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January 14, 2013

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

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

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.

"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' types of disabilities have included a form of autism; an intellectual disability, such as Down's syndrome; or a physical disability, such as cerebral palsy.

Applications, due March 1, 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 March 1.

The program, which is $30 per child, meets 6-8 p.m. on March 21 and 28, and April 4, 11 and 18 at Faith Community Center in Lafayette. Since 2009 about 300 children have participated in the various sessions. PETE's PALS is based in the Department of Health and Kinesiology.

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

Source: K. Andrew R. Richards, karichar@purdue.edu