Students from the Wisconsin Center for Blind and Visual Impairment participate in a round of adaptive disc golf with UW-Platteville students

October 8, 2013

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Adaptive Disc Golf

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — On Oct. 2, 15 students from the Wisconsin Center for Blind and Visual Impairment in Janesville, Wis., participated in a round of adaptive disc golf at a course in Platteville, Wis., with 15 University of Wisconsin-Platteville health and human performance students enrolled in the course Teaching Children with Exceptional Abilities in Health and Physical Education. The visiting students ranged in age from 18-21 and had varying degrees of visual impairment. A number of the students also had cognitive disabilities.

In the morning, students were taken on a tour of the university campus. Following the tour, each student from WCBVI was paired with a university student to play a round of disc golf on the 2,100-foot, nine-hole disc golf course, located next to Westview Elementary School in Platteville.

UW-Platteville’s Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement provided adaptive disc golf equipment for the students with visual impairments, including small beepers that adhered to the bottoms of the golf discs, which enabled students to locate them after they were thrown. When a golfer neared a hole, a university student used his or her voice and rattled the chain on the hole’s basket to help guide the golfer toward the hole.

“Our Teaching the Exceptional Child course introduces our HHP majors to working with students with varying abilities,” said Tim Swenson, lecturer in adapted physical education at UW-Platteville. “This special class activity had many benefits for the university students as well as the students from WCBVI.”

“Overall, the day could not have been better,” said Swenson. “It was such a win-win for all the students involved. The students from Janesville were able to work on building community based recreation skills and the UW-Platteville students were able to broaden their experiences in working with others with special needs.”

“For the students from WCBVI who are in the community-based recreation class, it also reinforced the fact that there are opportunities outside of Janesville for the students to participate in,” added Swenson. “A number of them are interested in possibly attending college, so this also gave them an opportunity to tour a university campus and understand that a university experience is within their reach.”

“For our health and human performance students, this experience helped them overcome any hesitancy they may have had in working with students who have special needs,” said Swenson. “It is important for them to realize that the person always comes first – that the students they are working with are students with vision impairments, not visually-impaired students.”

“For close to two years, our students have been traveling to Janesville to tour the WCBVI school and learn about the assistive technology the students have in their classrooms as well as participate in adaptive sports and activities for students with visual impairments,” said Swenson. “It was wonderful to welcome them as our guests at UW-Platteville.”

Following golf, students participated in a question and answer session sponsored by the university’s Office of Students with Disabilities that addressed some of the challenges of visual impairment. “The teachers from WCVBI were very complimentary of Brenda Sunderdance, UW-Platteville’s disability services specialist, and the student presenter, Amanda, who shared useful information for those who are thinking of continuing their education.”

Contact: Tim Swenson, Health and Human Performance, (608) 342-1989, swensont@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191, hamerl@uwplatt.edu

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