The West Virginia University College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences is one of the thirteen programs in the country selected to put a program into action that helps create an environment where children with and without disabilities can play and learn together.
The National Inclusion Project has partnered with the college to employ its Let's ALL Play program model, which includes training and $10,000 in funding, for the college's Lifetime Activities Program.
"Lots of times we don't have the means or the staff to include more. So this project and the inclusion Let's ALL Play program will provide us with the opportunity to get more kids involved and hopefully we'll be able to continue that," said Mary Wolk, Coordinator of Lifetime Activities Program.
Training as part of the project is set to begin in June. The plan is to enroll about 40 participants with disabilities in classes this summer and in the fall. Currently, the Friday Program has 97 children enrolled that participate in land and water activities.
"This is highly beneficial. Certain students with disabilities don't get a lot of physical activity in their normal day. Even in a normal physical education class or a regular curriculum physical education class, sometimes they don't get the amount of physical activity a regular student would," said Adam Katchmarchi, CPASS Doctoral Student.
The college students learn in the classroom during the week and apply on Fridays how to get the kids physically active.
"This is like their only opportunity that they get to exercise, so, we're just trying to give them all of the exercise they can get," said Zachary Johnson, Senior Physical Education Major.
Research-based evidence supports that the Let's ALL Play model helps children with disabilities improve self-esteem, social skills and confidence, while those without disabilities improved their leadership, problem solving and empathy skills, according to National Inclusion Project.
"It's a great opportunity, and we're very pleased to have this grant to work with our programs and our children," said Wolk.
To find out more information about WVU LAP (Life Activities Program) visit http://cpass.wvu.edu/lap