Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Human Performance and Recreation

First Advisor

Robert Doan

Advisor Department

Human Performance and Recreation


As obesity becomes a rising concern in the United States and the importance of high test scores continues to add stress to students, physical activity opportunities are beginning to become less frequent in schools. The Center for Disease Control reports a total of 12.7 million children were classified as obese from 2011 to 2012 (CDC, 2015). While many researchers have also acknowledged this trend, the majority of studies focus on the correlation of physical activity in the classroom with increases in fitness and cognitive functioning levels among average population students, much like the research done by Webster, Russ, Vazou, Goh, and Erwin (2015). Little research targets special populations, let alone specifically those with language disorders. The objective of this study was to address the perceptions of both the students and teachers in a school for those with language disorders regarding including physical activity interventions within the classroom setting. A sample population of 23 students, 4 teachers, and 4 teaching assistants from the DuBard School for Language Disorders was obtained. The teachers and their assistants completed pre- intervention questionnaires before being oriented to the intervention activities that they would implement in their classrooms. The students also completed a short interview prior to the intervention activities. For one week, the students in the participating classrooms performed brain break activities three times a day during normal classroom instruction time. At the end of the intervention week, the teachers answered another questionnaire and the students were interviewed. This study revealed the majority of teachers felt that taking breaks from instruction time to perform some physical activity benefitted the students by improving their energy and focus. Most of the students enjoyed the opportunity to take a break from schoolwork, to move about the classroom and be active. Some of the students even felt it made it easier to focus and learn when they returned to their classroom activities. Based on the results of this study, including physical activity in classrooms with students with language disorders could benefit the learning experience of the students. Future research is needed to further examine the direct effects increased activity has on students’ fitness and cognitive functioning levels.