A determined group of athletes got a little boost from Creighton University’s Pediatric Therapy and the Special Olympics Young Athletes program. 

A recent clinic aimed to prepare the youngsters for upcoming competition in the Special Olympics.

Twice a week for two months earlier this year at the Creighton Pediatric Therapy Clinic in west Omaha, the budding athletes had an opportunity to hone their skills in preparation for the games with the help of physical therapist Kayce Marsh, an adjunct instructor in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions

Marsh led a group of Creighton physical and occupational therapy students in helping children ages 2 to 7 gain basic sports skills.

The Creighton students are part of a new course, Interprofessional Childhood Motor Play and Development, offered through the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions’ Interprofessional Studies program.

Marsh, who implemented the course and its relationship with the Special Olympics Young Athletes program, said the variety of skills students would gain from the course and working with students in a different discipline are invaluable. 

“In the world of pediatrics, OTs and PTs often collaborate, and when working with a variety of skills it is helpful to have individuals from both areas to offer the best benefit to the children,” she said.

“The intention of the course is to enhance their understanding of working with individuals from other professions and strengthen their knowledge of functional movements of children,” Marsh continued. “The medical field is moving toward interprofessional collaboration, and that concept needs to be introduced in education.” 

At one recent session at the clinic, 11 children with hopes of someday participating in the Special Olympics received uninterrupted attention from the participating Creighton students. They spent about half the session broken up in smaller groups in two smaller gyms.

The children navigated an obstacle course incorporating skills like jumping, throwing and crawling, then reconvened for parachute games and a goodbye song. 

In Creighton Pediatric Therapy’s 4,300-square-foot facility there are six primary treatment spaces. Parents observed their childrenfrom a viewing area complete with a live-streamed broadcast of the entire session.

Creighton students taking part in the course get an opportunity to not only learn and hone their skills, but to engage in fun, dynamic and meaningful service. 

Second-year physical therapy student Maggie Chamberlain was drawn to the new course offering due to her love of working with children with disabilities. 

“This program is a great way to gain experience with this population,” Chamberlain said. “Physical activity and personal empowerment are so important with kiddos who have disabilities, and I wanted to be a part of this movement.”

Creighton University offers a top-ranked education in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition.  Read more about the university, and connect with Creighton on  Facebook,  Twitter  and  Instagram.

Creighton University founded in 1878 and located in Omaha Neb. offers a top-ranked education in the Jesuit tradition for people who want to contribute something meaningful to the world.

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