Skip to main content

 Good News: 6/23/09: SRU professor showcases adapted program in Sweden 



SRU Good News for June 23, 2009


SRU professor showcases adapted program in Sweden


Robert Arnhold, professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences at Slippery Rock University, has been invited to represent North America at this week's International Symposium of Adapted Physical Activity in Gavle, Sweden. Arnhold will present SRU's methods for training students as Special Olympics coaches.

     Universities from eight countries will participate in the conference that focuses on physical activity programs for people with intellectual disabilities.

     "It's a prestigious conference. Adapted physical activity is a pretty small academic field, but this conference will include peers from all over the world who are working to improve the lives of those with disabilities," Arnhold said. "We will all be trying to find the best way to improve our programs. We're going to present our model for certifying our undergraduate and graduate students as Special Olympics coaches."

     Joining Arnhold in Sweden will be Lauren Slampak and Bonnie Hoolihan, two students in SRU's adapted physical activity graduate program. Slampak will discuss SRU's partnership with Special Olympics. Hoolihan will present SRU's "I Can Do It, You Can Do It" mentoring program that gives students the opportunity to lead one-on-one physical activity sessions with clients who have a disability.

      "We're going to represent North America and explain how some of the concepts we use in training coaches are embedded into our adapted program," Arnhold said.

     SRU has provided training leadership for Special Olympics since 2007. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a sister of the late President John F. Kennedy who founded the program, asked SRU to develop a curriculum for training and assessing coaches for Special Olympics' revived Camp Shriver program. Camp Shriver focuses on skills development and friendship building as opposed to competition. SRU students were invited to Shriver's house in Maryland to train coaches, and the University later hosted a pilot Camp Shriver to help the program go national. 

     Arnhold, who devised the training methodology, will discuss the program's strengths. SRU, which offers the only adapted physical activity minor in Pennsylvania and launched a graduate program in 2008, has much in common with adapted physical activity curriculum in Europe. For the past 10 years, the European model, like SRU's, has focused on adapted physical activity. Most U.S. programs focus on adapted physical education.

      "SRU is lifespan and health-promotion focused," he said. "U.S. models are more focused only on the school-aged child with a disability and physical education classes. We are interested in physical education, recreation, sport, leisure, and changing lifestyles for long-term health benefits."

      Arnhold said SRU was invited to the conference after he submitted an abstract on the University's adapted programs. The conference theme is "Adapted Physical Activity for Health, Participation, Accessibility and Performance." It will include presentations and workshops on injury prevention, exercise for Cerebral Palsy children and exercise as therapy in managing chronic disease, among other topics.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.


Editor's Note: The successes of our friends and colleagues at the University are something we should all celebrate�and share. The University Public Relations Office has introduced a daily E-feature to share a good news story about a person, program, activity or service associated with Slippery Rock University. When good news happens to you, please let us know so we might share it with others. Submit items through campus e-mail to:



Click here to view the Economic Impact Report

Click here to view the Economic Impact Report