Kysha Rooks: Fitness and children with disabilities – Salisbury Post


Kysha Rooks: Fitness and children with disabilities

Published 12:00 on Saturday, January 28, 2023

By Kysha Rooks
NC Cooperative Extension

No matter what your child’s abilities are, some form of physical activity is important to their well-being. However, some children need extra support and encouragement to make exercise (adaptive or otherwise) part of their routine. Your child is more likely to feel motivated and engaged when they are busy. And if your child tries a variety of activities, they can also discover new interests, develop more skills and get enough physical activity into their day.

There can be factors that can contribute to weight gain in children with disabilities such as food aversions, the side effects of medication and mobility limitations. Tips to help your child become more active.

Find out what motivates your child and use it to encourage another desired activity.

Use positive reinforcement and be specific in your phrasing.

Skip generic phrases like “Good job!” Instead, tell your child exactly what they did well.

Implement rewards, children with special needs often benefit from a very specific reward.

Show examples of physical, so many children with special needs are visual learners. One of the best things you can do to help motivate them is to show them pictures or videos of other children with special needs doing the same activity you want them to do.

Practice the fitness you preach, time for you to move too. Children with special needs are always looking, even when they don’t seem to be paying attention. “If we ask our children to be active, but we as parents don’t do it ourselves, it reduces the buy-in of the child.” Plus, participating in an activity with your child is a great way to bond.

Kysha Rooks is ENFEP Educator with the Rowan County Extension.

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