MOTOR ACTIVITY TRAINING PROGRAM

Introduction

Which Athletes are best served by a Motor Activity Training Program?

The Special Olympics Motor Activity Training Program is designed for athletes with severe or profound intellectual disability who are unable to participate in Official Special Olympics sport competitions because of their skill and/or functional abilities. The Motor Activity Training Program is designed to prepare athletes with severe or profound intellectual disability, including athletes with significant physical disabilities, for sport-specific activities appropriate for their abilities. Athletes with significant disabilities are those who, because of their physical, mental, or emotional problems, need highly specialized training programs. As a unique sport-based program, The Motor Activity Training Program does not exclude any athlete. It is designed to provide individualized training programs to all athletes with significant disabilities. The Motor Development activities presented in this manual correspond to Official Special Olympics sports.
These activities are offered as a starting point when designing specialized training programs for each athlete.
The closer one comes to performing the activities outlined here, the closer one comes to acquiring skills considered essential in the recognized skill progressions leading to participation in Official Special Olympics competitions.
The objectives of the Special Olympics Motor Activity Training Program are to:
  1. Provide training opportunities for athletes to acquire skills considered essential in the recognized skill progressions leading to participation in Official Special Olympics competitions.
  2. Create opportunities for athletes to perform their personal best effort in those skills in a culminating event during a regular Special Olympics competition or during a separate Motor Activity Training Program activity.
  1. The purpose of the Motor Activity Training Program is to provide training for athletes in skills that are related to and may lead to participation in a traditional Special Olympics event.
  2. All individuals with severe or profound intellectual disabilities can, with activities designed to meet their individual abilities, participate in the Special Olympics Motor Activity Training Program.
  3. All Motor Activity Training Program athletes are provided opportunities to train for and perform their personal best at culminating Motor Development activities, without comparison to others.
  4. The Motor Activity Training Program athlete qualification process is used to ensure that each athlete who comes to Special Olympics is provided the most challenging and rewarding sport experience appropriate for him or her.
  5. All Motor Activity Training Program coaches must successfully complete Special Olympics Motor Activity Training Program coach certification training in order to ensure safe and effective individual training programs for Motor Development athletes.

 

Benefits to Athletes

There are numerous benefits for athletes who participate in the Special Olympics Motor Activity Training Program. They include:
  • increased physical activity that leads to improvement in motor skills, physical fitness and functional ability,
  • more opportunities to perform sport activities,
  • development of a more positive self-image through skill acquisition,
  • greater family interaction through sport involvement,
  • more opportunities to develop friendships with other athletes, their families and the larger community.
Special Olympics Motor Activity Training Program athletes transfer these benefits into their daily activities at home, and in the community. Additionally, family bonds strengthen as family members develop an appreciation for their athlete’s ability to participate in a sport activity.

Sport Activity Selection

It is particularly important that Motor Activity Training Program athletes be involved in the selection of their own sport activities. With advanced planning, the athlete can choose from several carefully selected sport activities. Everyone, no matter how significant the disability, can express happiness or disinterest. The challenge for the Motor Development coach is to expose athletes to a variety of participation options and determine which activities elicit expressions of interest. To assist in determining the sport interests, it is helpful to know the athlete’s sport heroes. For example, a sixteen year-old who lives for his favorite basketball star should have the opportunity to participate in a modified basketball activity. Coaches should also consider the following:
  • Resources available through their local Special Olympics Program
  • Sport activities that are available and accessible in the community
  • Sport activities that are seasonally appropriate
  • Opportunities to participate at their maximum ability, utilizing MATP exercises.
  • Feedback from parents, caregivers, siblings, peers, etc.

