By Megan MacDonald, PhD & Erica Twardzik
(Oregon Parenting Education Week Newsletter – 2015)
You are your child’s advocate for physical activity and exercise. One way you can support your preschool child with a disability to be active is by making sure that physical activity is included in your Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). An IFSP is a plan that you help to create so your child has access to the services that they need. Physical activity/physical education is included in this plan. The steps below are ways you can get the ball rolling for inclusion of physical activity services to an IFSP in Oregon.
Step 1: Make a referral
To create an IFSP for your child you will first need to make a referral. Referring your child will include sharing concerns that you have about your child’s development. In the state of Oregon services for young children with a disability are provided by the education department: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=1690
Step 2: Evaluation
An evaluation will help you learn your child’s specific strengths and needs in order to be physically active. This can help you and your doctor find physical activities that will be fun and the right fit for your child.
Step 3: What is available around you?
Physical activity in your area can be found through local community organizations. Well established programs in the state of Oregon include, but are not limited to: Special Olympics, Boys & Girls Clubs, Parks & Recreation, Family YMCA’s, and other local community based programs. You can also contact United Way to ask about help for your child in these programs.
Step 4: Remember you are your child’s strongest believer!
The goal is to find physical activities that your child will enjoy. But, if your child is having difficulty with the activity you can ask for the right supports be added to your child’s IFSP. This will make sure that your child has the best chance at success. You as parents have the power to make a positive impact on your child’s physical activity and exercise experiences.