James Madison University

Empowerment3 - Families | Professionals | Community

Helping Hands (Support)

The Helping Hands Program serves two purposes within our model. First, a helping hand is a mentor who has the “tools” to assist general physical educators to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities in their inclusive physical education classes. The helping hand can provide direct support to the child; support to the teacher, working hands on with the teacher to meet the needs of all children in the class, while providing minimal to no support to specific children; and consult (giving them specific strategies that will help all students be successful).

Secondly, a helping hand allows individuals with disabilities to sign up and participate in an existing physical activity program in the community. Individuals or parents can request that a helping hand accompany the participant to the program and assist during the instructional program. For example, a parent may wish to enroll a child in a martial arts class at a local Tae Kwon Doe class in the community. The class is taught in a large class format and the child needs assistance to stay on task and perform many of the moves. The accompanying “Helping Hand” can assist the child as needed during the program by providing relevant cues to keep the child on task, modifying skills or content to meet the child’s abilities or needs, and working directly with the program instructor to ensure the child can be successful and achieve the desired personal goal from the program.

Each helping hand is trained in “Developmental Differentiation”, where he or she is trained to provide appropriate instruction and support to allow anyone to participate in community based physical activity programming regardless of ability or disability.

Helping Hands in Schools:

We receive requests from general physical educators who need additional support in meeting the unique needs of individuals with disabilities in their inclusive physical education classes or in self-contained adapted physical education classes. The helping hand can provide direct support to the child; support to the teacher, working hands on with the teacher to meet the needs of all children in the class, while providing minimal to no support to specific children; and consult (giving them specific strategies that will help all students be successful).

Examples/Partners

  • Numerous Elementary, Middle, and High School Physical Education Teachers in Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County Schools
  • Special Education Teachers throughout these schools requesting gross motor support

Helping Hands in Community Based Settings:

A helping hand allows individuals with disabilities to sign up and participate in an existing physical activity program in the community. Individuals or parents can request that a helping hand accompany the participant to the program and assist during the instructional program. For example, a parent may wish to enroll a child in a martial arts class at a local Tae Kwon Doe class in the community. The class is taught in a large class format and the child needs assistance to stay on task and perform many of the moves. The accompanying “Helping Hand” can assist the child as needed during the program by providing relevant cues to keep the child on task, modifying skills or content to meet the child’s abilities or needs, and working directly with the program instructor to ensure the child can be successful and achieve the desired personal goal from the programs.

Examples/Partners:

  • Little League/Youth Soccer
  • Fitness Centers
  • Skyline Gymnastics
  • Dance Classes