This cross-sectional study examined experiential elements facilitating quality sport experiences for youth (ages 12–24 years) in Special Olympics, and the associated influences of sport program and sociodemographic characteristics. A total of 451 athletes involved in the 2019 Special Olympics Youth Games completed a survey assessing elements of quality participation (autonomy, belongingness, challenge, engagement, mastery, and meaning). The t tests investigated whether athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities rated elements differently across Traditional and Unified Sport programs. Regression analyses explored whether sport program and sociodemographic characteristics were predictors of these elements. Youth reported high mean scores across the elements, with no significant differences between athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Traditional or Unified Sport. Athletes with no reported disability rated higher autonomy than those who reported disability (p = .01). Women tended to report greater engagement in sport than men (p = .07). Findings provide theoretical and practical insights into quality sport participation among youth in Special Olympics.
Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Natasha Bruno, Krystn Orr, Roxy O’Rourke, Virginia Wright, Rebecca Renwick, Kirsten Bobbie, and James Noronha
Jacqueline C. Ladwig, Tamires C. do Prado, Stephanie J. Tomy, Jonathan J. Marotta, and Cheryl M. Glazebrook
Improvements in functional reaching directly support improvements in independence. The addition of auditory inputs (e.g., music, rhythmic counting) may improve goal-directed reaching for individuals with cerebral palsy (CP). To effectively integrate auditory stimuli into adapted teaching and rehabilitation protocols, it is necessary to understand how auditory stimuli may enhance limb control. This study considered the influence of auditory stimuli during the planning or execution phases of goal-directed reaches. Adults (with CP = 10, without CP = 10) reached from a home switch to two targets. Three conditions were presented—no sound, sound before, and sound during—and three-dimensional movement trajectories were recorded. Reaction times were shorter for both groups in the sound before condition, while the group with CP also reached peak velocity relatively earlier in the sound before condition. The group with CP executed more consistent movements in both sound conditions. Sound presented before movement initiation improved both the planning and execution of reaching movements for adults with CP.
Carly Albaum, Annie Mills, Diane Morin, and Jonathan A. Weiss
Direct, meaningful contact with people with intellectual disability, such as through integrated sport, may be related to positive attitudes. The current study aimed to compare implicit (unconscious) and explicit (conscious) attitudes between adults involved in integrated sport events and those in a comparison group who were not and examine the association between attitudes and degree of integrated sport involvement. An online survey measuring attitudes was completed by 295 adults without intellectual disability who participated in integrated sport activities and 450 adults who did not. Individuals involved in integrated sport reported less negative behavioral and affective attitudes relative to the comparison group, with mixed results for cognitive attitudes. Groups did not differ on implicit attitudes. Greater integrated sport involvement was related to some aspects of explicit attitudes. Involvement in integrated sport may be linked to how participants view intellectual disability, which has important implications for enhancing social inclusion and informing positive attitudes.
Nima Dehghansai, Veronica Allan, Ross A. Pinder, and Joe Baker
Research has recently examined the role of impairment onset on athlete development in Paralympic sport; however, less is known on how impairment type can impact athlete sporting pathways. In this study, 187 Australian and Canadian Paralympic sport athletes completed a survey. Participants were divided into the following four groups: impaired muscle power (n = 79); ataxia, athetosis, and hypertonia (n = 44); limb deficiencies (n = 42); and other physical impairments (n = 22). Mechanisms of initiation into Paralympic sport varied between groups with some drawn to sport through friends and/or family (i.e., limb deficiencies and other physical impairments groups) while others through talent search programs (i.e., ataxia, athetosis, and hypertonia group) or health care professionals/rehabilitation centers (i.e., impaired muscle power group). Results revealed no significant differences between groups in the chronological age or absolute years for achieving milestones. However, considering the high variability within the sample, more research is necessary to better understand how athletes with different physical impairments navigate through their sporting careers.
ZáNean McClain, Erin Snapp, Daniel W. Tindall, and Jill Anderson
Danielle Peers, Lindsay Eales, Kelvin Jones, Aidan Toth, Hernish Acharya, and Janice Richman–Eisenstat
The purpose of this study was to assess the safety and meaningfulness of a 15-week recreational dance and singing program for people with neuromuscular conditions. Within a transformative mixed-methods design, pulmonary function tests, plethysmography through wearable technology (Hexoskin vests), individualized neuromuscular quality-of-life assessments (version 2.0), and semistructured interviews were used. The interviews were analyzed through inductive, semantic thematic analysis. Although the sample sizes were small (six people with neuromuscular conditions), the authors found no evidence of safety concerns. There was evidence of respiratory improvements and reported improvements in swallowing and speech. The most notable quality-of-life changes included improvements related to weakness, swallowing, relationships, and leisure. The participants shared that the program offered meaningful social connection and embodied skills and safe and pleasurable physical exertion. The authors learned that recreational singing and dancing programs could be a safe and deeply meaningful activity for those with neuromuscular conditions that impact respiration.
Minhyun Kim, José A. Santiago, Chan Woong Park, and Emily A. Roper
Grounded in occupational socialization theory, the authors examined adapted physical education (APE) teachers’ job satisfaction. Twelve (nine female and three male) APE teachers who had 3–43 years of teaching experience participated in the study. A semistructured interview was employed. The interviews focused on the participants’ roles and responsibilities. The following questions guided this study: (a) What social agents positively impact APE teachers’ job satisfaction? (b) what APE teachers’ roles and responsibilities are related to job satisfaction? and (c) what type of working conditions are linked to APE teachers’ job satisfaction? Thematic analysis was employed to analyze the data. The following four themes emerged from the analysis: (a) support from administrators, physical education teachers, and colleagues; (b) relevant and meaningful professional development; (c) itinerant working conditions; and (d) seeing students’ progress and achievement. The results of this study provide several implications to enhance APE teachers’ job satisfaction.
Alexandra M. Rodriguez, Alison Ede, Leilani Madrigal, Tiffanye Vargas, and Christy Greenleaf
This study aimed to assess the internalization of sociocultural attitudes and appearance comparison among U.S. athletes with physical disabilities. Female (n = 19) and male (n = 25) athletes between the ages of 18 and 73 years completed a quantitative survey along with two exploratory open-ended questions related to body appearance and influencers. Results showed significant correlations between internalization of the thin and low-body-fat ideal and appearance comparison (r = .55, p < .05) and internalization of the muscular ideal and appearance comparison (r = .76, p < .05) among women. For men, results showed a significant association between internalization of the muscular ideal and appearance comparison (r = .52, p < .05). The findings prompt further investigation of whether appearance comparison and internalization influence body dissatisfaction and disordered eating among athletes with physical disabilities.
Ghada Regaieg, Sonia Sahli, and Gilles Kermarrec
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two pedagogical strategies in adapted physical education (hybrid virtual/real vs. conventional) on fundamental movement skills (FMS) in children with intellectual disability age 7–10 years. Children with intellectual disability (N = 24) were randomly assigned to either the hybrid (experimental group) or the conventional (control group) group and were evaluated across 10 weeks. The hybrid program was based on virtual and real game situations, while the conventional program was based on adapted sports. FMS were evaluated using the Test of Gross Motor Development-2 at pre- and postprogram for both groups. Both programs significantly improve locomotor skills, with significantly better improvement in the experimental group. However, a significant improvement was observed only among the experimental group for object-control skills and gross motor quotient. Based on these results, a hybrid program may be considered for FMS improvement.