Sports and exercise are difficult for children with a motor delay. The experts talked about it in an online session during Motorics Week. These children need more support and proper guidance to experience success while playing sports. It is clear enough how to do this and this information is easy to find via Special Heroes.
As a professional, you can encounter children with motor deficits in sports clubs and schools everywhere. Let’s start with the most pressing question: How should you deal with these kids? Ensure that the student can always participate. Adjust the activity accordingly,” says Krista Rittberg, specialist physical education teacher, remedial education and supervisor of outdoor physical education in Zwolle. “And normalize. If this student needs a moment of rest, make sure everyone gets a moment of rest.”
I tried how not to do it when I got into a gymnasium where there was just a lesson. The monoplegic boy had to take part in the ring swing there. “So you didn’t think of that.”
“Don’t give the student this extraordinary position. Take down the rings, put his feet in the rings and after a good push let him rock. Then the other kids come up: ‘Can we do that too? on your side. To see the students and let them think together.”
Children with mobility impairments also have the right to enjoy exercise. “It’s about personal growth, feeling like you can do something, being involved,” says Remo Mombarge, lecturer in physical education and youth sports at Hanzi University of Applied Sciences.
Much of this can be achieved through sports participation. The child needs to develop behaviors that he can control over his likes and dislikes. If it doesn’t work, they’ll stay on the sidelines and do nothing at 17 or 18.”
The basic building blocks of movement
Far fewer children ages 8 to 12 with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) experience this than children without motor delays at that age. They are less likely to be members of gyms (32 to 82 percent) and more likely to meet physical activity guidelines (31 to 61 percent of children without ADHD).
And as far as Mombarga is concerned, a different approach is needed. “We need to give children the building blocks that enable adaptive motor skills. If a child can’t swim, they won’t be able to paddle or paddle.”
These children benefit greatly from implicit learning (without realizing the learning), error-free learning (starting with what they already know) and ample practice time. Avoid negative experiences. As a result, they develop a fear of failure and avoidance behaviour. They become less active, gain less appreciation for their motor skills and turn away more from exercise and sports, even though they need more of it.”
This leads to the third most important point: “Give children control over what sport they play and with whom. When you teach children this, you are giving them the key to motor learning for the rest of their lives. The reward for small steps is always very good for these children. They feel valued and so they start to practice more.” .
A space to give direction can also be found, for example, in a schoolyard setting so that there is a place for each child. “Start with what the kid wants, as parents too. You have to find where the spark is, what do they enjoy. If that’s esports? It’s okay with me, and then you’ll expand.”
Mombarg’s principles are almost identical to those of the Special Heroes Netherlands Foundation. This organization is committed to children with mobility impairments and applies almost the same core values.
For example, sharing is crucial (allowing children to experiment, discover and discover where their talents lie) and it’s all about children’s pride, which gives them more self-confidence. The Foundation is also looking for a sustainable relationship with local stakeholders committed to the development and participation of children.
Professionals who could use support in this matter can do so at the Special Heroes Campus, says Francellen van de Geer, program coordinator in Northeast Holland. On this campus, we try to show with practical tools that children with disabilities can really participate in sports. They can discover what they’re good at and push their limits.”
The advice is very practical, from training a professional can follow to advice that can be applied immediately. How do you deal with different target groups, and where do you find textbooks? On the site, you can filter by restrictions or type of products so that you can quickly find the knowledge you’re looking for. In addition, we offer inspiration lesson cards on how to introduce specific sports to children with disabilities. This allows you, as an exercise professional, to structure your lessons in a different way.”
“In recent years, we’ve also started making inspirational films,” says van de Geer. “After a one and a half minute video, he inspired me again. You see how a child can participate instead of having to do an exercise. We also tried to bring kids into the world of exercise in the gym. From juggling to turning the games they play on the phone into an activity in the room. And all The contents of the site are free.
Van de Geer concluded that the special heroes were able to help a lot of kids. “We make special education the owner of the program, so that it is included in the policy. In addition, we put children first and involve parents in this. For example, we can introduce children to different sports and exercise activities so that they can transition from school to extracurricular activities, even For example by joining an association. In fifteen years, we have already mentored more than 15,000 children.
This article is a summary of one of the online sessions for the Motor Skills Week 3, which took place in November 2022. Would you like to watch the session? It is possible: In this digital magazine, all knowledge sessions are compiled, and you will find tips and tricks, additional interviews and more.