SPORTS INTEGRATION By Ani Perez
SPORTS INTEGRATION By Ani Perez
This online platform consists of video guides, lesson plans and online tools that demonstrate how Adaptive Physical Education Teacher Ani Perez’s “fitness inclusion model” at American Senior High School in Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) motivates a diverse group of students with ASD and related disabilities lead a healthy and productive life.
This sports training model is designed to maximize opportunities for student participation in the school’s varsity teams and off-campus competitions, the Miami Marathon-Kids Run and the Superintendent’s 5K Challenge. Through this extension to the basic I Can Do It You Can DO It adaptive physical education and instructional program, she has proven that by becoming active in sports and belonging to a team, her students lead a healthier life, follow good nutrition, control their weight, increase self-esteem and social skills, and are better prepared for life after school.
The series of eight five minute videos will document Coach Perez’s transformative “fitness inclusion model” AP Runners Team as she works around the personal challenges of diverse high school students with ASD and related disabilities, and highlights Ani’s physical education teaching curricula and unique coaching style.
The training tools will be integrated to an online content platform across media and will offer continuing training for adaptive physical education teachers/coaches, social workers, families, health and ESE professionals who are familiar with the physical and mental health needs of this population. Through hands-on demonstrations, testimonials and success stories, this platform will address how to achieve “inclusion” successfully.M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho believes “Ani Perez’s program bridges the gap of those who have disabilities with those who do not, empowering all of them by bringing them together is a model not only for the state but for the entire nation.”
Online audiovisual content, social networks and a variety of media platforms on the internet will allow these individuals to congregate in a virtual space where they share their affinity, aspire to establish new relationships and have access to new trends and knowledge. All stakeholders will have access on their desktop computers, tablets, smart TV, and mobile devices. . Subscribers will access video guides, download videos, get online support and on-demand webinars to share knowledge and concerns.
We envision a cost-effective national movement where adaptive PE teachers/coaches promote the significant role of fitness for a Culture of Health and become experts on how to integrate youth and adults with developmental disabilities into their teams and PE classes. We also aim to help parents and other family members better understand the benefits and how to involve their special needs family members in mainstream athletic activities.
Ani’s powerful first-person narrative will complement the voices of students, parents and experts to create a series of informative training videos. An immersive and memorable story of a dedicated coach and courageous students that reminds viewers that with belief, tough love, and a “never give up” attitude, anything is possible.
Ani Perez, a former All-American college athlete and nationally-recognized Adaptive PE Teacher/Coach, inspires her students with autism and related disorders to play sports, run, eat well and live life fully! As representative of American Senior High School, she participated in the White House Summit and Research Forum on Improved Health and Fitness for Americans with Disabilities and worked on I Can Do It, You Can Do It Program in Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
She firmly believes how the impact of a higher level of fitness within the adaptive physical education program can change lives. Coach Perez has developed the “fitness inclusion model” that incorporates the health benefits of fitness. Her cutting-edge “model” has successfully integrated students with disabilities with general education students in the school’s soccer team and train to run the Miami Marathon-Kids Run and the Superintendent’s 5K Challenge.
Ani believes her students Can Do It! She is inspirational, powerful, compassionate, honest and insightful. But it’s not all fun and games with Ani. Like most great coaches, she can be very tough and demanding. Encouraging her students to participate in sports and community competitions has been Coach Perez’s main goal and the motivational key that has transformed so many of her students. They are learning to be active, healthy, and manage choices. They are improving their eating habits as they adopt good nutrition to complement their physical activities. Mainstream students now see their peers in Adaptive PE as equals when they all compete to cross the finish line!
Ani Perez has developed a stellar reputation as a dedicated and passionate teaching professional who is widely respected by her contemporaries and students alike, and she continues to strive to set standards and exceed expectations. She has been directly involved as an M-DCPS Coach/Mentor on several specialized programs which promote awareness in health and fitness for students with disabilities including: Special Olympics, Sports Program for Students with Disabilities; Water-Related Sports Programs; Gardening Club for Students with Disabilities; and I Can Do It, You Can Do It Active Lifestyle Program. Her awards include “All-American” honoree, M-DCPS Teacher of the Year and Miami Herald Coach of the Year. Born in Miami of Cuban parents, she attended Barry University and earned her Master’s Degree in Exceptional Student Education at Florida Memorial University.
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