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Rebecca Bassett-Gunter, Jennifer Tomasone, Amy Latimer-Cheung, Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Katerina Disimino, Victoria Larocca, Lauren Tristani, Kathleen Martin Ginis, Jennifer Leo, Leigh Vanderloo, Dave Sora, and Archie Allison

Parents of children and youth with disabilities (CYD) have expressed unique physical activity (PA) information needs. Community-based organizations (CBOs) require assistance to meet these needs. Guided by the Appraisal of Guidelines, Research and Evaluation II, this project established evidence-informed recommendations for developing PA information targeting families of CYD. This process involved a systematic scoping review to inform draft recommendations (k = 23), which were revised via a consensus meeting with researchers, knowledge users from CBOs, and families of CYD. Broader consultation with CBO knowledge users informed the final recommendations (k = 5) that fit within the following categories: (a) language and definitions, (b) program information, (c) benefits of PA, (d) barriers to PA, and (e) PA ideas and self-regulation tools. CBOs are encouraged to consider these recommendations when developing PA information for families of CYD. Future research will focus on the development of knowledge products to disseminate the recommendations to CBOs and support implementation.

Free access

Kwok Ng, Cindy Sit, Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Salomé Aubert, Heidi Stanish, Yeshayahu Hutzler, Diego Augusto Santos Silva, Mary-Grace Kang, José Francisco López-Gil, Eun-Young Lee, Piritta Asunta, Jurate Pozeriene, Piotr Kazimierz Urbański, Nicolas Aguilar-Farias, and John J. Reilly

This is an overview of the results from 14 countries or jurisdictions in a Global Matrix of Para Report Cards on physical activity (PA) of children and adolescents with disabilities. The methodology was based on the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance’s Global Matrix 4.0. Data were aligned with 10 indicators (Overall PA, Organized Sport, Active Play, Active Transport, Physical Fitness, Sedentary Behavior, Family & Peers, Schools, Community & Environment, and Government) to produce Para Report Cards. Subsequently, there were 139 grades; 45% were incomplete, particularly for Active Play, Physical Fitness, and Family & Peers. Collectively, Overall PA was graded the lowest (F), with Schools and Government the highest (C). Disability-specific surveillance and research gaps in PA were apparent in 14 countries or jurisdictions around the world. More coverage of PA data in Para Report Cards is needed to serve as an advocacy tool to promote PA among children and adolescents with disabilities.

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Christina Esmann Fonvig, Jens Troelsen, Jan Christian Brønd, Sören Möller, and Anders Holsgaard-Larsen

Children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP) show a reduced physical activity (PA) level compared with their typically developed peers. This study aimed to identify potential predictors of objectively evaluated habitual PA using data from a national clinical registry—the Cerebral Palsy Follow-Up Program (CPFP)—and proxy-reported questionnaires. Data from the CPFP database showed that female sex was associated with a lower PA level. Additional questionnaire data revealed age, popliteal angle limitation, Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument–Sports and Physical Functioning Scale score, screen time, Functional Mobility Scale score at 50 m, and fatigue as predictors. The proposed models can be used for the prediction and early detection of the PA level and consequently for the potential improvement among ambulant/semiambulant individuals with CP. Further research should investigate the predictive impact of personal, social, and environmental factors on the PA level and the gap in PA levels between girls and boys.

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Xiaoxia Zhang, Zackary G. Kern, and Joonkoo Yun

This study aimed to examine physical activity (PA) levels and mental health status (i.e., anxiety and depression) among parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Secondary data analysis was conducted using the 2018 National Health Interview Survey. We identified 139 parents of children with ASD and 4,470 parents of children with no disability. Their PA levels, anxiety, and depression were analyzed. Compared with parents of children with no disability, parents of children with ASD were significantly less likely to meet the PA guideline for Americans and had lower odds of vigorous PA (aOR = 0.702), strengthening PA (aOR = 0.885), and light to moderate PA (aOR = 0.994). Parents of children with ASD reported significantly higher odds of anxiety (aOR = 1.559) and depression (aOR = 1.885). This study revealed lower PA levels and higher risks of anxiety and depression in parents of children with ASD.

