PE classes for children with learning difficulties are having a big impact in Midlothian, says Karen Campbell, a supply PE teacher in the region, who is one of a number of staff using so-called perceptual motor programmes with small groups.
These see games and activities chosen to suit the individual needs for children with learning difficulties, she explained at a conference workshop in Dalkeith.
Specialist equipment is used, such as wobble boards, scooters, tactile balls, balance walls and individual see-saws. More common PE equipment, such as hoops, quoits, markers and skipping ropes, can also be used. Small groups allow difficulties to be addressed more easily, while pupils experience success, which boosts confidence. Throughout, children are encouraged to give and receive instructions, which helps memory, language and confidence.
Circle time encourages children to give each other positive feedback, helping language, self-esteem and social skills.
The programmes help concentration, co-ordination, organisational skills, gross and fine motor skills, and visual and auditory memory.