Special Education M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Elliott, Nathan


Academic achievements, standardized tests, and school accountability have resulted in children spending more time with seatwork and less time in recess and physical education. Recent brain research shows that cognitive skills develop with motor skills and cannot be isolated; children need instruction and practice with both skills. Schools and classrooms are providing more opportunities for movement with physical activity breaks during instructional times. Students with learning disabilities often have persistent primary reflexes that do not develop into postural reflexes, which are necessary school readiness skills such as attention, balance, and coordination. The purpose of this research is to review literature to show if physical activity improves learning, what types of physical activity have a greater impact on learning for students with learning disabilities, and if persistent primary reflexes can be inhibited with exercise. Results of this study show physical activity improves learning for all students, aerobic-based movements are more beneficial for students than academic-based movements, and specific movements can inhibit persistent primary reflexes for students with learning disabilities.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis