At the Watson Institute’s family of special education schools, activities and field trips are planned for students with special needs with the goal of helping them to achieve their educational goals as outlined in their Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
For the past few years, special education staff at the Watson Institute Education Center Sewickley have built a partnership with students and staff at Slippery Rock University (SRU). Students studying elementary and special education at SRU toured the Education Center Sewickley and from there, the partnership was born.
Special Education Adaptive Physical Education Opportunities
In the fall of 2016, faculty and special education students at Slippery Rock University were awarded a research grant that would enable students with special needs from Watson to make four total visits, two to the indoor pool and two to the equestrian facility on campus. The grant covers the costs to rent the facilities, lunch for the students in the main campus dining hall, lifeguards and other activity-related costs.
Recently, Watson students with special needs from the Education Center Sewickley visited SRU’s pool facility. SRU students in the adaptive physical education program led the students and special education teachers through a variety of exercises in the pool such as marching in place, moving around in the water, using flotation devices to navigate through the pool, and shooting pool-friendly balls into basketball hoops and soccer nets.
All of the activities were able to be adapted based on the students’ abilities. Activities and field trips such as the swimming trip at SRU are characteristic of the opportunities Watson special education teachers, therapists and support staff provide for our students with special needs to help them work towards their educational goals.
Special Education IEP Goals
Many Watson students have physical therapy and occupational therapy goals in their Individualized Education Plans (IEP) as well as social skills development; all of which are being practiced through the field trip activities.
Not only is the partnership with Slippery Rock University’s Education Department beneficial for the Watson Institute’s students, but it serves as a practical experience for the students in special education, elementary education and adaptive physical education majors at Slippery Rock.
Before the end of the school year, Watson students will make two field trips to the equestrian facility on Slippery Rock’s campus and experience riding and interacting with horses.