This scoping review synthesized reviews of physical activity (PA) interventions for children and youth with disabilities to highlight promising elements of effective interventions, research methodological limitations, and research priorities. Twenty studies were eligible and underwent three rounds of review by an expert panel. Rich and diverse PA programs derived potential short-term benefits toward health, function, and PA. Strategies to increase sample sizes included embedding programs in the community and using information communication technology to deliver exercise programs. Methodological limitations of interventions included a lack of generalizability, transferability, and scientific rigor. Three research priorities were identified: develop and report precision-based intervention strategies, identify strategies that promote both long-term and sustainable PA participation and outcomes, and develop scalable interventions and recruitment strategies. If addressed, these areas could enhance the impact of PA interventions for children and youth with disabilities.
Byron Lai, Eunbi Lee, Mayumi Wagatsuma, Georgia Frey, Heidi Stanish, Taeyou Jung, and James H. Rimmer
Amanda Ebert and Donna L. Goodwin
Adapted physical activity (APA) practitioners are encouraged to be reflexive practitioners, yet little is known about the moral dilemmas faced as they instruct inclusive physical activity or fitness programs. Professional landscape tensions may arise when diverse organizational demands, policies, traditions, and values merge. The study purpose was to explore how APA professionals experience and resolve moral discomfort in professional practice. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis, seven APA professionals completed one-on-one semistructured interviews. The conceptual framework of relational ethics facilitated deep engagement with the professionals’ stories of navigating the ethical minefields of their practice. Four themes were developed from the thematic interpretative phenomenological analysis: The ass(et) of vulnerability, Friends or friendly? “We are fucked either way,” and Now what? Grappling with discomfort. The moral discomfort and strategies for resolution described by APA professionals highlighted the need for judgment-free pedagogical spaces where taken-for-granted practices can be contemplated and discussed.
Janet L. Hauck, Isabella T. Felzer-Kim, and Kathryn L. Gwizdala
This longitudinal study investigated monthly motor development and physical activity (PA) of infants with and without Down syndrome. Gross and fine motor skills (Bayley Scales of Infant Development-III) and PA (accelerometer) were assessed in 35 infants at eight time points during infancy. A multivariate mixed model identified time points when motor scores diverged between the groups. In infants with Down syndrome, bivariate correlations between monthly PA and motor changes were calculated, and multivariate analysis of variance probed the influence of early PA on motor-skill timing. Results indicate that differences in gross and fine motor skills first emerge at 2 and 4 months, respectively. In infants with Down syndrome, gross motor and PA changes between 4 and 6 months were positively correlated. Infants more active than the mean at 2 or 3 months achieved several prone and sitting skills earlier. These results highlight the adaptability of early infancy and the importance of early intervention.
Ali Brian, Laura Bostick, Angela Starrett, Aija Klavina, Sally Taunton Miedema, Adam Pennell, Alex Stribing, Emily Gilbert, and Lauren J. Lieberman
Children with visual impairments often exhibit difficulties with locomotor skills (e.g., the ability to move one’s body from one place to another), warranting the need for ecologically valid interventions with conditions that attempt to match the real world in a variety of settings. Parents and physical education teachers are the ones choosing to provide movement opportunities for children with visual impairments and must be included in any ecologically valid intervention strategy. This was a descriptive-analytic study. To support the greatest diversity in settings, the authors recruited 94 participants (blind = 44 and low vision = 50; M age = 13.01 years, SD = 3.26) from schools for the deaf and blind in the United States (teacher led, n = 17) or Latvia (teacher led, n = 57), through an online LISTSERV throughout the United States (parent led, n = 10), and a control subgroup (n = 10). At the pretest, no participant’s motor development met age expectations. Children with visual impairments from multiple locations and cultures significantly improved compared with controls who did not. Results were most favorable when the physical educator was the interventionist. However, further research is needed to replicate these findings.
