OSU students in the College of Health and Human Sciences work one-on-one with special-needs kids to improve skills and self-confidence.

Lai Saeturn, a student in the college, works on hand motor skills with Kaycee Settlemire
Lai Saeturn, a student in the college, works on hand motor skills with Kaycee Settlemire

Most Friday evenings, as many as 80 children and young adults excitedly congregate in the OSU Women’s Building gymnasium to do things that most of us take for granted. Catching a ball. Swinging a bat. Climbing warily atop a balance beam.

It’s part of the Special Physical and Motor Fitness Clinic offered by the College of Health and Human Sciences. Benton County United Way and Hewlett-Packard sponsor the clinic, which is designed to help children with all kinds of disabilities work on fitness, motor skills, and aquatic skills. But mostly they just have fun.

The skills these youngsters develop will help them with day-to-day life in their classrooms, on playgrounds, and at home. An even deeper imprint is made on the undergraduate and graduate students who work with children in the clinic. In the photograph, Lai Saeturn, a student in the college, works on hand motor skills with Kaycee Settlemire.

Oregon State is becoming nationally known for its Movement Studies in Disability program, and top doctoral students are lured to campus by this reputation and by outreach programs like the clinic. Undergraduate students in a variety of fields gladly give up their Friday evenings for the chance to work with the kids.

“It’s hard to say who gets more out of it–the OSU students or the kids,” says Jeff McCubbin, who directs the clinic and the movement studies program. “I think it’s safe to say everyone comes out a winner.”


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