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Students with special needs often enter the classroom and become overloaded with sensory input. These distractions inherent in every classroom generate a multitude of sensory stimuli for students to absorb and process. Teachers face many challenges in the classroom, especially in those classrooms where students require more individualized attention. The challenge for educators is to look for alternatives to traditional teaching methods and ways of engaging their students. To keep students with special needs more engaged and focused, physical activity can be the key. I am inviting and challenging educators to step outside of their comfort zones by creating an environment that engages the students with movement. Teachers can benefit from incorporating at least 30 minutes a day of some form of physical activity. Sports specific activities, exercise and fitness related routines, and other forms of movement can improve the health of your students, increase cognitive performance, encourage socialization, and can sometimes decrease self-stimulatory behaviors often referred to as “stimming.” These repetitive body movements or movement of objects are very common in individuals with special needs and help them to regulate their bodies. Exercise and movement can have a calming effect on these students.
Updated: Jan. 06, 2016