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Physical activity for individuals with mental retardation: infancy through adulthood.

by Carl B. Eichstaedt and Barry W. Lavay, [C]1993. Published by Human Kinetics Books, Champaign, Ill. To order: #BEIC 0361, Human Kinetics Publishers, P.O. Box 5076, Champagne, Ill. 61825-5076, (800)747-4457, $45.

The following excerpt from Chapter 6: Mainstreaming: Program Considerations has been reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Mainstream Classes

It cannot be assumed that everyone in the mainstream setting will automatically accept and, more importantly, socially interact with the person to be mainstreamed. It is one thing to place a child with Down syndrome into a community recreation program, and quite another for this child to be accepted and chosen for play by the other children in the group. Mizen and Linton (1983) offer the following excellent strategies for preparing the nondisabled group or class for the arrival of the mainstreamed person.

1. Do not ignore individual differences; rather, these differences should be respected. Students should be made to realize that even though each person is unique, there are many similarities among us. All persons are different and alike.

2. Students should be encouraged to ask questions about various disabilities. For example, a few days before a student with Down syndrome who is to be mainstreamed arrives in class, the teacher can conduct a lesson and discuss with the class why some people have this condition. This would also be an excellent time to conduct a class discussion regarding why people tease one another. With young children, class discussions can include such storybook characters as Tom Thumb.

3. A class session can be conducted in which students can learn and experience "firsthand" various disabilities. One such activity is to partner students, with one partner blindfolded and the other partner helping her or him negotiate an obstacle course. Another activity is to have students practice throwing and catching a ball with their nondominant hand. After these activities the teacher can conduct a discussion and encourage class members to share their thoughts and experiences.

4. Another strategy that has been effective in a number of districts and recreational programs is to develop a handicap awareness day (Danaher, 1983). For example, a Saturday morning recreational program can be designed in which parents and children (with and without disabilities) participate side by side in various nontraditional games and recreational activities. Persons without disabilities learn about persons with disabilities when they participate with them.

Strategies for Modifying Activities, Games, & Sport

The following is a general list of activity, game, and/or sport modifications that may assist in providing the mainstreamed student with a more productive and positive experience.

1. Design the environment to fit individual needs

a. Lower the net in a volleyball game.

b. Reduce the size of the playing field.

c. Make boundaries more tangible (e.g., use cones, flags).

2. Modify and adapt equipment

a. Use large, brightly colored foam balls.

b. Use a batting tee rather than a pitcher.

c. Use lighter and larger equipment.

3. Reduce the time limit of play

a. Use frequent rest periods.

b. Reduce the number of minutes played in a period.

4. Develop feedback and reinforcement techniques

a. Insert buzzers or bells on goals to reinforce the concept of scoring.

b. Reinforce children who display teamwork and share during play.

5. Specific playing positions require certain skills

a. Rotate positions, giving each child an opportunity to learn and practice various skills.

6. Modify degrees of moving objects and mobility

a. Have objects (e.g., balls) move slowly.

b. Reduce the size of the playing area.

c. Increase the number of children participating on a team.

7. Insure some form of success

a. Avoid elimination games.

b. Stress self-competition rather than team competition.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:book excerpt
Author:Eichstaedt, Carl B.; Lavay, Barry W.
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Article Type:Excerpt
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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