The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effects of physical activities on the cardiovascular performances of three institutionalized, profoundly retarded, multiply handicapped children. Heart rates were recorded during the completion of selected motor activities using a combination of telemetered electrocardiograms (ECG) and standard wireless microphone/video technology. Each subject participated in the experiment for a minimum of 6 weeks. The relationships between mean heart rates and performance times for each subject were evaluated throughout the experiment. Based upon the data collected, it was concluded that gross motor activities may have a significant effect on the cardiorespiratory functioning of profoundly retarded, multiply handicapped children, provided the activities are performed for an extended period of time and on a regular basis. The activities selected for use in this study were developmentally based, and no special consideration was given to their aerobic demands on the subjects. The subjects’ level of functioning dictated the use of developmental criteria rather than other, more fitness oriented, criteria that are usually applied to nonhandicapped individuals.
Request reprints from Dr. A.W. McNeill, Dept. of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717.