Physical activity (PA) has been demonstrated to have positive effects on cognitive function, particularly executive function (EF) skills. Animal models suggest PA may be effective in ameliorating some of the neuropsychological effects of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), but this approach has not been extended to humans. The purpose of this study was to develop a PA program, FAST Club, for children with FASD and to evaluate its effect on a measure of EF. Using a wait-list control design, 30 children age 7–14 yr participated in FAST Club for 2 × 1.5-hr sessions/week for 8 weeks. EF was assessed using the Children’s Color Trails Test. Significant improvements in T scores on the Children’s Color Trails Test were seen immediately postprogram, and this improvement was sustained at 3 months postprogram. These findings provide evidence to support the use of PA as a means to improve EF in children with FASD.
Alison B. Pritchard Orr, Kathy Keiver, Chris P. Bertram, and Sterling Clarren
Jaehun Jung, Willie Leung, Bridgette Marie Schram, and Joonkoo Yun
The purpose of this study was to explore the current levels of physical activity among youth with disabilities using meta-analysis. The search identified 11 publications including 729 participants (age 4–20 yr). The overall effect size for 11 studies was Hedges g = 0.60 (SE = 0.18, 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.24, 0.96], p < .05, k = 11) using a random-effects model. The findings suggest that differences in physical activity levels between youth with and without disabilities are complex. Results indicated that youth without disabilities engaged in higher levels of physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity (g = 0.66, SE = 0.18, p < .05). However, no differences were found in light-intensity physical activity (g = −0.03, SE = 0.16, p > .85). Results also suggested that the differences in physical activity between youth with and without disabilities were affected by age (<12 yr, g = 0.83, SE = 0.24, 95% CI [0.37, 1.29], p < .05, and >13 yr, g = 0.37, SE = 0.10, 95% CI [0.18, 0.57], p < .05; Q value = 3.20, df = 1, p < .05), with children with disabilities engaging in less physical activity than children without disabilities in younger ages. Differences in physical activity level between youth with and without disabilities are functions of intensity of physical activity and age but may not be of type of disability (Q value = 0.22, df = 1, p > .6).
Luis Columna, Denzil A. Streete, Samuel R. Hodge, Suzanna Rocco Dillon, Beth Myers, Michael L. Norris, Tiago V. Barreira, and Kevin S. Heffernan
Despite having the desire to become physically active as a family, parents of children with visual impairments often lack the skills and resources needed to provide appropriate physical activities (PAs) for their children. The purpose of this study was to explore the intentions of parents of children with visual impairments toward including their children in PAs after participating in a PA program. In this descriptive qualitative study, the participants were 10 parents of children with visual impairments. A series of workshops were designed to provide parents with the skills and resources needed to promote PA for their family. Upon completion of the workshops, parents took part in one-on-one semistructured interviews that were subsequently transcribed and analyzed using a thematic line-by-line process. Two interdependent themes emerged from the data analyses: (a) eye-opening experiences and (b) transformed, more hopeful, and optimistic outlook. The results revealed that through the PA intervention, parents learned teaching strategies that were intended to increase their PA opportunities and garnered resources that allowed them to teach their children to participate in PA.
Donna L. Goodwin and Amanda Ebert
Locating suitable, inclusive community physical activity programs for disabled children can be challenging for parents. The aim of this study was to uncover everyday hidden labor experienced by parents, as they sought inclusive physical activity opportunities for their children. Focus group interviews with eight families of youth aged 13–19 years were completed using an interpretative phenomenological case study research approach. Four themes, interpreted through the framework of relational ethics, captured their experiences: (a) inclusion is immensely effortful; (b) judged by their impairments, not their possibilities; (c) ongoing education needed to open doors and sustain participation; and (d) the guilt of staying home. Reliance on hidden parental labor highlighted an exclusion agenda in community, accentuated by ableist belief systems.
Stamatis Agiovlasitis, Joonkoo Yun, Jooyeon Jin, Jeffrey A. McCubbin, and Robert W. Motl
This paper examines the need for interdisciplinary knowledge in the formation of public health models for health-promoting physical activity (PA) for people experiencing disability. PA promotion for people experiencing disability is a multifaceted endeavor and requires navigating a multitude of complicated and interactive factors. Both disability and health are multifaceted constructs and the relationship between PA and health is embedded within a complicated web of interactive influences. PA promotion must consider interacting biological and psychosocial factors within the person and in the sociopolitical environment. Models for research and practice need to evolve from value and belief systems that center on people experiencing disability without stigmatizing them. We argue that interdisciplinary research and practice is needed in navigating the intricacies of PA promotion toward improving the health of people experiencing disability and facilitating inclusion, empowerment, and dignity.
ZáNean McClain and E. Andrew Pitchford
Arya M. Sharma, Donna L. Goodwin, and Janice Causgrove Dunn
Dr. Arya M. Sharma challenges the conventional wisdom of relying simply on “lifestyle” approaches involving exercise, diet, and behavioral interventions for managing obesity, suggesting that people living with obesity should receive comprehensive medical interventions similar to the approach taken for other chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes or hypertension. He purports that the stigma-inducing focus on self-failing (e.g., coping through food, laziness, lack of self-regulation) does not address biological processes that make obesity a lifelong problem for which there is no easy solution. Interdisciplinary approaches to obesity are advocated, including that of adapted physical activity. Physical activity has multifaceted impacts beyond increasing caloric expenditure, including improved sleep, better mood, increased energy levels, enhanced self-esteem, reduced stress, and an enhanced sense of well-being. The interview with Dr. Sharma, transcribed from a keynote address delivered at the North American Adapted Physical Activity Symposium on September 22, 2016, in Edmonton, AB, Canada, outlines his rationale for approaching obesity as a chronic disease.
Maureen Connolly and William J. Harvey
Critical pedagogy owes much of its emergence, development, and ongoing relevance to the work of Paulo Freire whose legacy remains relevant for a next generation of scholars who seek to explore issues of inclusion, oppression, social justice, and authentic expression. An interdisciplinary dialogue between critical pedagogy and adapted physical activity is timely, appropriate, and should focus on complex profiles of neurodiversity, mental illness, and mental health, with emphasis on pedagogic practices of practitioners in service delivery and teacher educators who prepare them for professional practice. A case-based scenario approach is used to present practitioner and teacher educator practices. Concrete examples are provided for analyzing and understanding deeper issues and challenges related to neurodiversity in a variety of embodied dimensions in educational and activity contexts. We work with Szostak’s approach to interdisciplinary research and model an analysis strategy that integrates and applies the methodological features of interdisciplinarity, adapted physical activity, and critical pedagogy.
In this article, I explore the concept of axiology in the context of adapted physical activity research and analyze its connection to the more commonly discussed paradigmatic assumptions of epistemology and ontology. Following methodological scholars, I argue for an acknowledgment of the pivotal role that axiology already plays in adapted physical activity research and for the potential interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary opportunities that could be enabled by engaging with axiology in more explicit ways. I discuss a number of potential axiological gaps between the field of adapted physical activity and disability communities, arguing that such differences may undermine attempts at doing meaningful transdisciplinary research with such communities. I offer strategies for bridging these axiological gaps, encouraging us to work together in axiologically reflexive ways in order to increase meaningful opportunities for more people with disabilities to be engaged in the movement-based activities and communities of their choice.