For special needs students, opportunities for participating in physical activity lessen as they get older. This is related to the highly structured nature of competitive sports as well as the complex motor and social skills needed to navigate team sports.

 

While the use of dance, aquatics and even yoga are becoming more prevalent at special needs schools, some forward-thinking institutions are also looking at off-the-shelf technology applications.

 

Does it work? In a recently published article, Dan Stachelski of the Lakeside Center for Autism in Issaquah, Washington, noted that researchers have found multiple cases where students with developmental disabilities easily interact with an onscreen character that mimics their motions because the game world is more predictable and less threatening (to them) than "the real world."

 

Students can benefit from a video sports game curriculum via increased body fitness, improved self-esteem, improved ability to manage stress, healthy body composition, flexibility, strength and endurance, as well as developing the social skills necessary to participate in team sports. By using a video sports curriculum, students also set the stage for life-long physical improvements because this activity helps reduce barriers to access, whether those barriers are physical, emotional or psychological.