This semester Monarch is offering a new class that will be focused on the abilities of the students in the Special Education program rather than the abilities of their peers. “What is unique about the class is that you get to hang out with Special Ed Students and get to know them,” said sophomore Kristina Harlow who is a student in the class.
It was decided last spring that Adaptive PE would be offered as a class during the 2013-2014 school year. A total of 38 students were enrolled in the class, nine of them from the Intensive Learning Center (ILC). Special Ed teacher Scott Doyen, and PE teacher Gail Hook collaborate to make the class enjoyable for all the students.
During the class period, a portion of the class joins Doyen in the ILC for a lesson, where students are, “equipped with knowledge about behavior and psychology, and they learn about disabilities,” explained Doyen. He hopes that the students will use the knowledge they gain when they go back to the gym. Hook and Doyen plan to eventually put the students in charge of planning some of the lessons for the class, and hopefully what they learn with Doyen will prepare them to do so.
While some students are with Doyen in the ILC, the other students remain in the gym to participate in a variety of activities. “We go to the weight room, and we also did an obstacle course, and we did a three-legged race. We dance every Friday,” said junior Lily Nussbaum.
In the gym, students meet in small groups to talk about what is going on in the world before they begin to exercise, then they run a few laps and stretch to begin the fun.
“I loved seeing all the groups of kids all together, and chatting about their weekend, and typical peers helping challenged peers, it was nice,” said Monarch Speech Language Pathologist Andrea Mann.
As Nussbaum explained, every Friday the students participate in a dance themed activity. Some of these dances have included a Soul Train, a shuffle, and a game where a group would come up with a dance, then the rest of the group would copy them.
Adaptive PE benefits both the Special Ed students and other students, it gives both groups the opportunities to learn about interacting with each other. “My hope would be that it gives the kids in the ILC the confidence to actually interact with other kids in the school, and vice versa–that typical peers wouldn’t find these kids intimidating,” said Mann, who was fully supportive when the idea of the class was introduced.