Activity Levels during Physical Education and Recess in Two Special Schools for Children with Mild Intellectual Disabilities

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Cindy H.P. Sit The University of Hong Kong

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Thomas L. McKenzie San Diego State University

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John M.G. Lian The University of Hong Kong

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Alison McManus The University of Hong Kong

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This study compared physical education (PE) and recess in two markedly different special schools for children with mild intellectual disabilities; one school had a reputation for focusing on sports (High Sport Focus-HSF) and the other did not (Low Sport Focus-LSF). Data were collected in 24 PE classes and 48 recess periods using a validated observation system. During both PE and recess, HSF students engaged in physical activity (PA) at greater intensity levels, but LSF students accrued more total activity min. Differences in PA during PE between the schools were associated with both lesson context and teacher behavior. The results suggest written (e.g., scheduling) and unwritten policies within schools affect children’s activity levels.

Cindy Sit is with The University of Hong Kong, Institute of Human Performance, Pokfulam, Hong Kong. E-mail: sithp@hku.hk. Thomas McKenzie is with San Diego State University, School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences. John Lian is with the Centre for Advancement in Special Education and Alison McManus is with the Institute of Human Performance, both at the University of Hong Kong.

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