Lauren Lieberman Listen to Lauren Lieberman’s advice to families on what they can do to support their child’s recreation and leisure skills.


My name is Lauren Lieberman. I’m a professor of adapted physical education at SUNY-Brockport in Brockport, New York.

How can parents and other family members support the child’s acquisition of skills related to recreation and leisure?

I have three points to answer the question how we can support a child’s acquisition of skills. One, we need to ensure that the child is receiving services they need. For example, in order to bowl, a child needs to have fine motor skills as well as gross motor skills, so we need to ensure that they have physical therapy and occupational therapy if bowling is a goal.

The second thing is we have to make sure we set up activities in the home to increase skill abilities. So, just learning some skills at school isn’t going to be enough for some of our kids who have more multiple disabilities, so we need to make sure there are things at home that can help them. For example, if they can jump rope at home, and they have a place to jump rope, and access to accessible jump ropes, they can improve their gross and their fine motor skills, which will help in many other areas. In addition, if the parent has, for example, scooter boards at home or if they have a swimming pool at home, that will also help in more gross motor activities and balance and also their core activities.

The third thing is we need to show siblings, peers, and neighbors how to include the child into recreational activities. For example, if the peers play soccer at the bus stop, we need to show the peers how to include the child with the visual impairment, for example, with a bright ball, or a larger ball, or an auditory ball, and then the child with the visual impairment is more likely to be included in soccer at the bus stop. Whereas if we don’t make sure that they understand that, they’re not going to be included. So, the more we teach people that are in the child’s lives how to include them, the more they’ll be included, and the more activities they’ll be able to do.