Special Olympics Young Athletes
Did you know that in the summer we have a special training program at PTC for future Olympians!? How cool is that? What is this program you are talking about, you say?! Well….it’s the Young Athletes, Special Olympics program. Now, let’s talk about the details…
What is the Young Athletes program?
It is an innovative sports play program for children with intellectual disabilities. The idea of the program is to teach children the basics of a variety of sports and gross motor skills, in a developmentally appropriate, fun, and interactive way. Children ages 2-7 are welcome to participate in this program; then, at the age of 8 and above, kids can transition to working with coaches for sport specific training and to participate in the Special Olympic Games.
What are the benefits of being a Young Athlete?
“The Young Athletes program is designed to help children with intellectual disabilities improve physically, cognitively, and socially (2).” It also increases a child’s confidence to perform these skills as well as learn how to participate in a structured activity with their peers.
Special Olympics Mission
“The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community (1).”
What types of skills does the program address?
1. Foundational Skills
2. Walking and Running
3. Balance and Jumping
4. Trapping and Catching
8. Advanced Skills
How do I get my child involved in PTCs Young Athletes Program?
The Young Athlete’s Program is an 8 week long program taking place in the summer at PTC. It is a 60 minute, 1 time per week, camp that takes the place of one physical therapy session. The physical therapists, in collaboration with the Special Olympics, work with the athletes on the skills stated above so they will be able to participate in the Special Olympics games once they reach 8 years of age or older. If you have any questions about the Young Athletes Program, or the Special Olympics, please talk to one of the PTC therapists, or you can visit www.specialolympics.org/youngathletes/. So next time you are at PTC, look around, some future Olympians may be in your sight!!
Special Olympics Young Athletes Email Contact:
Blog Written By:
Katie Collin attended Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science and her clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Katie has experience working with children birth to 21 years of age with various diagnoses including Down syndrome, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, torticollis, autism spectrum disorders, developmental delay, and toe walking. She has received clinical training in therapeutic interventions for toe walking, developing strengthening programs for children with special needs, and implementation of the Lite Gait. Katie has a passion for figure skating and has combined this with her love for working with children with disabilities. She, and another skating coach, authored and developed the successful United We Sk8 event in 2011 and 2012 allowing children with disabilities to learn how to skate. Katie’s goal is to continue this event and to develop a weekly skating class for children with special needs. In her spare time she enjoys using ideas from Pinterest to develop challenging activities for kids at PTC. Katie’s determination and passion for learning helps push her to be the best therapist she can be. Katie is a big kid at heart and loves coming to her job everyday.
Amanda Treinen graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Psychology from Saint Louis University. She then continued her graduate school education at Saint Louis University and received a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Amanda has prior experience working with school age children in the Omaha Public School District. Prior to working at Pediatric Therapy Center, Amanda worked in an outpatient orthopedic clinic where she worked with patients of all ages with joint/muscle pain. Amanda has advanced training in aquatic therapy, gait training for 0-3 years old, and torticollis. Currently, Amanda is a member of the Advisory Board for Iowa Western Community College’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program. She also is a Special Olympics Young Athletes coach and has run a few Young Athletes camps during her work experience with PTC. Amanda uses her love of running to participate in various charity benefit races throughout the Omaha area. Seeing kids achieve new milestones and accomplish things they never thought possible is the reason Amanda loves working at PTC.