This study examined para swimmers’ athlete development experiences from the perspectives and reflections of athletes, and parents of athletes, with a focus on the constraints and challenges experienced. Guided by interpretive phenomenological analysis, 12 participants engaged in the interview process (seven parents and five athletes). Five themes were identified: fundamental skill development, personal connection, coaching, classification, and connecting with others “like me.” Through a discussion of the differences in development experiences between the participants in this study and the current literature on athlete development, the authors highlight areas of concern in applying a non-para-specific athlete development model to para swimmers. This study identifies several areas of consideration in the future design of a para athlete development framework or model.
Darda Sales and Laura Misener
Jacqueline Martins Patatas, Jens De Rycke, Veerle De Bosscher, and Rafael Lima Kons
The literature suggests that the current athlete development models do not reflect the multifaceted developmental pathways in Paralympic sport. This study aimed to analyze how parasport athletes progress through developmental phases of an athletic career pathway by comparing differences in their trajectories based on the nature of the impairment (acquired or congenital), age, and sex. A total of 345 para-athletes representing 15 sports completed an online survey. Results showed that the developmental phases for athletes with acquired impairment are of shorter duration, taking 4.5 years to progress from the attraction to the elite phase, while athletes with congenital impairment take 6 years. Athletes with congenital impairment start in parasport approximately 8 years younger and win medals in international competitions 7 years earlier than athletes with acquired impairment. Insights gathered in this study have the potential to enhance further thinking toward the genesis of specific models of para-athlete development.
Jeffrey J. Martin, Erin E. Snapp, E. Whitney G. Moore, Lauren J. Lieberman, Ellen Armstrong, and Staci Mannella
Youth with visual impairments (VIs) often experience unique barriers to physical activity compared with their sighted peers. A psychometrically sound scale for assessing barriers to physical activity for youth with VI is needed to facilitate research. The purpose of this study was to confirm the ability of the previously identified three-factor structure of the Physical Activity Barriers Questionnaire for youth with Visual Impairments (PABQ-VI) to produce scores considered to be valid and reliable that perform equally well across age, VI severity, and gender. Our results supported the three-factor structure and that the PABQ-VI produces scores considered valid and reliable. Mean, variance, and correlation differences were found in personal, social, and environmental barriers for age and VI severity, but not gender. Researchers can use the PABQ-VI to test and evaluate ways to reduce barriers for this population.
Oğuz K. Esentürk and Erkan Yarımkaya
The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and potential efficacy of a WhatsApp-based physical activity for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Fourteen parents and their children with ASD participated in the study. The intervention included parents conducting physical activities with their children with ASD for 4 weeks. Physical activity contents were provided to parents via the WhatsApp group. The data were collected through the Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire and a feasibility questionnaire adapted from previous studies examining the feasibility of web-based physical activities. Parents reported that WhatsApp-based physical activities were a feasible intervention to increase the physical activity level of their children with ASD and stated that the contents of the physical activity shared in the WhatsApp group were useful. The findings provided preliminary evidence for the use of WhatsApp-based physical activities to increase the physical activity level of children with ASD who stay at home due to the pandemic.
ZáNean McClain, Jill Pawlowski, and Daniel W. Tindall
Samantha M. Ross, Kathleen McCarty, Bridgette M. Schram, and Layne Case
Kyle Pushkarenko, Janice Causgrove Dunn, and Donna L. Goodwin
Countering the declining physical activity patterns of children labeled with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has gained considerable research attention given its impact on health and quality of life. The purpose of this study was to explore how parents of children labeled with ASD understand the concept of physical literacy, based on their children’s participation in community-based physical activity programs. Using interpretive phenomenological analysis, six mothers of children labeled with ASD participated in one-on-one semistructured interviews. The conceptual framework of ecological systems theory supported the rationale for the study purpose, provided structure for the interview guide, and offered a reflexive context for interpretation. Four themes were generated from the thematic analysis: From embodied movement to normative skill expectations, Be flexible, not rigid, Systematic exclusion, and Valuable? . . . Absolutely! Despite experiences of marginalization, exclusion, and trauma within physical activity programs, mothers valued physical literacy development for their children given the positive outcomes of increasing family connections, engagement with peers, and enhanced wellness.
Amanda Young, Seán Healy, Lisa Silliman-French, and Ali Brian
To inform the development of scalable and sustainable fundamental motor skill interventions for children with Down syndrome, this study examined the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of Project Skill Intervention Implemented by Parents (Project SKIP), a web-based, parent-mediated intervention intended to improve ball skills among children with Down syndrome. Twenty-four families enrolled in the study (including 13 boys and 11 girls; M age = 4.92). Fourteen children were assigned to an experimental group and participated in the 6-week intervention, and 10 children served as the inactive comparison group. The Test of Gross Motor Development-3 was administered preintervention and postintervention. In addition, parents of children in the experimental group completed a postintervention survey to assess their perceptions of Project SKIP. Following the intervention, there was a significant improvement in ball skills (p = .023, d = 0.86) for children in the experimental group, whereas the comparison group did not show significant improvement. Moreover, parents perceived Project SKIP to be feasible and effective; all parents reported being satisfied with their overall experience in the program, and 11 parents indicated that their child’s fundamental motor skills were positively influenced by the intervention. Engagement was high, with the majority of parents (n = 8, 57%) interacting with Project SKIP content three to four times a week.
Iva Obrusnikova, Albert R. Cavalier, Richard R. Suminski, Ashleigh E. Blair, Cora J. Firkin, and Ashley M. Steinbrecher
Adults with an intellectual disability have significantly lower levels of fitness compared with the general population. This study examined the effects of a 13-week theoretically guided, community-based, multicomponent resistance training intervention, resistance training for empowerment, on muscular strength and independent functional performance in 24 adults with an intellectual disability, aged 18–44 years. Twelve participants were randomly allocated to an experimental group and 12 to an active control group. An analysis of covariance revealed that the experimental group had significantly greater increases (p < .05) on the chest press and leg press one-repetition maximum tests and the 6-min walk test from the baseline to postintervention compared with the control group. The experimental group correctly and independently performed a significantly greater number of steps of resistance training exercise tasks than the control group. Marginal significance and large effect sizes were found for the prone plank test and the stair climb test. The resistance training for empowerment was effective in promoting muscular strength and independent functional performance among adults with an intellectual disability.