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This study examined the effectiveness of the Young Athletes program to promote motor development in preschool-aged children with disabilities. In the study, 233 children were randomly assigned to a control group or the Young Athletes (YA) intervention group which consisted of 24 motor skill lessons delivered 3 times per week for 8 weeks. Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) showed that children who participated in the YA intervention exhibited mean gains of 7–9 months on the Peabody Developmental Motor Subscales (PDMS) compared with mean gains of 3–5 months for the control group. Children in the YA intervention also exhibited significant gains on the gross motor subscale of the Vineland Teacher Rating Form (VTRF). Teachers and parents reported benefits for children not only in specific motor skills, but also kindergarten readiness skills and social/play skills. The necessity for direct and intentional instruction of motor skills, as well as the challenges of involving families in the YA program, are discussed.
Paddy C. Favazza, Gary N. Siperstein, and Andrew L. Moskowitz are with the University of Massachusetts Boston. Susan A. Zeisel, Samuel L. Odorn, and John H. Sideris are with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.