Summer Camp Study

Ms. Mary Secco and her team at the Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario have been offering a summer camp program to children with epilepsy and their siblings for the past 10 years. The majority of parents using the camp describe their child with epilepsy as ‘socially isolated’, ‘inactive’ and ‘often reluctant’ to engage in sports and recreation. For this reason, Ms. Secco and her team added an 8-week physical literacy curriculum to the summer camp to see whether this would encourage children with epilepsy to become more active. The team chose to add the Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE) curriculum because it has been proven effective for improving coordination, movement skills, posture, balance, and confidence.

To see whether the added curriculum was effective within the summer camp, Ms. Secco and her team recorded parent feedback, daily observations and the results of standard skills testing. The Physical Literacy Assessment Tool for Youth (PLAY) was also used to assess children’s physical abilities both pre- and post- camp. Thirteen children, aged 4-12, attended all 8 weeks of camp and were included in the study group. Overall, there was an average of 30% improvement in physical skills, such as object handling, balance, walking and running.

Based on these findings, Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario expanded their program and now offer a 2-hour recreation program on Saturday mornings, all year round. The goal of this program is to promote movement, athletic skills, and ultimately inclusion, for children with epilepsy. For more information about this program, please visit www.epilepsysupport.ca/services/gameon.

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Status: Completed

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