A high school is making PE class inclusive, and students are learning how to participate in physical activity with or without a disability.

Soft SkillsAt Barnstable High School, “integrated PE” is inclusive of all levels of ability, and students find that it is fun.

“We’re going to play an invasion game, with two teams, kind of like ‘capture the treasure,’” said teacher Mary Ware. All the equipment on the field needs to get to the opposite side without getting tagged out. Students are paired one on one, a student with a disability paired with a student without a disability. Each duo practices motor and fitness skills, and develops social skills as well. The program fosters a safe, respectful environment.

“The class is set up for their success, so they enjoy class even more,” Ware said. “We use modified equipment to help them to succeed.”

“Students with disabilities have 4.5-times lower physical activity levels than their peers without disabilities, setting the stage for a life of inactivity and health concerns,” Ware said. Students with autism are affected with sensory sensitivity,  and many have poor motor skills.

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