Local woman's work highlighted in showcase

·2 min read

May 14—ASHLAND — A local student's work was presented during the 21st annual University Presentation Showcase — part of Scholars Week in April — at Eastern Kentucky University.

Research by Emmalee Floyd of Wurtland demonstrates the importance of socialization for children with disabilities.

Her research focuses on how sports benefit children with disabilities, both physically and socially. Floyd, whose graduate work is in recreation and park administration, was motivated to research this topic because of her relationships with family members with autism.

"Growing up and seeing first-hand how important it was for them to participate in social and physical activities inspired me," Floyd said. "It is important to understand the benefits that derive from socializing children with disabilities. Not only does it increase their social skills, but it helps improve their overall health."

Floyd said for all children, growing intellectually and physically helps them develop different life skills. However, for children with disabilities, developing those skills does not come as easily, so she found the socialization of these children is even more important to their development.

To get her project off the ground, Floyd spent a lot of time delving into research focused on sports for children with disabilities. Floyd said her biggest takeaway from her research was discovering there aren't many athletic programs for children with disabilities in rural areas.

"This needs to be corrected," Floyd said. "There needs to be a significant increase of those programs in these rural areas. These children are no different from others — they have just as big of a need for these skills and lifestyles."

Floyd says the research she has conducted could help others better understand the importance of the topic and how children with disabilities are positively impacted by this type of program.

After her research project is completed, Floyd hopes to see an increase in the recreational involvement of children that need more attention to their physical and mental health. She also wants to continue to inform others of the importance of the socialization of children with disabilities and to be able to share the multiple benefits that arise from these programs, including increased socialization skills, physical and mental health and overall quality of life.

The complete schedule of Scholars Week events is available at ekuscholars.eku.edu.