Longer example adapting physical education for children with special needs

This example is from a curriculum coordinator. Here is the abstract explanation of adapting physical education for children with special needs: "creating games during physical education for children who are unable to participate in the regular games children play."

Unlike the earlier terms, we can understand that definition fairly easily, but it has little impact. However, the speaker wanted more than intellectual understanding. She wanted us to feel the need for her program.

So she was creative—she involved us in a living example. First, she asked for a volunteer to come to the front of the room. Then she asked him to run to the other end of the room, pick up a bean bag, and return. That's typical of a game elementary school students might play.

Next, she asked the volunteer to put on a blindfold. She then asked members of the audience to suggest ways to adapt the game for him. One person suggested holding his arm while he walked. Another suggested handing the bean bags to the "blind person" when he reached the other end of the room. That way, the blindfolded volunteer wouldn't have trouble finding them.

Then the game took place again, the runner blindfolded, the other volunteers participating. It was fun to watch, fun for the blindfolded volunteer, fun for the other volunteers. I suspect it would have been fun for elementary school students participating with a person who was actually blind.

This was a terrific example. By seeing the blindfolded person, we were all able to empathize. We understood what "adapting physical education for children with special needs" meant, and we understood its value, too.

This was also a good way to involve the audience. We'll look further at this in Chapter 25, "Involving your audience and using humor."

Examples may seem simple to the speaker, but they're often crucial for the audience. So consciously look for places for examples: quick ones take almost no time and can be extremely important; longer ones not only help communication but provide extra emphasis, too.

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