Multiple outreach projects will have a lasting impact in the Morgantown community and beyond. A New Jersey high school robotics team has developed a robot that enables kids with special needs in the CPASS Friday Adapted PE program to have greater access to fun physical activities. A model grant that combines researchers from WVU and three other regional institutions will help community groups to provide health and wellness opportunities for individuals with disabilities. A continuing partnership with the National Inclusion Project expands physical activity environments for a diverse population within WVU Lifetime Activities.
A two-year-long partnership between Andrea Taliaferro, associate professor of physical education, teacher education, and a New Jersey high school robotics team has led to the development of a robot that now enables kids with special needs to play soccer and have greater access to fun physical activities.
This partnership has had a lasting impact on the WVU Friday Adapted Physical Education
program (APE) and has been an invaluable, hands-on learning experience for both
the high school team and CPASS students. The team, under the direction of head
coach Kevin Killian, designed the robot to enable learners who are non-ambulatory
to kick a soccer ball and interact socially with their peers. The educational goal
of the partnership is to develop a new assistive technology resource for use in
the clinical setting. The partnership continues to grow, as team members from the
Pascack Pioneers are working on further improvements to the robot, including creating
additional activation devices and switches to allow participants with disabilities
to use the robot in new ways.
Thanks to a $182,591 grant from the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities, CPASS researcher and Associate Professor Andrea Taliaferro will soon be leading online training as part of a new collaborative project between researchers from James Madison University, West Virginia University, Longwood University and Bridgewater College. The project promotes inclusion and local efforts to help individuals with disabilities. And the model created through this project has the potential to be replicated in communities across the country.
Project activities include the creation of a wellness coalition for individuals with
disabilities, development and implementation of training modules and online resources
and support to participating wellness organizations. The model enables individuals
and organizations within the community who are passionate about providing physical
activity, health and wellness opportunities to reach individuals with disabilities.
In 2015, the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences made history. It became one of just 13 programs in the country to be selected by the National Inclusion Project to implement a program designed to break down barriers between those living with disabilities and those without through one simple, yet powerful, everyday activity — play. And the three-year partnership with the National Inclusion Project has had positive, lasting benefits on WVU Lifetime Activities classes.
National Inclusion Project’s program model, called Let’s ALL Play, has been incorporated
into the College’s already diverse Lifetime Activities offerings, creating new
environments where children with disabilities ranging from autism to ADHD can play
and benefit from interaction with their non-disabled peers — and vice versa. Lifetime
Activities classes are open to anyone interested in participating. On an annual
basis, there are more than 125 classes offered with an average of 2,000 participants,
with half of those participants being children enrolled in popular classes like
aquatics, gymnastics, martial arts and summer camp. The majority of staff are part-time
student employees who work as lifeguards and instructors.