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Volume 40 (2023): Issue 3 (Jul 2023): Special Issue: Global Matrix of 2022 Para Report Cards on Physical Activity of Children and Adolescents With Disabilities

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Physical Activity Among Young Children With Disabilities: A Systematic Review

Leah G. Taylor, Leigh M. Vanderloo, Julia Yates, Rebecca L. Bassett-Gunter, Meagan Stanley, and Patricia Tucker

Physical activity (PA) in the early years is foundational for growth and development and associated with numerous health benefits. However, the prevalence of PA participation among the pediatric population with disabilities is less clear. This systematic review aimed to synthesize the existing literature on PA levels of young children (0–5.99 years) with disabilities. Empirical quantitative studies were collected from seven databases and reference hand searching; 21 studies were included in the review. PA levels varied widely based on disability type and measurement strategies, but overall, PA levels were low. Future research should address the underrepresentation of measurement and reporting of the PA levels of young children with disabilities.

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Transfer and Retention Effects of a Motor Program in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

Jin Bo, Bo Shen, YanLi Pang, Mingting Zhang, Yuan Xiang, Liangshan Dong, Yu Song, Patricia Lasutschinkow, Alina Dillahunt, and Dan Li

The current study examined the acquisition, retention, and transfer effects of a motor program. Children with autism spectrum disorder participated in a 9-week program that targeted 13 fundamental motor skills based upon the Test of Gross Motor Development-3. Assessments were conducted before and after the program, as well as at 2-month follow-up. Significant improvements were found on not only the trained fundamental motor skills (acquisition) but also the untrained tasks on balance (transfer). The follow-up tests revealed continuous improvement on the trained locomotor skills (retention), as well as the untrained skills on balance (retention + transfer). These findings highlight the importance of continuous support and long-term participation on motor practices.

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Inclusive Leisure: A Strengths-Based Approach, 1st ed.

Marissa Schulke

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Effects of Powerchair Football: Contextual Factors That Impact Participation

Aurelien Vandenbergue, J.P. Barfield, Said Ahmaidi, Stephanie Williams, and Thierry Weissland

The aim of this study was to identify contextual factors that negatively affect activity and participation among powerchair football (PF) players. Thirty-seven semistructured interviews were conducted with PF players (M age = 27.9 ± 8.2 years) in France (n = 18) and the United States (n = 19). Participants reported acute back and neck pain as the primary morbidities resulting from PF participation, with sustained atypical posture in the sport chair as the primary cause. Competition-related physical and mental stress were also identified as participation outcomes. Accompanying the many benefits of PF, participants recognized negative impacts of discomfort, physical fatigue, and mental fatigue. Interventions such as seating modifications, thermotherapy to combat pain, napping to combat acute physical stress, and mental preparation to manage state anxiety were all identified as prospective interventions.

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Sports Classification and Athletes With Intellectual Disabilities: Measuring Health Status Using a Questionnaire Based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health

Lorenna Tussis, Suzie Lemmey, and Jan Burns

Most people with intellectual disabilities have comorbid health conditions, which will impact optimization of sporting performance. Classification is used in Paralympic events to ensure that those with similar levels of functional ability compete fairly against each other. An evidence-based approach needs to be developed for athletes with intellectual disabilities to be classified in relation to their overall functional capacity into competition groups of similar ability. This research builds on previous work using the taxonomy of The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) to group athletes with intellectual disabilities into comparable competition groups as an approach to Paralympic classification. Three groups of athletes—Virtus, Special Olympics, and Down syndrome—are compared using the ICF questionnaire indicating functional health status in relation to sporting performance. The questionnaire was found to discriminate between athletes with Down syndrome and other athletes, and an approach to using a cutoff score to develop competition classes is explored.

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Seated-Shot-Put Equipment in Para Athletics—A Review and Presentation of Data From the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Connor J.M. Holdback, Rony Ibrahim, David S. Haydon, Ross A. Pinder, Paul N. Grimshaw, and Richard M. Kelso

This research provides a review of seated shot put alongside new data from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with the aim to understand the latest trends in equipment within a recently established rule set and how key equipment variables may impact performance for athletes in different classifications. First, a review of the literature found that the throwing pole is a key equipment aid that is not well understood, in part due to limitations in testing design. New data from the 2020 Paralympic Games showed inconsistent trends for the use of the throwing pole among athletes, particularly in transitionary classes (F33–34 and F54–55). A two-way analysis of variance found a main effect of classification on performance (p < .001), as well as an interaction effect between pole use and classification on performance (p < .05). Notably, pole users are seen to perform better than non–pole users in Class F32 (p < .05).

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A Qualitative Analysis of a Positive Elite Parasport Performance Culture

Athina Papailiou, Janine K. Coates, Carolyn R. Plateau, Hugh Gilmore, and Jamie B. Barker

Organizational culture in sports affects well-being, performance, and overall success. Although team culture has been explored within able-bodied teams, little is known about culture development within parasport. Using a descriptive case study approach, our study examined the culture development and experiences of an elite parasport team. Two semistructured individual telephone interviews were conducted with nine participants (athletes and staff), and one athlete-participant completed one interview. An inductive thematic analysis revealed two themes: approach to culture development and team culture components. Culture development was linked with facilitative leadership and important resources. This supported the team to create their shared values and mechanisms, including a behavioral framework, other artifacts (e.g., shared language and team motto), and a relaxed environment. These helped to maintain their agreed culture and benefited their well-being, progress, and team cohesion. Our results offer a starting point regarding research into the culture of elite parasport and have practical implications for managers, coaches, and psychologists.

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Disability, the Media, and the Paralympic Games, 1st ed.

Joshua R. Pate

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Parent Descriptions of the Active Play Behaviors of Their Twins and Triplets With Autism

Marie Abu Itham, Serene Kerpan, Robert Balogh, and Meghann Lloyd

Children with autism engage in active play in different ways than children who are neurotypical, but their active play behaviors are not well understood. Research with twins and triplets with autism offers a unique opportunity to gain a clear picture of the play behaviors of children with autism because twins and triplets share many similarities (age, access to toys, etc.). Through semistructured interviews, this descriptive phenomenological study aimed to describe the active play behaviors of 19 twins and triplets with autism from the perspective of their parents (N = 9). The interviews revealed two main themes: (a) parents’ descriptions of active play and (b) parents’ descriptions of social play. The results reveal the diverse active and social play behaviors of twins and triplets with autism; parents described their children’s play behavior when engaging in sensory, indoor, outdoor, and organized play. These results suggest that children with autism may be meeting the definition of active play in nontraditional ways.