T is for Training the Athlete in EveryBUDDY. I feel as though one of the most common misconceptions of individuals with Intellectual Disabilities is that they are not capable of the same physical activity as the rest of us. While this may be true for some individuals, the majority have very few physical limitations. A mental handicap does not automatically mean a physical handicap. For the majority of these special individuals, it has nothing to do with being able to physically perform the activities but everything to do with someone taking the time to properly teach them. While it may take a little longer to teach and instruct a special athlete, one thing is for sure: once a movement is ‘mastered’, they will never forget it!
My goal is to teach and inform parents and caregivers the importance of structured physical activity for this population and take some of the emphasis off academics. Many of the these kids are in school for eight hours and then in after school programs all focused on working on their weaknesses. In my experience, an emphasis on these programs only led to further frustrations, disruptive behaviors and a heightened sense of being ‘different’ and excluded. I feel that focusing on their strengths and incorporating more activities into their day that help improve their overall health leads to improvements in all areas of life. Instead of constantly highlighting how this population is different or disABLED, lets focus on what they are ABLE to do, increase their confidence, improve their health and overall quality of life.
Buddies In ACTION is about Training the Athlete in EveryBuddy.