FUNfitness was developed in collaboration with the American Physical Therapy Association and provides athletes the opportunity to be screened for flexibility, functional strength, and balance. The screenings are provided by physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, or physical therapy students.
Special Olympics Pennsylvania developed a unique partnership with American Physical Therapy Association- Pennsylvania to provide volunteers for the FUNfitness events.
Special Olympics Pennsylvania also partners with universities to provide student volunteers for FUNfitness events.
This experience provides opportunities for physical therapy students to interact with athletes with intellectual disabilities while also gaining experience in the screening process.
Research shows that over 80 percent of healthcare providers are not professionally trained to treat people with intellectual disabilities. By partnering with Universities, we are directly addressing this issue and providing students with this training and experiences.
We caught up with Natalie Albright, a former student (who is now a PT working with children with intellectual disabilities), to see what she had to say about FUNfitness! Check it out:
Participating in this event made me realize that I may be seriously interested in working with individuals with intellectual disabilities one day. This was something that I had only briefly considered previously because I was never sure if I would be able to do it.
Overall, it was really awesome to get to be a part of something bigger than myself and to see how much the Special Olympics clearly means to all those involved
I feel as though I was able to learn a lot through experiencing new situations firsthand (which is my favorite, most effective way to learn), while also helping a fantastic organization. I appreciate any opportunity to apply what we have been learning about in our classes to real-life situations because it serves as reassurance that all the lectures we sit through really do matter and will benefit us in our careers. I regret never getting involved with the Special Olympics before this point, but I am grateful to have had the chance to get involved now and I hope to return to volunteer in the future.Natalie Albright