DARKE COUNTY - Emily Clark has lots of plans for the Adapted Physical Education program participants at the Darke County Educational Service Center (ESC).
The specialist has been working with the special needs students in physical activities for the past six years.
“We have lots of group activities on the table,” said Clark, the former Emily Rhoades. “The first thing we have is Adapted Aquatics. The first and third Wednesdays of each month. Mississinawa, Versailles, Bradford and Tri Village Multiple Disabilities units meet at the Versailles YMCA from 12:30-1:30.”
According to her, the first 1o to 15 minutes of the aquatic program, the students do group activities, while the remainder of the time is free time.
“These students are more physically limited,” said Clark, who even gets in the water sometimes. “We work on water aerobics and a weight lift exercise. At free time, we work on cooperative playing, appropriate playing and socialization.”
Students also experience basic aquatics skills such as getting over water fear.
The adapted aquatics will continue throughout the school year; Oct. 3 and 17, Nov. 7 and Dec. 5 and 19 this year and Jan. 16, Feb. 6 and 20, March 6 and 20, April 3 and 17 and May 1 and 15 in 2013.
There are 30 participating students altogether.
“I also go out and work with them one-on-one or in small groups or their gym class,” she said. “There is an adult [teacher and/or aide] to four students
Participating schools are Arcanum, Tri-Village, Mississinawa, Versailles and Bradford.
She is also doing other activities with these students, with tentative plans to include the therapeutic riding of horses, as well as free bowling six times on Wednesdays in 2013 at the Miracle Lanes in Fort Recovery.
“Some other things we’ll be doing as part of their school experience is bowling, horseback riding, canoeing, an overnighter at Chenoweth Trails, archery and fishing as starters. This population is truly amazing and the activities they’ll be participating, I feel, are worthy of community recognition.”
The event at Chenoweth Trails Oct. 18 and 19 will be the first time for a campout which she calls outdoor recreation.
“At the end of the year, we’ll have a field day at Ward Park in Versailles, with yard games and a Bouncy House,” Clark said.
Among the respective educators taking part in these events are: Tiffany Oswalt at Bradford for grades K-5; Diana Siefring at Mississinawa, for grades 6-8; Brittany Harmon at Versailles, with grades 9-12; and Tri-Village with Julia Slyder in grades 6-8 and Karyn Smith in grades 9-12. Amy Beanblossom, it was noted, oversees the students in grades K-5 at Arcanum.
Clark, one of three daughters of Sonnie and Bob Rhoades, graduated from Versailles High School in 2002, and came to ESC out of college at Morehead State University in Kentucky, where she majored in health and physical education and earning her degree in 2007. She received her master’s from Toledo.
In 2004, she married Rick Clark of the Covington area, and is the mother of three daughters, Molly, 7, Leah, 3, and Kayla, who was born May 8. The family lives near Bradford with their 100 head of goats.
She and Rick met at the state fair through friends in 2001. He works at Harvestland as a risk manager and safety coordinator in Richmond, Ind.