Cerritos College offers adaptive physical education courses

Special Edition of Off the Field to Celebrate Disability Awareness Month

Derrick Coleman and Jazmin Taha

“Everyone is welcome, Anytime in K105, Even if you don’t want to sign up, you’re always welcome to come and stop by and see what our classes are about.”

October is Disabilities Awareness Month and Adaptive Physical Education Coordinator, Jennifer O’Connor teaches most of the adapted P.E. classes and encourages students to come check out the adaptive physical education program.

O’Connor said some of the adaptive classes they teach include adaptive wheelchair sports on Tuesday and Thursdays, with a new adaptive dance class being offered in the fall 2019 semester.

Adaptive tennis, swimming and aquatic exercise are offered Mondays and Wednesdays. Adaptive aquatic exercise is only offered during the fall semester, the first session is during the first nine weeks of the semester and the second session is the last nine weeks.

O’Connor said most classes are taught in kinesiology room, K 105.

“We can all work together towards a common goal with improving [students with disabilities’] physical fitness and then also ultimately their [students with disabilities’] quality of life,” said O’Connor.

The big thing is awareness on campus, working closely with DSPS and working with counselors to make sure that they know what classes Cerritos College has to offer, and how we as faculty can best serve our students, said O’Connor.

The majority of enrolled students for the adaptive courses are coming directly from the DSPS office.

She said there is also a mutual learning agreement with the physical therapy assistance program on campus. Physical therapy assistants that are in the program come and work with the students enrolled in the adaptive courses for a couple of hours as part of their curriculum.

This teaching method is expected to help both the students enrolled in the physical therapy assistance program and the students in the adaptive sports classes according to O’Connor.

“I’m just getting better every time with my mobility… I’m taking adaptive swimming, fitness, basketball and tennis,” Joaquin Hernandez, business major, said.

Computer science major, Robert Jimenez said, “I wasn’t even aware of [Disabilities Awareness Month]… I didn’t even think it was a thing, even though I’m disabled.”

“I started coming to school a little bit more often, my fitness kind of slowed down. So having the classes available in between all my other classes really does help out a lot,” Hernandez said, “Especially when for us in wheelchairs, it’s very important to keep the faith and keep moving on.”

Hernandez feels “pretty good” about the class and everything “exceeded his expectations.”