New England Center for Children Receives Physical Education Award

Phil Leonard, a physical education teacher at the New England Center for Children (NECC), will be honored by the Massachusetts Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAPHERD) for his outstanding work to create an Adaptive Physical Education program. NECC is a research and education center for children with autism that offers day programs, home-based programs, and partnered public-school programs.

MAPHERD will present Leonard with its 2020 Amelia Riou Award for Adapted PE Teacher of the Year. MAPHERD works with students and teachers to research, organize, and improve physical education programs in the Massachusetts. Leonard, who has 15 years of experience teaching adapted physical education, has helped NECC form an adapted physical education program accessible to students at home during COVID-19. NECC has over 60 videos on YouTube dedicated to meeting students’ personalized physical health objectives. MAPHERD will award Leonard and NECC at their annual Honors Banquet in September.

“I am incredibly honored and grateful to be recognized by my peers with this MAHPERD award,” said Leonard. “For students with autism, and generally for all kids with disabilities, physical fitness is such a critical component of their overall education and success, which is what makes it particularly rewarding to be able to do my job every day. NECC has championed the importance of physical education with our students, and I am proud to have played a role in shaping what has become a best practice Adapted Physical Education program for our school.”

NEC congratulates Leonard and NECC on this award and their work to maintain a comprehensive adapted physical education program for autistic students during the pandemic. Find more info here.

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