Program provides fun, learning activities to children with disabilities

August 20, 2013  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Children ages 3-18 with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities can participate in a seven-week Purdue University physical activity and aquatics program that begins in October.

PETE's PALs, which stands for Physical Education Teacher Educators Supporting Physical Activity, Learning and Service, pairs children with a Purdue student clinician to work individually on physical fitness, swimming and water safety skills. The program is supported by and housed in Purdue's Department of Health and Kinesiology.

"We help children with a variety of disabilities, and each child's program is designed to fit his or her needs," said K. Andrew R. Richards, program co-coordinator and graduate teaching assistant. "We focus on physical fitness activities to improve muscular strength, endurance and flexibility; body awareness and spatial orientation; and fundamental motor-patterns and sport skills."

Some of the past participants' disabilities have included autism spectrum disorders; intellectual disabilities, such as Down's syndrome; and physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy.

Applications, due Sept. 20, are online at http://www.purdue.edu/hhs/hk/petespals/. Questions can be directed to Richards at karichar@purdue.edu, 413-358-1075. Purdue undergraduate and graduate students interested in volunteering also can submit an application by Sept. 20.

The program, which is $30 per child, meets 6-8 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning Oct. 9 and running through Nov. 20 at Faith Community Center in Lafayette. This semester PETE's PALs will also be parting with Purdue Tennis to host one session at Purdue's Swartz Tennis Center. Since 2009 about 300 children have participated in the various sessions.

Media contact: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Source: K. Andrew R. Richards, 413-358-1075, Karichar@purdue.edu

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