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A Healthy Dose of Campus Care
The classroom is only one place the University has an impact

Enriching the lives of disabled children. Guiding working families through the complexities of social services. Helping seniors remain independent. For scores of Sac State faculty and students, touching lives throughout the Capital Region is a healthy habit.

Youthful Benefits
Numerous programs in the Colleges of Education, Health and Human Services, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Regional and Continuing Education show the classroom is only one place the University has an impact.

In Project PLAY (Play-Oriented Lifetime Activities for Youth), children with disabilities discover the joy of recreation.

Developed by kinesiology and health science professor Scott Modell, the 12-week program lets kids and parents see the variety of social, leisure and fitness activities available to kids with disabilities like cerebral palsy, spina bifuda or muscular dystrophy. It features adapted games like softball, as well as more individualized sports like swimming and gymnastics.

Photo of boy in wheelchair  at the Aquatic centerFor the past two summers, Modell and an army of student volunteers have also put on a water-soaked cousin of Project PLAY for a slightly older crowd. WAVE (Water Adventures in Varied Environments) Camp gives 10- to 19-year-olds with disabilities the chance to participate in a typical summer sleep-away camp. The schedule is jam-packed. In the mornings, campers might be paddling on the waters of the CSUS Aquatic Center at Lake Natoma or mastering adapted water-skiing. Afternoons can entail sailing, swimming or water polo. Along the way friendships form, new interests are established and confidence grows.

While both Project PLAY and WAVE Camp are focused on fun, Modell is driven by a serious purpose.

“The key is to provide a way for individuals with disabilities to make appropriate use of their free time through recreation, sports and leisure,” he says. “We want them to develop lifelong physical activity habits by introducing them to activities that they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to.”

Many other Sacramento-area children benefit from campus programs as well. Low-cost screening and treatment for speech and language difficulties is available from the Maryjane Rees Language, Speech and Hearing Center. The center offers a variety of services that address articulation problems—like saying “wabbit” instead of “rabbit”—or fluency disorders like stuttering. They also offer hearing evaluations to check for auditory processing disorders.

The clinic visits are conducted by students in the speech pathology and audiology master’s programs under the supervision of a faculty member. Speech and hearing services for adults are also offered.
Two other campus programs address the needs of children with autistic spectrum disorder.

As part of an effort to help students with autism succeed in the traditional classroom environment, special education, rehabilitation and school psychology professors Steven Daley and Maurine Ballard-Rosa will soon start serving as on-site advisors in selected Sacramento County School District classrooms. In conjunction with the UC Davis MIND (Medical Investigation of Neuro-
developmental Disorders) Institute, Daley and Ballard-Rosa will work with school personnel, providing consulting help, ideas and problem-solving.

“We’ll provide ongoing support to enhance the children’s chances of success in a typical setting,” Daley says. “Children with autism have unique learning traits, unique behavioral characteristics and unique needs.”

Another CSUS-connnected program that focuses on children with autism is the Applied Behavior Consultants (ABC) School, created by psychology professor Joseph Morrow. It is the only school in the country designed specifically for children with autism. Morrow says the ABC method can help about 40 percent of autistic children get into mainstream public education classes, if the child is enrolled in the program by age four. At least 10 Sac State students work as interns in the program.

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