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Fitness activities and Prepositions Part I

I received a really good question from an educator working with a group of students who are diagnosed with PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder). For those unfamiliar with the term, PDD is a diagnosis most often given when an individual has some traits inherent to autism, but not enough on the list to qualify for an autism diagnosis. In my experience, these individuals often have the most difficult time integrating socially, because they often do not present the “obvious” indicators of a developmental disability. They may seem as though they are keeping up with the pace of their peers or the instructions of an adult, but may be confused and not sure how to arrange their thoughts and emotions.

Fitness for individuals with PDD, particularly in small group settings, can yield some amazing changes in self-esteem and social interaction. This educator’s question concerned integrating communication skills into the fitness/Adaptive PE situation. As fitness is a gateway for better cognitive and social functioning, it follows that exercise should include language/communication targets whenever possible. Prepositions are a perfect example.

Prepositions link nouns to other nouns and pronouns. “Put the ball on the box.” For many students with autism, PDD, and related disorders, these are tough concepts.  Below I’ve outlined a couple of activities that incorporate using prepositions in social situations during fitness/PE.  They range from most basic to more advanced skills:


Activity: Short Sandbell or Medicine ball throws back and forth

Short med ball throw

Target Fitness skill: Push throw/catching

Target Communication/Socialization skill: “I throw” “You catch” or “Push throw!” Can also be establishing eye-contact or responding to the verbal cues “Catch” and “Throw” from an instructor or peer.

More examples in the next post…

Live Inspired,


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