Fifty-three first-year Doctor of Physical Therapy students joined 20 elementary children on July 15 and July 18 for fun and physical activity as part of Elon’s Summer Learning and Enrichment Academy.
Under the guidance of physical therapy professor Paula DiBiasio, the DPT students designed play activities as part of their human motor development course for the program, 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 needed to be successful in learning.
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.
This is the second occasion the Department of Physical Therapy Education has collaborated with the School of Education for this event. This year, DiBiasio and Dr. Stephen Byrd, director of the summer academy, were awarded an Elon Civic Engagement grant to support the project.
The summer academy also serves as the final internship for students in Elon University’s master’s degree program in special education. Graduate interns were on hand to help coordinate and facilitate the activities as was Dr. Charity Johansson, from the Department of Physical Therapy Education.
The graduate interns were so pleased with the activities and the children’s level of engagement. They borrowed exercise equipment to continue the physical activities during recess for the remainder of the two-week camp. Byrd and DiBiasio were thrilled with the interns’ commitment to continue the physical activity, stressing the benefits for health, wellness and academic performance.