The West Virginia University College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences is one of just 13 programs in the country selected to implement a program that helps create an environment where children, with and without disabilities, can play and learn together.
The National Inclusion Project has partnered with CPASS to employ its Let’s ALL Play program model, which includes training and $10,000 in funding, for the college’s Lifetime Activities Program.
“The partnership will allow for expanded physical activity outlets and opportunities for kids with disabilities in our community,” said Andrea Taliaferro, CPASS assistant professor.
The National Inclusion Project will provide training for instructors and student mentors in Lifetime Activities Program classes, including the WVU National Youth Sport Program, swim lessons and gymnastics classes.
“We believe our partnership with CPASS will get us one step closer to making the inclusion of children with disabilities the expectation and not the exception,” says Jerry Aiken, National Inclusion Project executive director.
Training as part of the project is set to begin in June. Program coordinators plan to enroll about 40 participants with disabilities in classes this summer and in the fall.
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. The model makes it possible for all children to come together and participate in recreational activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, community service, physical fitness, and more. It allows children with and without disabilities to create friendships that may have not been possible in other parts of their lives.
The National Inclusion Project was co-founded in 2003 by entertainer Clay Aiken and serves to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them. By driving the movement for social inclusion in after school programs, summer camps, and community based activities, children of all abilities learn, play and laugh together. Over the last 12 years, the project has provided training, curriculum, and support to YMCAs, JCCs, Boys & Girls Clubs, 4H, CampFire USA, kids’ museums, zoos and other community organizations looking to become inclusive or enhance their inclusive programs. For more information on the National Inclusion Project visit their website at www.inclusionproject.org.
CONTACT: Kimberly Cameon, College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.