Adaptive Physical Education gets you Moving

Our Adaptive Physical Education (A.P.E.) team at The School at Springbrook works hard each day to keep our GEMS and Golisano students moving. When the weather is nice, it is common to see students outside on the playground or walking around the school. Indoors, a student might be navigating an obstacle course or jumping on a trampoline. There are plenty of ways to keep moving but what sets our A.P.E. teachers above the rest is their commitment to fitness and their expert ability to make sure that each student gets exactly the kind of exercise that works for them as unique individuals.

P5220018-e1438023074166-225x300.jpgDaryl Birdsall is an enthusiastic, motivated leader in the A.P.E. program, and has been a Springbrook A.P.E. teacher for over 14 years. He says, “As an Adaptive Physical Education teacher, my students have a wide range of goals, from improving hand/eye coordination to learning balance or gaining strength.” He continues, “Even though there are specific pieces of adaptive equipment, such as a specialized bicycle, it really comes down to creativity.” This creativity allows teachers to help students achieve the desired results, while still allowing a piece of equipment to remain as versatile as possible. For example, if one student is struggling with a balance beam that is too high, it can be lowered for him or her, but raised back up for someone else. Or, if other students are not quite ready for a balance beam but need to practice that skill, they might practice walking the lines on the gymnasium floor.

Daryl is also the leader of the Springbrook Adventure Club, which has given several students the opportunity to do zip lining, rock climbing, ropes course navigation, and biking and hiking trips. These activities take place off-site and are available to students thanks to the strong relationships and partnerships Springbrook has built with nearby organizations such as Clark Sports Center, Howe Caverns, and Hunter Mountain. Springbrook also partners with nationally known companies as well, such as Rifton Equipment—designers of world-class adaptive equipment and mobility devices—to ensure that people of all ages supported by Springbrook have access to the latest in mobility technology.

IMG_8649_web-300x243.jpgA.P.E. teacher, Jon Philby, has been teaching in the A.P.E. program at Springbrook since 2011. He specializes in using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) methods that include emphasis on gross motor skills—such as catching, throwing, and hand/eye coordination—as well as goal-driven social and team-engagement strategies. Jon is often seen at The School at Springbrook, staying busy coaching or working with a student, but his energy was also recently recognized in the community, as he was one of the winners of Otsego County’s “20 Under 40.” The Otsego County “20 Under 40” program is designed to give recognition to young, local professionals who have made significant contributions to their fields.

Springbrook is proud of its A.P.E. program and of the professional staff, who spend individualized time with each student, to ensure they are all getting just what they need to be mentally and physically strong.

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