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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

Training the next Olympians

Model Train (Credit: Nick Smarto; Flickr)

In the health and athletics world, the word train means to practice in order to improve. But in the world of Special Olympics athletes, it means so much more, thanks to a group of students and faculty from Missouri State University. This interdisciplinary group from kinesiology, special education, dietetics, graphic design and computer science developed TRAIN, Testing Recreation Activities and Improving Nutrition, in 2009 and 2010.

Students in each of those departments are under the supervision of Dr. Tamara Arthaud, Dr. Rebecca Woodard and Natalie Allen. They share about the program.

At Special Olympics games or recreational events for individuals with intellectual disabilities (like the ones hosted by Arc of the Ozarks), TRAIN is offered  to test abilities and introduce healthy eating and hydrating habits. It takes many groups of people to make it successful: exercise and movement science majors and physical education majors run the stations and often complete the physical activity (shuttle run or sit and reach for example) stations with the participant to make sure they understand what is expected; special education students escort and assist the athletes throughout the activities; dietetics students provide information on healthy eating and drinking habits (explaining what food would build muscle or provide energy). Computer science students designed the software that is used, while graphic design students designed the resource materials.

Listen to the interview.