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Students with Disabilities First Experience with Exergaming – Scott Adolf

Last year, I was offered the opportunity to test a new product,MOVE + by Motion Fitness.  I was extremelyexcited for this and now fortunate enough to write about my experiences.  I guess there is something to say about firstimpressions and by seeking professional developments when you are canattend.

As a member of TEN (The Exergame Network) and an activeparticipant in many other Exergame/Active Gaming websites and social mediaoutlets, I was anxious to see firsthand the reaction of my students withdisabilities (SwD) to this form of exercise. Needless to say, adjectives like breathtaking, amazing or astonishing donot do it the justice it deserves.  Notonly did it increase participation amongst all participants, which is a hugeaccomplishment in itself, but it also created a favorable social setting, onewhere the students led the discussions about and shared feelings about thegame.  This is especially noteworthy formy elementary students with autism and those with intellectual disabilities whotend to shy away from situations like these.

As a CAPE specialist, one problem that plagues me is how tomaintain SwD attention for the entire length of my lessons.  MOVE + allowed me to step back and let themachine guide them with this experience. I assisted by calling out verbal cues as to what direction to step nextand used hand-over-hand assistance to those who were not able to keep up withthe pace of the game.  I even had thestudents kneel down or sit and perform the activities as a variation to thegame.  MOVE + will definitely keepparticipants actively engaged and motivated during the game.  All of my students were engaged for themajority of the lessons, which varied from 30 to 50 minutes.  It’s hard to have anyone involved for thatamount of time, even their non-disabled peers.

SwD present a variety of unique challenges, from cognitive tophysical impairments.  Incorporating MOVE+ into my program helped me accomplish many of the goals that I desire for mystudents to experience during their short time with me as an educator.  It engaged all participants in theirpsycho-motor, cognitive and affective domains! This flourished when I pointed out that it was a just the same patternsusing the opposite side of the body, my students began to anticipate the nextsteps, and to my amazement, they were all in unison as well!

In conclusion, MOVE + increased student participation and groupcohesion for my SwD.  If you have everworked with students with ASD, then you know what I’m talking about. Both ofthese populations are often shunned outside of school because of theirdifferences, and what they are capable of NOT doing.  All of us, as a society, have to do is togive them a chance and not only will they amaze us, but they may teach you andI something as well in this process.  Abig thanks to Ed for providing me MOVE + and for Richard Coshott for pushing meto write this story.

Cheers and until the next time,

Scott Adolf, MS Ed., CAPE. ACE-CPT

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Exergame Fitness is leading a new movement incorporating technology into fitness. We provide a new way to engage people in fitness, through gamification and technology. By doing this, we create socially engaging, supportive, and inviting fitness communities worldwide