California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) recently marked 40 years of assisting children with disabilities with a special celebration that recognized a pair of on-campus programs and those who have participated in them.
“I began thinking that 40 years was a pretty big milestone and we were the first program of this kind west of the Mississippi in 1969-70,” said Barry Lavay, a professor in CSULB’s Department of Kinesiology (KIN) where his primary responsibility is to train students to teach physical education to individuals with disabilities.
The 40th anniversary was as much a celebration of those who have participated in the program as the program itself, according to Lavay, who credits former CSULB faculty members Andy Sinclair and Dan Arnheim for having the vision to start the program.
“This program accomplishes three things,” he said. “It provides training for university students who are studying to be adapted physical education teachers, it provides physical activity for children with disabilities, and it’s a great university public relations tool because of what we are giving back to the community.”
The after-school program is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 3:45-4:45 p.m. throughout the academic year. It offers two 10-week, 20-session programs to children ages 6-12 with disabilities and gross motor delays. Provided is instruction by university students studying in the Department of Kinesiology and working toward adapted physical education specialist credentials. Individualized and group instruction emphasizes gross motor fundamental skills, cooperative lead-up games, sports, relaxation activities and social interaction.
Camp Nugget, a four-week, three-hour-a-day summer program is offered to children ages 5-12 with disabilities and special needs. Camp activities include aquatics with swim instruction, instruction in fundamental skills and lead-up cooperative games, outdoor adventure course and adapted sports.
Lavay estimated that since the programs’ beginning in 1970, more than 2,500 disabled youth with disabilities have participated.