Motor Activity Training Program: Growth and involvement in the Capital District

Special Olympics New York is proud to highlight its participation and growth within the Motor Activity Training Program. MATP caters to individuals with profound disabilities and is tailored to their functional abilities. We recently concluded our third year of programming with the Kevin G. Langan School. In addition, we are thrilled to report a successful new partnership with the Prospect Center in Queensbury, NY, which provides multi-faceted services for at-risk and developmentally disabled individuals.

The Capital District region of Special Olympics NY partnered with the Langan School’s Adaptive Physical Education Department in 2015, offering individualized MATP sports training throughout the school year. Athletes practice running, walking, wheelchair, MOVE device propel, jumping, badminton, softball, soccer, and basketball during their regularly scheduled APE class. Each athlete picks one sport/skill to focus on during the culminating event, although this past season aquatics was provided as an additional offering. A baseline was created, which was derived from the individuals preliminary score. Athletes attempted to beat this score at the culminating event and were awarded either a ribbon or medal, dependent on their performance.

Since its inception, the MATP program at the Kevin G. Langan School was designed to service the varying levels of ability of their students, while capitalizing on the knowledge of specifically trained staff. Students of the RAAVE (Responsibly Addressing Autism Via Education) Program and the MOVE (Mobility Opportunities Via Education) Program train within one of three levels. Each student requires a high level of individualized attention and use of assistive technology, which addresses the developmental delays and/or physical limitations of the student. Trained adaptive physical education teachers and aides work in a new state of the art therapy gymnasium to assess and train students in their chosen Special Olympic sport.

Embraced by the whole school, the MATP program at the Kevin G. Langan School has been a success. On May 25, 2017 and May 30, 2017 the school mascot, the Langan Lion, was joined by the school’s team of special education teachers, therapists, psychologists, social workers and medical professionals, to cheer on over 150 students during their culminating event. Nearly 60% of students received a medal on this day, each student vowing to beat their scores the following year. Each year, the Langan school of Albany has been able to grow their program, both in participation and in sports trained.

We recently added the Langan School at Prospect Center with the assistance of the faculty and administration at the Langan School of Albany. Similar in mission and implementation, the Prospect Center caters to the profoundly disabled ages 5-21. Although fundamentally similar, the Prospect center made some adaptations to their program, taking into account the students needs and abilities. Students trained in running, walking/wheelchair/MOVE device propel, badminton, softball, soccer, basketball, bowling, and shuffleboard. Adopting the same training schedule and program requirements, over 100 students competed in their first culminating event on June 2, 2017.
Both the Kevin G. Langan School and the Prospect Center are intent on the continuation and expansion of their MATP programs. Fully backed by the administration, their partnership with Special Olympics New York continues to grow. The hope of these programs is to inspire others like it across New York and beyond.

See here for images from our culminating events!