I have had a love for sports and physical activity as far back as I can remember. Teaching physical education was the perfect profession to share my passion with other youth that shaped my childhood and now adulthood. As rewarding as teaching PE and coaching was, I was looking for more. I had a population of students who qualified for Adapted Physical Education (APE), but our district did not have an APE teacher. I knew what APE was, but hadn’t given it a lot of thought. Now, I was suddenly working with students who would benefit from a specialized teacher. As I looked further into it and worked alongside my district, we both decided that it would be very beneficial to obtain my APE authorization.
While obtaining my authorization, I had to get 40hrs of observations/consultations from an APE teacher. It was at this time that I met Mike Webb, an Adaptive Physical Education teacher in Sonoma County for over 30 years. After my first zoom meeting (during Covid), I was hooked. His passion and expertise were exactly what I was looking for. He had taken an unorthodox approach to APE and was seeing a lot of progress with his students. It all was making sense to me and I was eager to give it a try. We met weekly for a couple of months and my mind was blown. His approach of treating APE students like athletes was so fitting given my background. Taking a neurological approach to building a better foundation so they could orient themselves in space clicked. I was starting to see positive results with my students. This takes me right up to the beginning of my Touro Journey and my action research. How was I going to quantify what I was seeing? Was it really working, or did I just want it to work that bad that I was overlooking key elements? My action research has allowed me to dive deeper into this topic and explore the outcomes of heavy work training and proprioceptive feedback.
Working with students with special needs in an intimate setting is one of the most rewarding experiences that I have ever had. My students jump headfirst into whatever activity I have planned that day. We have amazing conversations about what it’s like to have a disability and ways that we can improve their life. Seeing the positive response to being pushed and challenged is amazing. I’m always looking for the best way to meet their needs. Heavy work training has been an amazing approach and tool that has really opened my eyes to what is possible in APE.
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