Enrichment program connects DPT students with area children

Forty first-year Doctor of Physical Therapy students joined 26 elementary children on July 14 for a morning of fun and physical activity as part of Elon’s Summer Learning and Enrichment Academy, a partnership between Elon and the Alamance-Burlington School System that focuses on helping exceptional children in grades K-8 develop and maintain academic and behavioral skills they need to be successful in their learning.

Under the guidance of physical therapy professors Paula DiBiasio and Charity Johansson, the DPT students designed play activities as part of their Human Motor Development course. Mindful of the developing neurologic, musculoskeletal, and cardiopulmonary systems, DPT students designed activity stations to target certain muscle groups, physical skills and performance levels to engage the children in 45-60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity.

“It was a great opportunity for the campers to have one-on-one attention,” said Stephen Byrd, director of the Summer Academy, adding that the children enjoyed working with the DPT students at each station.

The Academy also served as the final internship for students in Elon University’s master’s degree program in special education. Graduate intern Clark Erskine was on hand to help coordinate and facilitate the activities.

DiBiasio and Johansson said they were very pleased with the event’s success and hope to continue this collaborative project every year.