We decided to have Kyson go to a school out of our district for the special program that specializes to the needs of children with Autism. Prior to the decision, we had an IEP meeting for next year’s goals for his “homeschool”. We would have him start in a smaller group physical education class vs. the regular full grade class. However, with the decision to have him attend the different school, we initially didn’t have a Physical Education (P.E.) goal in place for him.
October came around and we were contacted by his teacher letting us know we needed to meet to have this in place. With the thoughts of schooling related to only academics, I questioned why Kyson needed a goal for P.E.
“Was this really necessary?”
Yes, the answer is yes! I was so focused on him learning I forget that physical development was necessary. P.E. is in the curriculum in all grades so why wouldn’t it be necessary for children with disabilities.
5 Reasons Why Physical Education is Important
Even though his P.E. glass consists of only 3 other students, he is able to interact with the teacher one on one for guidance and how to play something. Learning how to play a game also involves teamwork so in order for a game to be learned he has to communicate with his friends. Such as kicking a ball saying “My turn,” or “Your turn.”
- Relieves Stress
All children build up stress and most times, Kyson builds up a lot since his communication is still in the beginning process. He can’t always express how he feels or wants with words which lead to meltdowns. The stress is triggered but lots of things since he sometimes will still remember what happened last week and brings out the emotions then and there. Kyson also has a hard time transitioning with changes so if a new student comes to his classroom, he often isn’t himself. Going to P.E. helps him run off some steam and enjoys something he’s interested in.
Many children on the spectrum have difficulty sleeping. I remember last year when Kyson would wake up in the middle of the night for no reason and just sit up in bed. In a few months where he felt more comfortable, he would wander off on his own into the living room. He’d sit there until I would realize he wasn’t by my side anymore and carry him back to bed. We no longer had naps to try and avoid this but it didn’t do much with the lack of staying asleep but learned that if through the day if Kyson did a physical activity he slept through the night.
- Healthy Body
Kyson is a picky eater, his love of carbs is what he mainly eats and is his diet. French fries and chips are his favorite and now we’ve added in rootbeer. We introduce foods to him every day but the thought of him not eating because he doesn’t like it or is unfamiliar food leads to meltdowns cause he’s hungry. You would never guess that he was a picky eater just looking at him. Or carry him and Kyson is a “solid” 5-year-old. We give him vitamin supplements daily but still doesn’t do much considering all the bad calories and fats he’s consuming. Being physically in P.E. definitely helps with keeping his body healthy and burning off the extra calorie intake.
- Concentration Development
According to this post I found on phitworld.org, many recent research studies are showing increased fitness = improved academics. You can read more about it here. I do notice that after an activity, like our daily walks we get in the warmer months, Kyson is more focused on me when I talk to him. Researched or not, physical education has done wonders for us on his concentration level.
So the goal for P.E. concluded that Kyson would be able to independently ride a tricycle one lap around the gym. You may question why this is a goal for him. You see, Kyson is obsessed with watching wheels and tires turn. At home, instead of using riding toys properly, he would rather push alongside a bike or cart and watch the tires turn.
We’ve tried countless times to get him on and pedal with his feet but only making it one full pedal cycle then he’d jump off. This goal was exciting for me and I knew he would enjoy it. Now to see his progress, I hope by summer we will be able to take short bike rides with our walks.
You can see from this video, in 1 month’s time, we’re almost there!
(He’s in pajamas, it was “pajama day” at school)