Effects of Segregated and Integrated Programs on the Participation and Social Interaction of Moderately Mentally Handicapped Children in Play

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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This study examined the behavior of moderately mentally handicapped children in integrated and segregated programs. Seven subjects 5 to 10 years of age were observed during free play in two programs, one integrated and one segregated, to determine if they would benefit from placement in physical activity programs with nonhandicapped children. Socialization and activity participation were examined using a simple eight-category instrument on videotaped data. The presence or absence of play vehicles was also investigated to determine whether this play equipment would further affect behavior. Some 300 minutes of videotaped data were available for each subject. Behavior durations were recorded using an OS-3 Event Recorder. Inter-observer agreements were calculated on 15% of the data, with mean agreements of .96. Duration data were transformed to percentage of observable time for each subject in integrated and segregated settings, and when play vehicles were and were not available. Results from the study generally did not support the assumption that exposure to integrated programs will increase activity participation and social interaction. Activity participation did not appear to be affected by the presence of play vehicles in the environment. Social interaction levels were reduced significantly under this condition.

Request reprints from Dr. Jane Watkinson, Department of Physical Education and Sport Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H9.

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