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Adam S. Forbes and Joonkoo Yun

Visual supports have been advocated as one strategy to teach children with autism in physical education. However, empirical studies documented inconsistencies in their effectiveness, with some demonstrating positive effects while others reported limited support for their use. Without a clear synthesis of information, physical educators may have difficulties in identifying and meaningfully utilizing visual supports. A systematic literature review on visual supports was conducted with synthesized current literature for physical educators to make informed decisions regarding their use for children with autism in physical education. A total of 27 articles were reviewed, which included empirical- and narrative-based manuscripts. Results suggest that picture task cards, visual activity schedules, and video prompting can be potential strategies that physical educators can use to teach motor skills to children on the spectrum. However, video modeling may need to be further investigated to fully understand how to use it in the context of physical education.

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Roxy Helliker O’Rourke, Krystn Orr, Rebecca Renwick, F. Virginia Wright, James Noronha, Kirsten Bobbie, and Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos

School sports programs intentionally created for students with and without disabilities may increase social participation of students with intellectual disabilities (IDs). Special Olympics Unified Sports is one program where students with and without ID participate on one team. Guided by a critical realist paradigm, this study explored the perceptions of students with and without ID and coaches of in-school Unified Sports. Interviews were conducted with 21 youths (12 with ID) and 14 coaches. Thematic analysis resulted in four developed themes (identified is outdated language): Inclusion—Is it aweor a “they?” Roles and Responsibilities, Educational Context for Inclusion, and Buy-In. Findings suggest students with and without ID and coaches value the inclusive nature of Unified Sports. Future research should explore training for coaches on inclusive practices (e.g., language), and optimal methods for consistent training (e.g., use of training manuals) to foster the philosophy of inclusion within school sports.

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Sana Affes, Rihab Borji, Nidhal Zarrouk, Thouraya Fendri, Sonia Sahli, and Haithem Rebai

This study explored the acute effects of different running intensities on cognitive and motor performances in individuals with intellectual disability (ID). An ID group (age, M = 15.25 years, SD = 2.76) and a control group without ID (age, M = 15.11 years, SD = 1.54) performed visual simple and choice reaction times, auditory simple reaction time, and finger tapping tests before and after running at low or moderate intensity (30% and 60% of heart rate reserve [HRR], respectively). Visual simple reaction time values decreased (p < .001) after both intensities at all time points with higher (p = .007) extend after the 60% HRR intensity for both groups. After both intensities, the VCRT decreased (p < .001) in the ID group at all time points compared with preexercise (Pre-EX) while, in the control group, these values decreased (p < .001) only immediately (IM-EX) and after 10 min (Post-10) of exercise cessation. Compared withs Pre-EX, in the ID group, the auditory simple reaction time values decreased (p < .001) at all time points after the 30% HHR intensity whereas, after the 60% HRR, these values decreased only at IM-EX (p < .001), Post-10 (p = .001) and Post-20 (p < .001). In the control group, auditory simple reaction time values decreased (p = .002) only after the 30% HRR intensity at IM-EX. The finger tapping test increased at IM-EX (p < .001) and at Post-20 (p = .001) compared to Pre-EX in both groups only after the 30% HHR intensity and for the dominant hand. The effect of physical exercise on cognitive performances in individuals with ID seems to depend on the cognitive test type as well as the exercise intensity.

Free access

Jurate Pozeriene, Arūnas Emeljanovas, Vida Ostaseviciene, Kestutis Skucas, Kristina Bradauskiene, Renatas Mizeras, Ausrine Packeviciute, Kristina Venckuniene, Vaida Pokvytyte, Diana Reklaitiene, and Kwok Ng

Despite the recognized benefits of physical activity (PA) for children and adolescents with disabilities (CAWD), collective information on this is lacking in Lithuania. The purpose of this study was to investigate the current “state of the nation” PA levels of CAWD, based on the 10 indicators from the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance Global Matrix 4.0 methodology. Scientific articles, practical reports, and published theses related to the 10 indicators from the Global Matrix 4.0 on CAWD age 6–19 years were reviewed, and data were converted to grades from A to F. (A) Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis was carried out to interpret the grades by four experts. Data on organized sport participation (F), school (D), community & environment (D), and government (C) were available. Data on other indicators are largely missing yet are needed for policymakers and researchers to be aware of the current state of PA among CAWD.