Motor skill deficits are present and persist in school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; Staples & Reid, 2010). Yet the focus of intervention is on core impairments, which are part of the diagnostic criteria for ASD, deficits in social communication skills. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the functional motor skills, of 6- to 15-year-old children with high-functioning ASD, predict success in standardized social communicative skills. It is hypothesized that children with better motor skills will have better social communicative skills. A total of 35 children with ASD between the ages of 6–15 years participated in this study. The univariate GLM (general linear model) tested the relationship of motor skills on social communicative skills holding constant age, IQ, ethnicity, gender, and clinical ASD diagnosis. Object-control motor skills significantly predicted calibrated ASD severity (p < .05). Children with weaker motor skills have greater social communicative skill deficits. How this relationship exists behaviorally, needs to be explored further.
Megan MacDonald, Catherine Lord, and Dale A. Ulrich
Jooyeon Jin and Joonkoo Yun
The purpose of this study was to examine three frameworks, (a) process-product, (b) student mediation, and (c) classroom ecology, to understand physical activity (PA) behavior of adolescents with and without disabilities in middle school inclusive physical education (PE). A total of 13 physical educators teaching inclusive PE and their 503 students, including 22 students with different disabilities, participated in this study. A series of multilevel regression analyses indicated that physical educators’ teaching behavior and students’ implementation intentions play important roles in promoting the students’ PA in middle school inclusive PE settings when gender, disability, lesson content, instructional model, and class location are considered simultaneously. The findings suggest that the ecological framework should be considered to effectively promote PA of adolescents with and without disabilities in middle school PE classes.
Paddy C. Favazza, Gary N. Siperstein, Susan A. Zeisel, Samuel L. Odom, John H. Sideris, and Andrew L. Moskowitz
This study examined the effectiveness of the Young Athletes program to promote motor development in preschool-aged children with disabilities. In the study, 233 children were randomly assigned to a control group or the Young Athletes (YA) intervention group which consisted of 24 motor skill lessons delivered 3 times per week for 8 weeks. Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) showed that children who participated in the YA intervention exhibited mean gains of 7–9 months on the Peabody Developmental Motor Subscales (PDMS) compared with mean gains of 3–5 months for the control group. Children in the YA intervention also exhibited significant gains on the gross motor subscale of the Vineland Teacher Rating Form (VTRF). Teachers and parents reported benefits for children not only in specific motor skills, but also kindergarten readiness skills and social/play skills. The necessity for direct and intentional instruction of motor skills, as well as the challenges of involving families in the YA program, are discussed.
Rebecca R. Bryan, Jeffrey A. McCubbin, and Hans van der Mars
The use of paraeducators has increased as a main mechanism to include more students with disabilities in the public schools in the U.S. Although the utilization of paraeducators is intended to be a supportive service delivery option, many concerns and challenges have resulted. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of the paraeducator in the general physical education environment from the perspectives of special education, physical education, and adapted physical education teachers and paraeducators. Data were collected from a phenomenological approach using questionnaires, interviews, and observations. Results indicate concerns about the clarity of the role of the paraeducator in physical education. Emerging themes include elastic definitions of student protection and teacher backup, contradictory expectations and mixed acceptance, and paraeducators’ role ambiguity. Findings regarding the role of the paraeducator are essential in determining both best practice and legal policy for the appropriate utilization of paraeducators in physical education.
Martin E. Block, Yeshayahu Hutzler, Sharon Barak, and Aija Klavina
The purpose was to validate a self-efficacy (SE) instrument toward including students with disability in physical education (PE). Three scales referring to intellectual disabilities (ID), physical disabilities (PD), or visual impairments (VI) were administered to 486 physical education teacher education (PETE) majors. The sample was randomly split, and exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses (EFA and CFA, respectively) were conducted. After deleting items that did not meet inclusion criteria, EFA item loadings ranged from 0.53 to 0.91, and Cronbach’s alpha reliability was high (for ID = .86, PD = .90, and VI = .92). CFA showed that the ID scale demonstrated good goodness-of-fit, whereas in the PD and in the VI scales demonstrated moderate fit. Thus, the content and construct validity of the instrument was supported.
Kevin Casebolt, ZáNean McClain, Dallas J. Jackson, and Phil Esposito
Jihoun An and Samuel R. Hodge
The purpose of this phenomenological inquiry was to explore the experiences and meaning of parental involvement in physical education from the perspectives of the parents of students with developmental disabilities. The stories of four mothers of elementary aged children (3 boys, 1 girl), two mothers and one couple (mother and father) of secondary-aged youth (1 girl, 2 boys) with developmental disabilities, were gathered by using interviews, photographs, school documents, and the researcher’s journal. Bronfenbrenner’s (2005) ecological system theory provided a conceptual framework to interpret the findings of this inquiry. Three themes emerged from thematic analysis: being an advocate for my child, understanding the big picture, and collaborative partnerships undeveloped in GPE. The findings lend additional support to the need for establishing collaborative partnerships in physical education between home and school environments (An & Goodwin, 2007; Tekin, 2011).
Carlos M. Cervantes and David L. Porretta
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of an after school physical activity intervention on adolescents with visual impairments within the context of Social Cognitive Theory. Four adolescents with visual impairments (1 female, 3 males) between 14 and 19 years of age from a residential school for the blind served as participants. We used a range-bound changing criterion single-subject design. Physical activity was measured using ActiGraph accelerometers. Questionnaires were used to obtain information on selected social cognitive theory constructs. Results show that the intervention exerted functional control over the target behaviors (e.g., leisure-time physical activity) during intervention phases. Similarly, changes in scores for selected social cognitive constructs, in particular for outcome expectancy value, suggest a positive relationship between those constructs and physical activity behavior. No maintenance effects were observed.