INTEGRATION OF THE MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY STUDENT INTO A SCHOOL PHYSICAL PROGRAM
The Importance of Integration
Schools are in a unique position, to introduce students to a variety of sports from which they can make decisions as to which community sports they wish to persue. This should be true for MD students too. There are sporting clubs for individuals with MD where games are designed for them and competition is between MD players only. However if MD students are not introduced to these sports at school they may never discover the enjoyment that can be experienced through playing them.
To overcome weakness in shoulder movements, advise MD students to hold the bat with one hand and swing their wheelchair around. The force of the swing to hit the ball will come from the whelchair momentum, not the strength of their arm. To make it possible for him to reach first base rule that the ball must be thrown to 2 people before it reaches first base.
When fielding, attach a piece of foam to the wheelchair in front of the student's legs so that they can move around the outside of the diamond and stop the ball. A bike basket could also be attached to the side of the wheelchair so he can move into positions under the ball for a catch. If the ball touches the bike basket on the full the batter is out.
Half field ballonn soccer, can be played for about 20 minutes to involve the MD student for part of the session. It can also utilise skills the other students have learnt in an easy and fun way. Another option is to divide the class into those who want to play a fun game of balloon soccer with the MD student and those who want to play a full field game of soccer.
For a lower functioning student limit golf to putting only. Use the practice green at the beginning of the golf course or put the ball at the edge of each putting green and score the amount of hits it takes him to get the ball into the hole (so he does not have to drive it down the range).
Prepare well. Organise the course so that a wheelchair can get around it. have simple codes at each checkpoint that can be copied by the MD student.
Have students go out in pairs. This is safer for all the students but particularly for the MD student. encourage the MD student's partner to allow him to do as much as possible. A compass can be fixed to the arm of his wheelchair with a suction cap or some blue tac. The map can be laid flat and stuck to his table that fits into his wheelchair.
It is understood that modifying games may take away a sense of competition for the other students. Therefore games will need to be played without the MD student being physically involved. However when this occirs engage him in other ways. Encourage him to know the rules well and become a good umpire.
Teaching Umpire Skills
Video replays of the television coverage of sports is another way of teaching sporting skills to students and umpiring skills to the MD student. Student's learn by example so while the MD student is learning what is required to be a good umpire, his classmates are learning specific skills such as footwork and racket swing.
Umpire with the MD student until he is confident. Give encouragment and praise.
An alarm (for example, a self defense alarm) may need to be used if the MD student cannot use a whistle confortably as he may find it difficult to continually bring it up to his mouth.
Warm U Activities
1. Beanbag Hockey
Allow the MD student to hold a hockeystick so that he doesn't have to reach down and pick one up when his number is called.
2. Balloon Volleyball
3. Obstacle Course
The obstacle course van be modified to teach a number of different skills. An example is to hit a ball with a hockey stick or kick a soccer ball around the course.
Safety of the MD student is also important. Remember that :
Balance is easily lost.
Fatigue is a serious hazard. Only moderate exercise should be done.
No strain should be exerted.
Strength exercises are contraindicated.
Consultation with the student's doctor or parents is recommended to ensure that activities and planned modifications will have no adverse effects.
Although safety of the MD student is essential, it does not mean that he should be over protected. All MD students are likely to fall at some stage but like other individuals recover quickly.
Further Guidelines For Teachers
It is important to have an understanding of which muscle groups are more severely affected and which movements are possible. This allows you to concentrate on what they can do rather than on what they cannot. Through this, their abilities will be strengthened and realistic goals will be obtained.
Do not underestimate what they can do.
Motivate the MD student to participate as much as possible. When the other students go for a jog around the oval or run a cross country event, encourage the MD student to drive around in his wheelchair with them.
Put some throught into how you can modify further sporting activities to allow even some types of participation of the MD student with the group. This is important because as his peers are expanding thier experiences and skills in sport, he is progressively becomming limited in his movement and therefore experiences and skills.
The whole class can also be involved in setting the rules so the MD studebnt can participate. In this way competition can still be maintained and the MD student will be accepted by his peers.
Muscular dystrophy porgresses at different rates in each MD student therefore each child will have a different degree of muscle weakness. Using the pamphlet will give you an understanding of how to integrate them into a normal sport program, however it is by no means comprehensive. Sport programs must be planned on an individual basis according to the child's abilities and limiations.
The MDA will also provide information on where to purchase specialised equipment.
Additional Information Available
- Related DMD Information
- Physiotherapy for DMD
- DMD - A Guide For Parents. A comprehensive 50 page book
History | Logo | MD Centre | Mission | Partmerships | Policies | Employment | Calendar | Clinical | Glossary | Links | Duchenne | ED | FSH | LGD | Myotonic | Mitochondrial | SMA | Newsletters | Genetics | InfoMD | PEG | 101 | Physio | Recreation | Resources | Respiratory | Scoliosis | Media | Ryan's Cafe | CampMDA | ChallengeMD | Forum | NMDRC | Wheelie's Rest | Programs | Futures | Respite | CINRG | Glossary | Clinics | Bequests | Donations | Fundraising | InMemory | MDAngels | Volunteers | Workplace Giving