Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Fun for Special Needs Families

Some tips and ideas to help parents of children with special needs keep their kids active this summer!

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The importance of improving fitness skills cannot be underestimated. Many special needs children with low levels of interest in physical activity are often found to have decreased self-confidence. The American Heart Association has shown that physically active children show improvements in a wide variety of measures of psychological well-being—including self-esteem.

A vicious cycle can easily be established as both physical activity and self-confidence decline. A special needs child may feel inadequate when he thinks that he is unable to keep up with his peers and may avoid play situations. The child may find ways to compensate for lower skill level by staying indoors when possible, creating fictitious injuries, offering to be the game’s referee, or walking around the perimeter of the activity.

How can parents encourage their children to be physically fit? Simply put, make physical activities and games fun! The key to successful participation is creativity and positive reinforcement as well as scheduling a regular time during the week as family playtime.

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