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 Thematic analysis resulted in four developed themes (identified is outdated language): Inclusion—Is it a “we” or a “they?”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.
Roxy Helliker O’Rourke, Krystn Orr, Rebecca Renwick, F. Virginia Wright, James Noronha, Kirsten Bobbie, and Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos
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.
Yeshayahu Hutzler, Sharon Barak, Salomé Aubert, Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Riki Tesler, Cindy Sit, Diego Augusto Santos Silva, Piritta Asunta, Jurate Pozeriene, José Francisco López-Gil, and Kwok Ng
The purpose was to synthesize information gathered from the interpretation and conclusion sections of the Global Matrix of Para Report Cards on the physical activity of children and adolescents with disabilities. The synthesis was based on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats framework. The procedure consisted of three stages: (a) the application of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health as the theoretical framework; (b) identifying and aligning Global Matrix indicators and benchmarks with the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health components through a Delphi approach; and (c) using content analysis to identify themes from specific report cards. Outcomes reveal that further attention toward including children and adolescents with disabilities in fitness assessments is needed as well as adapted assessment methods. Program availability, equipment and facilities, and professional training emerged as strengths but need further development to overcome weaknesses. Paralympic inspiration was an opportunity, whereas extreme weather conditions presented potential threats to physical activity participation among children and adolescents with disabilities.
Paige Laxton, Freda Patterson, and Sean Healy
This systematic review of literature aimed to synthesize the multilevel factors related to physical activity (PA) among adults (age 18–65) with intellectual disability living in group homes. Keyword searches were used to identify articles from electronic databases, resulting in the inclusion of 10 articles for full-text review. Data were extracted relating to study and sample characteristics and study findings. Methodological quality of the studies was also evaluated. Factors related to PA in group homes were identified at all levels of the social–ecological model. Intrapersonal factors (e.g., health and functional status, attitude to PA), interpersonal factors (e.g., staff attitude, encouragement for PA, and coparticipation in PA), and organizational factors (e.g., program offerings, staff education, and staff–client ratios) were prominent findings in the reviewed studies. The findings support a social–ecological approach for PA promotion in group homes that target intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational factors.
Jacob Benzinger, Jeff R. Crane, Angela M. Coppola, and David J. Hancock
Schools can support physical education (PE) among students with mobility disabilities (SMDs). However, previous research has indicated that people and resources in the school environment have served as facilitators and barriers to engaging SMDs in PE. Thus, the purpose of this pragmatic, qualitative study was to explore physical educators’ perceptions and experiences of teaching SMDs to learn how to develop a PE environment supportive of SMDs. Eleven K-8 PE teachers who taught SMDs engaged in semistructured interviews. A thematic analysis revealed three themes describing facilitators and barriers of a supportive PE environment for SMDs: (a) teacher planning, (b) students in the PE environment, and (c) resources and support. These findings provide context to PE environments for SMDs and highlight a need for increased communication and collaboration with students with or without mobility disabilities, training or professional development for PE teachers to develop skills for adapted PE, and financial and personnel support.
Kevin Andrew Richards, Scott McNamara, Alyssa M. Trad, Lauren Hill, and Sarena Abdallah
School administrators represent key agents of socialization for teachers within their schools, including adapted physical educators who design and implement instruction for youth with disabilities, often across multiple school sites. The purpose of this study was to understand how adapted physical educators navigate and build relationships with administrators in the schools where they teach. Data were collected through semistructured interviews with 24 adapted physical educators from the U.S. state of California and analyzed using a multiphase approach. Analysis suggested both the importance of and challenges with building effective relationships with administrators. Themes included the following: (a) Administrators do not understand adapted physical education, which impacts programs and students; (b) the importance of relationship building in cultivating principal support; and (c) relationship development requires intentionality, but results in trust and motivation. Results are discussed using role socialization theory, and recommendations for the preparation of both adapted physical educators and school principals are discussed.
ZáNean McClain and Daniel W. Tindall
Justin A. Haegele
Nima Dehghansai, Alia Mazhar, Ross Pinder, Joseph Baker, and Ian Renshaw
The current study explored coach and athlete reactions and challenges leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, with a specific focus on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Games’ postponement. Nine Australian Paralympic coaches (n = 3) and athletes (n = 6) shared their experiences in semistructured interviews. The thematic analysis highlighted how participants experienced the emergence of the pandemic in different ways, but all were relieved when the late but eventual decision to postpone the Games was made. Regarding lockdown periods (i.e., social-distancing restrictions), some coaches and athletes thrived under the new reality (i.e., training from home, online coaching) while others had more difficulty adjusting. Furthermore, results highlight the many uncertainties still remaining, which continue to influence participants’ sport and personal lives. The experiences of coaches and athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic sheds light on strategies and resources that could support Paralympic coaches and athletes during current and future crises.