The COVID-19 pandemic is a worldwide crisis. It has been, and is, an extreme challenge for our health care and prevention systems, and for society as a whole. Among many facets of life, physical activity and sport has been heavily impacted. The aim of this viewpoint article is to highlight the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals with an intellectual disability, with a particular focus on physical activity and Special Olympics. Specific objectives are (a) to share what the literature reveals about the impact of COVID-19 on the health and well-being of individuals with an intellectual disability, (b) to examine what is known about the impact of the pandemic on physical activity of individuals with an intellectual disability, (c) to describe Special Olympics program responses during the pandemic, and (d) to recommend areas for future research.
Sindhu Shanker and Balaram Pradhan
Yoga as a movement-based intervention is increasingly considered to improve the motor skills of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, there is little evidence of the effect of yoga on their motor skills. The current study aims to explore the effect of group yoga program on motor proficiency of children with ASD and feasibility of its inclusion in special schools. Forty-three children with ASD from four special schools were randomized into yoga (n = 23) and control (n = 20) group. A structured yoga program of 45 min for 12 weeks was delivered by trained yoga teachers who also tracked their daily responses. The Bruininks–Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency. Second Edition was used to assess both the groups pre- and postintervention. In conclusion, the study highlighted that yoga appears to have a positive impact on the gross motor rather than fine motor proficiency of children with ASD and is feasible to be delivered as group intervention in special schools.
Jaehun Jung, Layne Case, Samuel W. Logan, and Joonkoo Yun
The purposes of this study were (a) to investigate the prevalence of physical educators who report delivering high-quality instructional practices to students with disabilities and (b) to examine the relationships between teachers’ qualifications and the delivery of high-quality instructional practices. A secondary analysis using data from the School Health Policy and Practice Study 2014 data set was employed. The analytic sample included 256 physical educators who taught students with disabilities. Prevalence estimates of physical educators who reported using high-quality instructional practices were calculated. Two separate binary logistic regressions using weighted data were conducted to evaluate the relative contribution of (a) teacher qualifications and (b) educational degrees in accounting for differences in the use of high-quality instructional practices. Less than half of the sample reported using high-quality instructional practices. Considering the increasing prevalence of students with disabilities in general education classrooms, teacher education programs should prioritize providing teacher candidates with coursework that aligns with the expectations of physical educators who teach students with disabilities.
ZáNean McClain, Kip Webster, Daniel W. Tindall, and Jill Anderson
Sally Taunton Miedema, Ali Brian, Adam Pennell, Lauren Lieberman, Larissa True, Collin Webster, and David Stodden
Many interventions feature a singular component approach to targeting children’s motor competency and proficiency. Yet, little is known about the use of integrative interventions to meet the complex developmental needs of children aged 3–6 years. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an integrative universally designed intervention on children with and without disabilities’ motor competency and proficiency. We selected children (N = 111; disability = 24; no disability = 87) to participate in either a school-based integrative motor intervention (n = 53) or a control condition (n = 58). Children in the integrative motor intervention both with and without disabilities showed significant improvement in motor competency and proficiency (p < .001) as compared with peers with and without disabilities in a control condition. Early childhood center directors (e.g., preschool and kindergarten) should consider implementing integrative universally designed interventions targeting multiple aspects of motor development to remediate delays in children with and without disabilities.
Nima Dehghansai, Ross A. Pinder, and Joseph Baker
This three-part investigation conducted a comprehensive analysis of 213 Australian and Canadian athletes’ developmental trajectories, training histories, and experiences in organized sports from 18 Paralympic sports (PS). While athletes with early-onset impairments (i.e., congenital, preadolescent) reached milestones and commenced various types of training at a significantly younger age than athletes with later-onset impairments (i.e., early adulthood, adulthood), the latter groups progressed through their careers and incorporated various trainings at a faster pace (i.e., fewer years). Preferences to certain training conditions varied between groups. Eighty-two percent of the athletes with acquired impairments had experience in able-bodied sports before the onset of their impairment, with 70% noting involvement in sports similar to their current PS. The participation rates (38%) and sport similarity (53%) were lower in PS. The amalgamation of findings from this series of studies highlights the complexity associated with PS athletes’ development and demonstrates the importance of taking an individualized approach.
Andreia Bauermann, Karina S.G. de Sá, Zilda A. Santos, and Anselmo A. Costa e Silva
This systematic review aimed to identify nutritional interventions and supplements that improve the performance for wheelchair athletes. Intervention trials involving high-performance wheelchair athletes were analyzed, including those that comprised a nutritional intervention, defined as any intervention related to food, beverages, and supplementation aiming at evaluating the performance of wheelchair athletes. Of the included studies, four evaluated caffeine supplementation, of which one also evaluated sodium citrate supplementation; two studies evaluated vitamin D supplementation; one study assessed creatine monohydrate supplementation; and one assessed carbohydrate supplementation. Most studies were conducted on athletes with spinal cord injury. Athletes who consumed caffeine exhibited an improvement in performance, but this finding is not strong enough to become a recommendation.
J.P. Barfield, Stephanie Williams, Madison R. Currie, and Xiuyan Guo
The purpose of this study was to initiate the development of an evidence-based sport classification system for powerchair football, a sport that serves athletes with physical impairments. Sport classification is designed to increase participation by minimizing the impact of impairment on competition outcome, and powerchair football lacks an evidence-based system of classification which is required of Paralympic sports. A number of approaches were used to build the theoretical model of sport performance (Step 2 of the International Paralympic Committee model). Key sport activities were identified through surveys of stakeholders and underlying determinants of those key activities were identified through game and database analyses. Current findings support drive control, ball control, communication, and adjustment to the ball as key activities in powerchair football with joint-specific strength and range of motion, sensory, and neurological variables identified as underlying determinants.
Anna Carin Aho, Elisabeth Renmarker, Malin Axelsson, and Jenny Jakobsson
Volt hockey is a team sport developed for persons with physical disabilities, but its influence on well-being is unknown. Elements of well-being have been described as positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and achievement constituting a theoretical framework referred to as PERMA. The purpose of this study was to describe how well-being according to PERMA is reflected in the experiences of playing volt hockey. Data were collected through focus group and individual interviews including 21 players. A deductive analysis was conducted using the elements in PERMA as preexisting main categories with an additional main category, named resources needed. Findings showed that all five elements constituting well-being according to PERMA were reflected in the experiences of playing volt hockey. In addition, players emphasized the importance of having the resources needed to play volt hockey. In conclusion, having the opportunity to enjoy playing volt hockey enabled the players to flourish and experience feelings of subjective well-being.