Youth with disabilities invited to participate in Purdue swim, sports program

August 17, 2012  

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

PETE's PALS, which stands for Physical Education Teacher Educators Supporting Physical Activity, Learning, and Service, pairs children ages 3-18 with a university student clinician to work individually on physical fitness, swimming and water safety skills. Each child's program is designed to fit his or her needs but can include physical fitness activities to improve muscular strength, endurance and flexibility; body awareness and special orientation; or fundamental and motor-patterns and sport skills. PETE's PALS is based in the Department of Health and Kinesiology.

"All children with disabilities are welcome, and we have children with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities that range from mild to severe," said K. Andrew Richards, program co-coordinator and graduate teaching assistant. "Many of our participants have some form of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disabilities, such as Down's syndrome, and others have physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy."

Applications are due Sept. 28, and they can be found at Questions can be directed to K. Andrew Richards at, 860-681-5498.

The program, which is $30 per child, meets 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 10, 17, 24 and 31 and Nov. 7 at Faith Community Center in Lafayette. This is the program's third year, and more than 150 children have participated in the various sessions.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Source: K. Andrew Richards,

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