A motor skills fitness program for children with special needs
IMPACT is a physical activity program for children, youth, and young adults with special needs. More than 80 children aged 6 months to 21 years, divided by age group, are engaged in physical activities-swimming, dancing, throwing balls, playing games, testing their skills on the climbing wall, balancing on a beam.
"IMPACT is a unique program in that it offers physical activity opportunities for individuals with disabilities while at the same time it provides essential experiences for students at OSU to learn about working with special populations. It's amazing to watch the connections that develop between the OSU students and the IMPACT participants. They learn from each other, growing not only in the physical activity arena but in character and personal development as well." Jen Morgan, past IMPACT Coordinator, Graduate Student
The children have a wide variety of abilities and come to IMPACT through referrals from teachers, physicians, therapists and families who have experienced the program. Individualized physical activity programs are developed for each child based on initial screening, ongoing motor assessment and consultation with parents, teachers, and therapists. Each child receives individual attention, support, and encouragement from a specially trained OSU undergraduate volunteer or graduate student. The focus is on developing skills to help the children with daily life in their classrooms, on playgrounds, and at home.
IMPACT takes place on Friday evenings (5:30 - 7:00 p.m.) during the academic year, and Friday mornings (9:30 - 11:00 a.m.) during the summer months. Enrollment fee is $45 per term (approximately 2 months); scholarships are available. The program is held in the Women's Building on the Oregon State University campus. Campus map of ADA parking Parents and families may stay to observe their children during IMPACT or take the opportunity for a respite. They may also choose to attend educational sessions with guest speakers presenting on the challenges and joys of parenting a child with special needs.
IMPACT, established in 1982, is directed by faculty members in the School of Biological and Population Health Sciences along with doctoral students in the Adapted Physical Activity, a nationally known program within the Department. The program lures top graduate students from around the world based on a reputation for research and active outreach programs like IMPACT.
IMPACT for Life is a transitioning services program offshoot from IMPACT and integrates adults with disabilities into community physical activity opportunities including local gyms, swim clubs, and indoor rock climbing
The program has received support from various sources - United Way of Benton County, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, US Department of Education, and OSU's College of Public Health and Human Sciences.
Although IMPACT is usually at capacity, a waiting list is maintained. Those interested in enrolling their child in IMPACT will be asked to submit an application. A nominal fee of $50.00 is charged for participation and a sliding scale is available.
Student Mandy Sargeant has developed a Resource guide to raising a child with a disability in the Mid-Willamette Valley (pdf).
Individualized Movement and Physical Activity for Children Today
123 Women's Building
Corvallis, OR 97331-6802
This project is supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. Department of Education.