Adapting Physical Education for Those Impacted with Duchenne

Those who live with Duchenne muscular dystrophy have physical activity limitations that need to be addressed at school.  Parents are encouraged to work with their schools to assist with decision making regarding the most appropriate activities for the student to participate in, typically through the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process.  The IEP team includes:  the child, his parents/guardians, at least one regular education teacher, at least one special education teacher (if applicable), a school district representative, and an expert who can interpret the evaluation results.  Other members can include the physical therapist and parent advocate.

Why is it so important to modify school activities for children with Duchenne?

Squats, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, running, and weight training are examples of typical activities incorporated into physical education.  With Duchenne muscular dystrophy, these activities cause muscle damage and should be avoided.  However, children should still be included in their education and not isolated from their peers.  This can be done through appropriate and safe modifications to PE sessions.  One example is allowing the child to lead the class in stretches.  He may also be interested in being a team “coach”, score keeper or timer, so that they are still expected to understand athletics/sports and be involved in them without putting demands on their muscles.

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