On Dec. 7, Harlingen CISD held its Special Olympics Motor Activities Training Program (MATP) Challenge Day at the Harlingen Boys & Girls Club.

MATP is for athletes who cannot compete in official Special Olympics sports because they cannot physically perform movements or cannot follow the rules due to cognitive or behavioral limitations. The focus of MATP is on training and participation, rather than competition. For this reason, there are no official rules for competition. Emphasis is placed on achieving personal bests, and it allows for adapted equipment and physical assistance.

A Challenge Day is offered that meets the needs of every participant and lets the athlete share his/her developed skills with family and friends. Participants are awarded based on participation, not place. Instead of competitions, there are skill stations where athletes are given the opportunity to demonstrate their personal best.

The purpose of MATP is to help develop and enhance motor skills that are directly related to those used in official Special Olympics sports. MATP works with the following seven basic motor skills:

Mobility – leads to gymnastics and athletics
Dexterity – leads to athletics and softball
Striking – leads to softball, bowling, and golf
Kicking – leads to soccer
Manual Wheelchair – leads to athletics
Motorized Wheelchair – leads to athletics
Swimming – leads to aquatics

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