Development and Pilot Testing of the Disability Awareness Training and Education Program Among Community-Based Group Fitness Instructors

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

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Brynn AdamsonDepartment of Health Sciences, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, CO, USA

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Mina WooDepartment of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

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Toni LiechtyDepartment of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

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Chung-Yi ChiuDepartment of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

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Nic WyattDepartment of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

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Cailey CrannyDepartment of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

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Laura RiceDepartment of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

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Lack of disability awareness of fitness professionals is a well-established barrier to exercise participation among people with disabilities that is likely related to the lack of disability awareness training for group fitness instructors. The purposes of this study were to develop, implement, and evaluate a disability awareness training for group fitness instructors. A 90-min video training and resource manual were developed. We recruited 10 group fitness instructors from one recreation center to participate. Participants completed baseline, posttraining, and 2-month follow-up testing on survey-based outcomes including disability attitudes, confidence in exercise adaptations, and training satisfaction. Participants’ confidence to adapt fitness classes was significantly improved; however, disability attitudes were high in the pretest and not significantly different posttraining. Semistructured interviews were conducted posttraining and revealed three themes: Formal disability training is needed, Managing inclusive class dynamics, and Training suggestions and satisfaction. This training demonstrated a feasible intervention for increasing disability awareness among community-based group fitness instructors.

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