Last year, I was offered the opportunity to test a new product, MOVE + by Motion Fitness. I was extremely excited for this and now fortunate enough to write about my experiences. I guess there is something to say about first impressions and by seeking professional developments when you are can attend.
As a member of TEN (The Exergame Network) and an active participant in many other Exergame/Active Gaming websites and social media outlets, I was anxious to see firsthand the reaction of my students with disabilities (SwD) to this form of exercise. Needless to say, adjectives like breathtaking, amazing or astonishing do not do it the justice it deserves. Not only did it increase participation amongst all participants, which is a huge accomplishment in itself, but it also created a favorable social setting, one where the students led the discussions about and shared feelings about the game. This is especially noteworthy for my elementary students with autism and those with intellectual disabilities who tend to shy away from situations like these.
As a CAPE specialist, one problem that plagues me is how to maintain SwD attention for the entire length of my lessons. MOVE + allowed me to step back and let the machine guide them with this experience. I assisted by calling out verbal cues as to what direction to step next and used hand-over-hand assistance to those who were not able to keep up with the pace of the game. I even had the students kneel down or sit and perform the activities as a variation to the game. MOVE + will definitely keep participants actively engaged and motivated during the game. All of my students were engaged for the majority of the lessons, which varied from 30 to 50 minutes. It’s hard to have anyone involved for that amount of time, even their non-disabled peers.
SwD present a variety of unique challenges, from cognitive to physical impairments. Incorporating MOVE + into my program helped me accomplish many of the goals that I desire for my students to experience during their short time with me as an educator. It engaged all participants in their psycho-motor, cognitive and affective domains! This flourished when I pointed out that it was a just the same patterns using the opposite side of the body, my students began to anticipate the next steps, and to my amazement, they were all in unison as well!
In conclusion, MOVE + increased student participation and group cohesion for my SwD. If you have ever worked with students with ASD, then you know what I’m talking about. Both of these populations are often shunned outside of school because of their differences, and what they are capable of NOT doing. All of us, as a society, have to do is to give them a chance and not only will they amaze us, but they may teach you and I something as well in this process. A big thanks to Ed for providing me MOVE + and for Richard Coshott for pushing me to write this story.
Cheers and until the next time,
Scott Adolf, MS Ed., CAPE. ACE-CPT