoes physical therapy nearly every day. She has learned to ride horses at Kiddy Up Ranch in New Port Richey, which specializes in therapeutic riding services. She also swims and bicycles and has won first-place honors in the Cotee River Challenger Games wheelchair races.
“Her progress has been incredible,” said Teresa Eaton, an instructional assistant for ESE at Cotee River Elementary. “She’s so much stronger, and her intelligence is off the charts.”
Kiley’s extracurricular interests run from coding to cooking, and she is the proud owner of pet rats Cookies and Cream.
In the future, Kiley hopes to become a teacher and travel the world. And she has one other small goal in mind.
“I’d like to be president of the United States,” she said.
And in the eyes of Jason Griggs, his daughter will achieve her dreams.
“You know what we always say, Kiley,” he told his daughter. “What is the only disability?”
Kiley smiled and answered, “A bad attitude.”