James Madison University

Empowerment3 - Families | Professionals | Community

Programs: Reverse Inclusion/Specialized

The Reverse Inclusion Programming is designed from the developmental differentiation perspective and facilitated by instructors trained in adapted physical education/adapted physical activity. The instructors are prepared to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of any child/individual who signs up for various physical activity programs we offer. Most inclusion programs are designed as programs for the “typically developing population” and the instructors attempt to modify for the individuals with disabilities who decide to join the program. Our programs are designed to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities as well as any typically developing peers who are invited or decide to participate in the program. Instructors are trained and prepared to differentiate their instruction to ensure that it challenges and meets the needs of varying levels of learners. 

We offer a wide range of reverse inclusion programs to ensure that we meet the vast array of ages and ability levels of our participants. We have three different types of reserve inclusion programs that we offer. Our reverse inclusion programs held on James Madison University’s Campus include kidnastics, just dance, fitness, and activity based sensory integration. We also offer programs conducted in community settings, but ran by our instructors (Aquatics, Everybody Plays, Everybody Wins – motor skills, and Play Ball). Finally we have programs that conducted in community settings and facilitated by community instructors with our support (Golf). 

Each of our reverse inclusion programs have 2-3 coordinators whose roles are to design and co-facilitate age as well as developmentally appropriate activities to meet the needs and interests of all participants. Each participant has a college student who serves as his or her 1:1 mentor. The coordinators job is to design and facilitate activities in a large group or station format, while each participant’s mentor provides the one on one modification or support that each participant may need. Coordinators also incorporate specific instructional strategies into their programs that the mentors are asked to use with their participants to help them achieve their specific goals or to see continued development.

Please note: we aim to create environments where individuals can grow alongside their peers, regardless of ability levels. However, registration priority will be given to individuals with disabilities.

Programs run in line with the JMU semester schedule. 10-week programs are available beginning in January and September, and shorter duration, four week programs are available in May. Program registration is completed online in the weeks leading up to the start of program. To receive registration information if you are not yet on our email list, contact us at overcomingbarriers@jmu.edu.

Programs Running - Fall 2018

The following programs are open for registration:

  • Master Aquatics
  • Builders & Bulldozers
  • Kidnastics
  • Golf
  • Project CLIMB
  • Everybody Plays, Everybody Wins! (Elkton)
  • Fitness
  • Aquatics

The link to online registration can be found on page nine of our program guide, or by clicking HERE.

Please note: our schedule is tentative and is subject to change at any time.

Programs Running – Spring 2019

Registration for the Spring will be released in November. Please check back for details and registration.

Program Descriptions

Note: Not all programs will run each semester. Please contact us by emailing overcomingbarriers@jmu.edu with questions.


Whether your child needs to gain the necessary skills to be able to become more independent in the water or they need to improve their current swimming skills – this swimming program is designed to meet your child’s ability level. We have partnered with JMU UREC to use two pools, a therapeutic pool and a fitness pool. For any age. 


This sport-based program will allow mentees to focus on improving his or her basketball skills. Mentees will learn and practice the basic skills, as well as learn to integrate those skills into modified and 2 v 2, 3 v 3, and 5 v 5 games! For ages 7-adult.

Bike Riding

This program is designed to help build balance, coordination, and confidence on a bike for participants. This is a shorter program that lasts only 30 minutes. For ages 4-18

Builders and Bulldozers

Activities will encourage children to participate in different sensory experiences including touch/deep pressure, kinesthetic input, body/spatial awareness, as well as auditory and visual input. This program incorporates physical activity through the use of play skills. For ages 2-5


This very popular program allows participants to learn nutrition while preparing basic dishes. Participants practice selecting ingredients, measuring, pouring, mixing, cutting, etc. Each week, participants enjoy a family-style meal eating the food they prepared. For ages 8-adult.

Community Exploration

Through this program mentees will gain the opportunity to begin to explore the physical activity and wellness venues in our local area. The location of the program will vary each week as we explore various activities such as, rock climbing, pump it up, bowling, mini-golf, or roller skating (these are just examples and are not guaranteed to be included). Not only will mentees gain new skills but they will get t work on social interactions as they engage with members of the Harrisonburg community. For ages 13-adult.


This program teaches dance to adults in a variety of ways. We work on the components of dance, such as balance, rhythm, and flexibility. At the end of the semester, we hold a recital for the participants to showcase the skills they have learned. For ages 16-adult. 

Everybody Plays, Everybody Wins!

The Elkton Community Center has partnered with us to create a program where all participants are winners! This program aims to increase the confidence of all mentees while they develop sport, teamwork, and social skills. Mentees will participate in a wide range of sports and fitness related games. For ages 4-22.


This program will work on students' strength, flexibility, and cardio-respiratory endurance. Fitness takes place in the weight room in Godwin Hall and involves using machinery such as treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, and weight lifting machines. For ages 10-Adult 


We have teamed up with First Tee to help individuals pursue their golf interest. This program will work on specific golf skills using adapted equipment as well as getting to practice at an actual putting green & driving range. We also create a fun miniature golf course for everyone, using creative obstacles For all ages.

