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Professor helps many with disabilities get active

Jan. 6, 2009

KALAMAZOO--A professor at Western Michigan University has won a $10,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation to provide physical education and recreation activities for local school children and adults with disabilities.

Dr. Jiabei Zhang, professor of health, physical education and recreation, is offering physical education and recreation activities specially designed for those with disabilities. About 43 individuals with a variety of disabilities are involved in the project and include about five preschoolers with Down syndrome, 10 children with learning and behavioral disabilities, 20 young adults with mild cognitive impairments and eight adults and older adults with developmental disabilities.

The children and adults come to WMU twice per week to participate in such activities as sensory integrations, perceptual motor training, movement explorations, physical fitness training, recreational sports and aquatic exercises.

"We are very excited to have this grant to help these people with disabilities with special physical education and recreation activities," Zhang says. "These are activities they would not ordinarily have available to them."

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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