What Can Professionals Do to Help Families Reinforce Recreation and Leisure Skills?

Lauren Lieberman Listen to Lauren Lieberman's advice to professionals on how they can help families reinforce their child's recreation and leisure skills.


My name is Lauren Lieberman. I'm a professor of adapted physical education at SUNY-Brockport in Brockport, New York.

What do you believe professionals should do to help parents teach and reinforce the teaching of recreation and leisure skills?

Sure, I think as for professionals to help parents, I think, one, they need to ensure that physical education is on the IEP with the specific modifications and goals and objectives. And by ensuring that, number one, you don't have to have the parents asking questions or wondering if that's a requirement, and number two is you're always making sure the child is moving towards their goals.

Number two is to send notes home on successes and accomplishments because if the parents don't know what the kids are doing at school—and their successes and their struggles or their goals—then the parents won't know what they need to work on at school, or what kind of goals they're having at school, so the parents could then work on those at home.

Number three is to lend equipment to parents or send home catalogs to tell parents where to order equipment. Or, explain how to make modified equipment; if there's a piece of equipment the child needs, making sure that they have that accessible to them in the home would be wonderful.

For example, I had a child who loved to kick but would lose track of the ball. So, there was a special ball on a string—it was actually on an elastic string, so it would come back to her—and she loved it! She loved to kick the ball; it came back to her. Every weekend she took it home, and she practiced her kicking. She was active, and nobody has to chase the ball; she became a really good kicker, and then she could play a lot of kicking activities like soccer and kickball.

Number four is to share programs, camps, or other athletic activities—or athletic or leisure activities with the parents. So, if the physical education teacher or the O&M teacher or vision teacher learn about activities that are appropriate for the kids, make sure the parents know so they can sign them up. It also doesn't do the parents any service if the vision teacher or the O&M teacher signs the kids up and doesn't tell the parents because they always have to have parental permission so making sure there's that communication about programs that the kids are going to.

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