I Can Do It, You Can Do It (ICDI) 

This program is designed to cater to the needs of our mentees with more significant disabilities, both physical/Orthopedic as well as Cognitive. Our staff will work with the mentee and their family to select skills and activities that are appropriate for that mentee’s goals and interests. This program will focus on the individual’s desired goals, maximizing his or her abilities, and fostering social interactions. For all ages.

Just Dance

Just Dance is a program that puts together dance and fun help kids become more active in an exciting way. In our dance class, we dance to a plentiful of songs that will bring out the dancing fever in everyone. Participants will learn various dance skills such as rhythm, coordination, and flexibility, as well as common, age appropriate dances. For ages 5 and up. 


Child-centered approach to teaching gymnastics that incorporates elements of traditional and educational gymnastics. Students work at their own pace with their mentor on skills appropriate to their ability level. Skills focused on within Kidnastics include rolling, balancing, vaulting (movement on your hands), and jumping. For ages 3-12

KIN 429

Students enrolled in the adapted physical education course at JMU will perform a comprehensive assessment on your child’s motor skills and fitness level. Individualized physical activity plans are created and executed by JMU students to provide children the opportunity to increase their development and success in physical activity settings. For ages 4-22.

Master Aquatics

This program is designed for mentees who are sufficient swimmers. Mentees will take part in a program designed to increase their swimming fitness and ability. Mentees who sign up for this program should be able to swim laps and have an interest in increasing their endurance and improving their swimming technique. A swim test will be required on the first day of program. For all ages.


Although these may not be the typical sports, they are favorites of some of our participants! We plan to team up with various community organizations around the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County area, including First Tee Golf. This program will be split into three segments- these may include, but are not limited to golf, bowling, and archery all run by our instructors. For ages 10 and up.

Play Ball

This program is designed for children who would like to work on their baseball/softball skills and have the ability to play a modified game. This program is run by a player on the varsity softball team and assisted by a member of our staff. During the program, the varsity softball players help mentor the individuals. For ages 5-Adult

Project CLIMB

This unique program, Children Learning to Improve Movement Behaviors, participants receive instruction from health/physical education teacher candidates who are enrolled in Dr. Moran’s Adapted Physical Education course. Participants receive a pre-post assessment of motor skills and will work on three targeted skills over the course of the program. Parents will be provided a copy of the assessment report at the end of the program. For ages 4-22.

Self Defense

Participants will receive instruction in karate and basic self-defense, as instructed by trained individuals. For ages 10-adult. 


Participants will work individually with their mentor to learn basic soccer skills and play modified games to the best f their ability. For ages 6 and up.


Program Enrollment Requirements

  1. Must submit all paperwork electronically or contact us over the phone to enroll. Mentees must participate in pre- fitness as well as post-testing to enroll/participate. These testing dates are pre-built into the schedule for the semester. Failure to adhere to these requirements could result a participant’s inability to participate next semester.  Without each participant’s data we may be unable to secure funding to support future programs and keep fees down. The pre-post data has helped us secure funds to keep fees the same for the last three semesters.
  2. All required paperwork and program fees must be submitted at the start of the first program. Spots are limited and while you may have a space reserved, your spot is not guaranteed until payment is received. Without submission of appropriate paperwork, the organization could be held liable if an injury were to take place and documentation was not on file.
  3. Agree to bring participant to all scheduled programs. If participant must miss a program due to illness, family conflict, travel/weather concern, etc. – parent or guardian will notify specific program contact (in advance if possible). Please remember each participant’s mentor is a volunteer and if participant does not show, the volunteer believes he or she is no longer needed and often drops out, which leaves us shorthanded if the participant attends future weeks.

Appropriate Program Attire

  1. Please ensure all participants have appropriate footwear (sneakers/tennis shoes) for land-based programs. Ensure
    clean flip flops, crocs, or water shoes for water-based programs.
  2. Please ensure all participants wear appropriate athletic wear to programs. Shorts or exercise pants, and t-shirt for land based programs; one piece, shorts/t-shirt, or two-piece with cover for water-based programs. This is to ensure the safety of participants as well as protect mentors and equipment.

Program Fees

  1. The fees are listed next to each program in the program guide. 
  2. Scholarships are available - based on financial need. Applicants must provide written justification. Scholarship participants are limited to one program. Scholarships are paid by independent donors who want to support participants in our area. The mentee's spot is not guaranteed until payment or scholarship documentation is received. 

Inclement Weather Policy

  • If JMU OR Harrisonburg City Schools are closed, programs are automatically cancelled. If afternoon/evening weather is deemed unsafe for parents/guardians and students, programs could be cancelled. \
  • If programs are cancelled the day before or by 12:30pm that day – participants will be notified by e-mail. If cancellations are made after 12:30pm, participants will receive a call. It will also be posted to our facebook page.

Photo Release

Overcoming Barriers often creates newsletters, training segments, promotional and/or educational materials. Photos may be taken during programs. Indication that you would not like photos of your mentee taken must be identified on the registration form if applicable. 

Medical Clearance Form

Download the mentee medical clearance form - Please turn in this form to the Supervising Director upon the first day of programs.