Sue Perkins, a Primary teacher in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) in Salt Lake City, maneuvers the wheelchair of her four-year-old special needs student to his class. Another teacher helps his sister get her chair to the class. The students, two of a set of triplets, integrate into the children’s worship service with the assistance of teachers such as Perkins. The teacher continues to support the youngster in class, helping him to engage in activities despite his limited verbal and physical abilities.
Perkins served a total of seven years in her ward Primary, the youth organization in the Church, part as a classroom teacher and part as a member of the Primary presidency, but each week she prepared materials directed to the individual needs of the students, particularly those with special needs. “I do this because I love to help people,” the veteran teacher explains. “It’s so rewarding to see that you may make a small difference in someone’s life.”
Beyond her Church calling or responsibility, Perkins studied nursing and acquired skills that have helped her respond to her Primary children. She even helps in the home of her triplet students, assisting their parents with physical therapy and with trips to the hospital, to music class, to dance lessons and to school.
Perkins was recently released from her Primary tasks to serve in Relief Society, the women’s organization of the Church, but she still maintains her weekly support role in the home of her Primary students.