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Texas Wesleyan students help modify toys for adapted sporting event

Students listen as an adapted physical education specialist explains how to modify toys for disabled students

Smaller. Smarter. isn't just a saying — it’s about helping our RAMily create an impact on campus and in our community. And that’s exactly what Associate Professor of Exercise Science, Sharon Carano, Ph.D., CAPE, is instilling in her students.  

Carano partnered with Carmen Franco, adapted physical education specialist for the Region 10 Education Service Center, to have students make modifications to toys for people with severe profound disabilities to use at Region 10’s “No Limits Games” event on Friday, Jan. 27.  

“It’s a really good experience for students,” Carano said.

Students work on modifying toys for disability sports eventThe students included freshman Zeb Fulmer and junior Morgan Forester, who are both majoring in physical education and freshman Rudy Murgo, who is majoring in exercise science.  

The students helped build a modified rock-climbing wall using pool noodles and attached a pool noodle to a crane toy to give it more support when going up and down. Franco explained that the modifications help keep those with disabilities safe while working on their motor skills.  

Franco said that some goals for the students at the event may include being able to lift their head so they can hold their head up when people talk to them or while someone brushes their teeth. She then showed a large switch that she explained could be put behind someone’s head to make a toy work.  

“Everything we do in adapted physical education and physical education ties back to the curriculum,” Carano said. “If we’re connecting the physical to the academics, we will see growth in all areas. That’s what we’re trying to do. How do we make those adaptations and modifications so kids can be successful?”  

Franco also challenged the students to think about how to design physical education curriculum using adapted activities, teaching them about different games and tools they could use in their careers. She also went over the importance of providing a safe and inclusive environment for both able-bodied and disabled people.  

"These are ideas I never would have thought of,” said Forester. “It’s eye opening to see what different kinds of things we can teach in physical education.”  

Texas Wesleyan offers classes in adapted activities, including disability sport and adapted physical education. TXWES also recently partnered with the Adapt-Able foundation to help disabled people learn how to scuba dive in the university pool. The partnership also allows TXWES students to volunteer and get certified as a Dive Buddy — a term for a certified scuba diver that partners with a person with disabilities to help them scuba dive. 

Learn more about Texas Wesleyan’s exercise science and physical education majors by visiting the School of Education’s website.  

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