Five days a week, B-A students from Mrs. Carson's life skills classroom work with Phys. Ed. teachers and B-A fellow B-A students in the Adapted PE program. (Sidney Patterson)
Five days a week, B-A students from Mrs. Carson's life skills classroom work with Phys. Ed. teachers and B-A fellow B-A students in the Adapted PE program.

Sidney Patterson

‘Everyone can enjoy physical activity’

All students thrive in B-A's Adapted PE classes

January 11, 2017

There was a time when students with special needs were no more than the dispossessed, segregated in the educational setting, far and away from other students.  Go back twenty years and you could find students with autism often isolated in special education classrooms. If they were mainstreamed into the general student population at all they were simply labeled as quiet or weird.

“They never interacted with other gen-ed students. There was no inclusion,” said special education teacher Summer Carson.

Things have changed over the years as our understanding of special needs has evolved along with federal law.

Studies show 1 in 68 children have Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) calls for an education in the least restrictive environment for those enrolled in public education, which is where the Adapted Phys. Ed. program at Bellwood-Antis comes into play.

Every day during fourth period, students from Mrs. Carson’s life skills class, many of whom have been diagnosed with autism, participate in an adapted gym class with the help of B-A’s physical education instructors, student-aides, and even some of the student body. The program is a model of the inclusion special education programs strive for.

“Middle school and high school students who attend the life skills classroom with Mrs. Carson (participate). Every few weeks we have other high school students come and volunteer,” said high school Health and Phys. Ed teacher Mrs. Lori Nyman. “The students ‘buddy up’ with the life skill students. We play games and just have fun.”

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