Ways to Reach Athletes

Contacting potential Motor Activity Training Program athletes is not always easy. Many individuals who would qualify to participate in MATP activities live at home or in residential setting. Also, cultural beliefs, national and state laws, and transportation difficulties may be challenges to participation.
One way to access potential athletes is to create a program information sheet or flyer with your program’s address on it, and ask school personnel or specific support groups, such as a Family Committee, to distribute it. Other techniques include:
  • Offer MATP demonstrations during other Special Olympics competitions.
  • Presenting to and distributing information to parent support groups.
  • Presenting to and distributing information to national or local associations that provide services for individuals with intellectual disability.
  • Using advertising and media promotions to increase public awareness of Special Olympics, highlighting the Motor Activity Training Program and the population it serves.
  • Distributing information via booths set up in grocery stores, shopping centers and major retail outlets.
  • Educating parents or caregivers of school-aged children through presentations to Parent-Teacher-Associations.
  • Presenting educational workshops to local organizations that serve potential Motor Activity Training Program athletes.
  • Distributing information through medical and social service agencies and other health professionals.
  • Meeting with the principals of general schools and special education schools and the directors of residential centers to encourage adoption of MATP within their facility.
Once potential Motor Activity Training Program athletes and their caregivers have been contacted, coaches should introduce them to the program and assist them with participating in Special Olympics by:
  • Scheduling with parents or caregivers a time to introduce eligible athletes to Special Olympics and to the Motor Activity Training Program.
  • Scheduling a time to evaluate eligible Motor Activity Training Program athletes.
  • Insuring that an Application for Participation is completed with a medical review for each eligible athlete.
  • Assigning the athlete to a coach and activity group.
  • Insuring the parents/guardians have all the information on when practices will be conducted and when the Motor Activity Training Program Day is scheduled.
  • Assigning participation in Official or Recognized Special Olympics sports for eligible athletes whose skills exceed the Motor Activity Training Program.

Community Involvement

Finding community support for Motor Activity Training Programs must be a part of the total outreach plan for the local Special Olympics Program. Actively seeking community involvement is an important step for increasing public awareness of the Special Olympics Motor Activity Training Program, and the athletes’ capabilities, interests and needs.
Motor Activity Training Program coaches must determine who, from the local Special Olympics Committee, is responsible for community outreach for the local Special Olympics program. In accredited programs, where the Area Director is responsible for community outreach, MATP coaches should provide frequent updates through the channels of communication in place in their accredited program about the progress and needs of the local Motor Activity Training Program.
Volunteers are the most important community resource. Through their continual support, volunteers provide Motor Activity Training Program athletes with opportunities to interact with members of the community. Individual volunteers and members of local businesses and civic organizations can provide financial support, facilities, equipment, and transportation. Local radio stations and newspapers, as well as individual members of the community, should be invited, on a regular basis, to be spectators at Motor Activity Training Program training and culminating activities.
Acknowledgements
Special Olympics wishes to thank the professionals, volunteers, coaches and athletes who helped in the production of the MATP Coaching Guide. They have helped fulfill the mission of Special Olympics: to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for people with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.Special Olympics welcomes your ideas and comments for future revisions of this guide. We apologize if, for any reason, an acknowledgement has been inadvertently omitted.

Contributing Authors


Dr. Martin Block, University of Virginia
Dr. Billye Chatum, Western Michigan University
Pablo Delano, Special Olympics Chili
Suzanna Rocco Dillon, PhD, CAPE, Wayne State University, Michigan
Lydia Flynn, James E. Duckworth School, Beltsville, MD
Cynthia Gill, Special Olympics Trinidad and Tobago
Georgia Harvala, Special Olympics Greece
Kathy Irving, Special Olympics Iowa
Dr. Patricia Krebs, Special Olympics Maryland
Dave Lenox, Special Olympics, Inc.
Angela Lukas, Special Olympics
Gibraltar Ryan Murphy, Special Olympics, Inc.
Sheila O’Callaghan, Chicago Public Schools
Dr. Eleni Rossides, Special Olympics
Cyprus Margaret Strzalkowska, Special Olympics Poland

Special Thanks To the Following for All of Your Help and Support
Special Olympics Maryland
Starring Athletes from James E. Duckworth School, Beltsville, MD
Staff from James E. Duckworth School, Beltsville, MD
Trinell Bowman
Jay Bass
Eric Luxner
Prince George’s County Public Schools
Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia
Special Olympics Latin America
Special Olympics North America

Link text :http://sports.specialolympics.org

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