Andrea R. Taliaferro and Sean M. Bulger
The purpose of this study was to determine expert consensus regarding the essential characteristics of adapted physical education practicum experiences for preservice physical educators. Researchers used a 3-round Delphi procedure involving the repeated circulation of an online questionnaire to a panel of content experts (N = 24). During Round 1, panelists generated 70 items in response to an open-ended prompt. Then, panelists rated these recommendations on importance and feasibility in the following rounds. After the third round, 23 items were eliminated for failing to reach consensus. Of the remaining 47 items, 24 were both very important and feasible (both means >6), 21 were very important (mean ≥ 6) and probably feasible (mean ≥ 5), and 2 were feasible (mean ≥ 6) and moderately important (mean ≥ 5). Four major themes were identified through a post hoc qualitative cluster analysis: program context, teaching and learning activities, outcomes/soft skills, and evaluation of instructor performance.
Pierre Lepage, Gordon A. Bloom, and William R. Falcão
The purpose of this study was to understand the learning experiences and acquisition of knowledge of youth parasport coaches. Five able-bodied male participants (M = 39 years old), who coached youth with a physical disability for an average of 7.4 years, participated in individual interviews. An inductive thematic analysis identified patterns within and across the data, allowing for description and interpretation of the meaning and importance of the themes. The results showed that coaches learned mostly from informal experiences, particularly through mentoring, trial and error, or use of technology. In addition, these learning opportunities were influenced by personal, environmental, and social factors. These findings can help to guide current and future generations of coaches of youth participants with a physical disability by highlighting available resources and addressing several barriers and facilitators to their learning.
Joseph Peters, Ian Rice, and Tyson Bull
This pilot study investigated the relationship between personal and wheelchair factors on skin pressures at the ischial tuberosity in wheelchair basketball players. Seventeen wheelchair basketball players (7 male and 10 female) were evaluated during static and dynamic propulsive conditions while peak pressure index and peak pressure gradient were recorded with an interface pressure mat. The results showed that greater seat dump angles and backrest heights were negatively associated with the peak pressure index. Therapeutic cushion use was moderately associated with a reduced peak pressure gradient. Higher-class players used chair configurations associated with augmented pressure; however, classification status alone was not associated with pressure magnitude. Body mass index was negatively correlated with the static peak pressure gradient at levels approaching significance (p < .10). In conclusion, greater seat dump angles and backrest heights may provide pressure relief, whereas greater body mass index and therapeutic cushion use may reduce pressure gradients.
Wojciech Jedziniak, Piotr Lesiakowski, and Teresa Zwierko
The authors investigated the dynamics of saccadic parameters during a stationary oculomotor target task in amputee soccer players (n = 16), able-bodied soccer players (n = 16), and nonathletic control subjects (n = 16). Eye movements during the visual-search tasks were recorded binocularly using a mobile eye-tracking system, and the gaze parameters were analyzed (fixation duration, saccade duration, saccade amplitude, saccade average acceleration, saccade peak deceleration, saccade average velocity, and ocular mobility index). The average saccade acceleration in the amputee soccer players was significantly lower than in the able-bodied players (p = .021). Other saccade characteristics in disabled athletes were comparable to those of the able-bodied groups. Moreover, the able-bodied soccer players presented faster saccadic parameters than nonathletes in terms of saccade acceleration (p = .002), deceleration (p = .015), and velocity (p = .009). The modification of oculomotor functions may result from extensive practice and participation in ball games. The authors’ hypothesis that oculomotor functions in amputee soccer players may be impaired was not fully confirmed.
K. Andrew R. Richards, Wesley J. Wilson, Steven K. Holland, and Justin A. Haegele
Although much has been learned about the workplace experiences of physical education teachers, less is known about the unique experiences of adapted physical educators (APEs). Grounded in role socialization theory, the purpose of this study was to understand the relationships among perceived organizational support, resilience, perceived mattering, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction in APEs. The participants included 237 APEs from the United States, who completed an online survey. The primary data analyses included confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling. The final structural model was a good fit for the data, χ2(199) = 327.25, p < .001, χ2/df = 1.64; root-mean-square error of approximation = .052 (90% confidence interval [.042, .062], p = .354); standardized root-mean-square residual = .050; nonnormed fit index = .959; comparative-fit index = .964. The results of this study highlight the importance of developing a workplace environment in which APEs feel supported in developing perceptions of matter, reducing emotional exhaustion, and improving job satisfaction.