Investigating Strategies Used to Foster Quality Participation in Recreational Sport Programs for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Perceived Importance

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

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Emma StreatchSchool of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada

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Natasha BrunoSchool of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada

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Amy E. Latimer-CheungSchool of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada

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Quality experiences in sport programming for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can promote physical and psychosocial benefits and long-term quality participation (QP). Unfortunately, children with ASD often experience sport participation barriers and, consequently, participate less in sport compared with children without disabilities. This study investigated QP priorities and strategies that could foster QP for children with ASD. Caregivers (n = 13), volunteers (n = 26), and staff (n = 14) involved in sport programming for children with ASD rated experiential elements of QP using the Measure of Experiential Aspects of Participation. In addition , a two-round Delphi survey with staff (Round 1: n = 11; Round 2: n = 13) generated 22 strategies for promoting QP—each rated highly with regard to importance (5.69–6.85 on a 7-point scale). Strategies were substantiated with published research evidence. Findings informed the development of a QP tool designed to help instructors implement identified strategies in hopes of improving sport experiences for children with ASD.

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