Ed Burch is a children's dance and gymnastics teacher in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Ed suffers from asthma himself, and says many of his students suffer from the respiratory disease, as well.
As an educator and mentor, he is frustrated by its effect on the youngsters.
Ed says, "by no means am I an expert on psychological issues stemming from asthma. [But] the physical drain that it has on some kids is devastating. Not being able to do the same tasks that other kids find to be a simple action seems to have profound effects on my students. In some cases, the students that really want to succeed get knocked out of the race very easily by their lack of energy or ability to breathe. These kids continue to work hard, but it is always [takes] a great expenditure of energy and willpower…. I can see it wearing on them and it really disparages them."
"I'd like to say that these students appreciate it more when they finally do reach their goal, but in a lot of cases they are so winded and in physical pain when they do it almost seems anticlimactic," Ed concludes.
Ed acknowledges that asthma can also hold back young students, other ways. "The other side of this coin; the darker side, is that some children use asthma as an excuse to not work as hard. I have seen children who have so much potential and talent who just waste it by always falling back on the asthma excuse. They give up on themselves too early and too easily."