Experiences in Physical Education for Children at Risk for Developmental Coordination Disorder

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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  • 1 University of Calgary
  • 2 University of Alberta
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Children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) may experience stress in physical activity contexts due to emphasis on their poor motor skills. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of children at risk for DCD in physical education in order to develop a deeper understanding about what they experience as stress and how they cope with it. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis, six children in Grades 4–6 participated in two semistructured interviews. A motivational (and developmental) stress and coping theory informed interpretation of the three themes that described the children’s experiences: (a) they hurt me—psychological and physical harm sustained from peers, (b) it’s hard for me—difficulties encountered in activities, and (c) I have to—pressure to meet the teacher’s demands. Although the children at risk for DCD were confronted with various stressors in physical education, they coped more adaptively when social support was provided.

Zimmer is with the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada. Dunn and Holt are with the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Zimmer (chantelle.zimmer@ucalgary.ca) is corresponding author.
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