Arlington County students learn life skills at JBM-HH bowling alley
Sam Niel, age 18, from the Stratford Program, rolls a bowling ball down the lane at the JBM-HH Bowling Center during an outing students took to the base Nov. 29.

Students, teachers, assistants and physical therapists from the Arlington County Stratford Program bowled at the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall bowling center Monday morning.
The Stratford Program is a secondary school in the Arlington Public School system for children, teens and young adults with disabilities. The school is designed to assist students with special needs through middle school, high school and adult transition classes.

The outing was an educational exercise at the end of a physical education course that taught students how to bowl. Brian Raska, physical education teacher in charge of the preparations for the event said, ''We have been learning about bowling for three and a half weeks."

He said that even though the school has modified bowling equipment, the outing was an opportunity for the students to apply what they learned in class. ''This is their culminating event for the end of the bowling unit."

Assistant Annette Taylor said that getting students to understand the method of bowling took some practice.

''We try to get the students in the community as much as possible to prepare them for life after school," Raska said. ''[Bowling at Fort Myer] is a great opportunity to be out in the community," he added.

This is the fourth year the school has conducted this lesson at JBM-HH. Raska said that the school has a good relationship with the center and along with the bowling accommodations the center provides; it is convenient and close.

About 35 students ranging from 11 to 22 years of age were accompanied by seven teachers, 22 assistants and two physical therapists.

Even though students practiced bowling, some were still doubtful that they had any talent for the sport. Teachers and assistants eased their worries by mentioning the weeks of practice students had.

''They're trying to generalize their skills," Margaret Lindquist, transition coordinator and principal designee said.

One student commented that he had fun after he knocked down six pins.

Yet, even though the students worked on their bowling, the event taught them other life skills. Lindquist said, ''[The event] gives them an opportunity to practice social skills."

While bowling at the center, Lindquist said the students used patience, they followed directions, asked for help, learned to self regulate emotions of frustration and aggression and dealt with sensory issues from the noise. She added that students also had to deal with strength and mobility.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16