Leading an active lifestyle is an important part of anyone’s life. Through programs put in place by adapted physical education teacher Travis Grover, Heartspring School students have a myriad of opportunities to get active. Grover, who manages the physical education component for every student at Heartspring uses sports and recreation activities to expose the students to different activities that get them moving and allow them to experience new things.
“I basically develop my own curriculum for teaching adapted physical education to all students at Heartspring. That curriculum is structured around two major aspects: lifelong recreational and leisure skills, and physical fitness. I provide direct service to every child three times per week for a total of 90 minutes to 135 minutes,” Grover says.
Grover, originally from upstate New York, attended The State University New York College at Brockport, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education, there he later completed his master’s degree in Adapted Physical Education. With a small job market for such a specific field, Grover expanded his job search over several states, before landing the job at Heartspring.
“I told myself that I would have to broaden my search across the country if I was going to find the job that I wanted. I think I applied to several schools in over eight different states, Heartspring gave me a call and the rest is history.”
During his tenure at Heartspring, Grover has been responsible for drastically reducing the weight of some students. This increases their quality of life and also reduces the number of behaviors they have. By increasing their movement and exposing them to new activities, Grover hopes to find at least one skill that they can continue even after they transition to different placements.
“I teach the children activities such as roller-skating, aquatics, cycling skills, object control skills (throwing, catching, striking, kicking), bowling and parachute activities. My main goal for my students is to have them be able to develop at least one skill (swimming, riding an adult tricycle, roller-skating, etc.) that they can perform for the rest of their lives.”
Special Olympics and recreation activities are other areas that Grover coordinates for the students. Trips to the Median Shrine Circus or Wichita Wingnuts baseball games are examples of things that happen under his leadership. The Heartspring Hawks, the Special Olympics team, compete in a number of sports throughout the year, including two over night trips to the Kansas City area. All of these activities expose the students to new environments and aid in their overall development of social skills.
“I get to be involved in the lives of every one of the students at Heartspring and working here makes me realize that children are children no matter what. All kids want to enjoy life and have positive experiences. And to be able to put a smile on their face as much as I can is important to me.”