Award-winning PETE's PALs recruiting youth with disabilities for spring program

January 14, 2013  

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 has recently been honored by two Indiana groups.

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. PETE's PALs received the Tony and Mary Hulman Health Achievement Award in the field of Preventive Medicine and Public Health in November and a $10,000 SIA Foundation Inc. grant in December. This grant will allow PETE's PALs to purchase specialized physical activity equipment that will help the program more readily meet the needs of participants with a wider range of disabilities.

"The adapted physical activity equipment that we purchase will truly revolutionize the way that we are able to provide instruction at PETE's PALs," said K. Andrew R. Richards, who has coordinated the PETE's PALs program since 2009. "It will give our clinicians more options for working with their children and will allow them to better individualize the instruction they provide. For example, children with visual impairments benefit from sound-emitting balls and other equipment so they can rely on senses other than sight. Children with certain autism spectrum disorders benefit from equipment that has different textures so they can feel the differences."

The program is currently enrolling for the spring semester. Applications, due Feb. 14, are online at Questions can be directed to Richards at, 413-358-1075. Purdue undergraduate and graduate students interested in volunteering also can submit an application by Feb. 14.

The program, which is $30 per child, meets 6-8 p.m. on March 4, March 11, March 25, April 1, April 8, April 15 and April 22 at Faith Community Center in Lafayette. This spring PETE's PALs will also be parting with Purdue Tennis to host one session at the Schwartz Tennis Center on the Purdue campus. Approximately 60 children with disabilities and 100 Purdue students participate in the program every spring and fall.

The program is supported by and housed in Purdue's Department of Health and Kinesiology. More program information is available at - news

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

Source: K. Andrew R. Richards,

Related websites:

College of Health and Human Sciences

Department of Health and Kinesiology

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