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BBawlight's avatar

How do you teach a person with Down Syndrome to race?

Asked by BBawlight (2187 points ) October 11th, 2012

I’m writing a paper for school about this boy named Raymond who has Down Syndrome and his sister is teaching him how to race a 50— yard dash. He’s done it before and she wants to enhance his skills. It’s like the second book to ‘Raymond’s Run’ and I need help.
How would they go about training him? Is it any different from training the non-mentally challenged?

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10 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

There is no difference between teaching a Down Syndrome child to race and teaching a non-Down Syndrome child. If the child enjoys running, you run with him, and you run with him a lot, several hours a day if possible.

The concept of winning should never enter the equation. Racers run for the fun they get out of it, and nothing else.

BBawlight's avatar

@YARNLADY Thanks, I’m not familiar with running and have to do this for class. I didn’t know if there was a difference or not and just needed to be accurate.

Earthgirl's avatar

I am not an expert and have to say that I have no real life experience working with Down’s Syndrome athletes. Possibly @YARNLADY has such experience and I don’t want to disagree with her but this article seems to be very informative of some possible, though not universal physical differences that would impact any sort of physical training. One thing it mentions is oxygen consumption. Another issue is “Heart and blood vessel abnormalities, pulmonary hypoplasia, hypotonicity, narrowed aorta, and small nasal and oral cavities”. The 50 yard dash does not seem beyond the capabilities but just be aware there could be physical issues. The article also mentions differences in ligaments and joints. It even mentions motivational differences.

I think the coaching would have to take these things into consideration. The coach would have to be sensitive to the athlete’s limitaitons and encourage and motivate them to do their best without being overbearing. A teacher trained in special education would have the expertise and sensitivity to help these people to do their best. If I find any other info on actual techniques I will post it later

Here is one article that has some good advice about actual teaching techniques geared to Down’s Syndrome individuals.

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t know the answer to this one, but you, and your sister, might want to contact someone at the Special Olympics office in your area and ask them about this. It’s kind of what they “specialize” in.

Here’s a list of their local/international offices, from the Special Olympics website.

And here is there page on coaching resources.

They may be your best bet, though @Earthgirl‘s link is very good too, it looks like.

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YARNLADY's avatar

@Earthgirl Thank you. I was a volunteer for a special olympic type group in the 1960’s. I was assuming a basic level of understanding with my remarks. Your excellent answer brings up some issues I glossed over.

BBawlight's avatar

@lillycoyote It’s for a fictional book… I have a brother but no sisters.

Thanks for the help, you guys. I think I have it down now.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Earthgirl Even if you’re writing fiction, you want to get your facts and info straight and many people, particularly people who love what they do and are dedicated, are very often willing to talk to people about it. It’s part of doing your research as a writer. It has to wring true… but I’m sure you know that already. I’m glad you have gotten the information that you need for your story/book Good luck.

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Earthgirl's avatar

@lillycoyote I am not the OP. Just trying to help her out with some info so her story can be accurate. But I didn’t realize she’s only 13.
@BBawlight You seem to have a handle on it. You’re very articulate. Good luck with your story!
@YARNLADY I had a feeling that you had real world experience with this. I appreciate your thank you.

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