Early motor skill interventions have been shown to improve the motor skill proficiency of children with autism spectrum disorder; however, little is known about the secondary effects associated with these types of interventions (e.g., influence on behavior, social skills, family dynamics). The purpose of this qualitative study was to (a) investigate parents’ perceptions of the child-level benefits associated with a fundamental motor skill intervention for their 4-year-olds with autism spectrum disorder and (b) explore how child-level benefits influenced the family unit. Eight parents (N = 8) were interviewed (semistructured) about their experiences with the intervention for their child(ren); the study was grounded in phenomenology. Five main child-level benefits emerged, including improvements with (a) motor skills, (b) social skills, (c) listening skills, (d) turn-taking skills, and (e) transition skills. The child-level benefits then extended to family members in a number of ways (e.g., more positive sibling interactions). These findings highlight several important secondary effects that should be investigated in future research.
Leanne K. Elliott, Jonathan A. Weiss, and Meghann Lloyd
Samantha M. Ross, Ellen Smit, Joonkoo Yun, Kathleen R. Bogart, Bridget E. Hatfield, and Samuel W. Logan
A secondary data analysis of 33,093 children and adolescents age 6–17 years (12% with disabilities) from a 2016–2017 National Survey of Children’s Health nonrepresentative sample aimed to identify (a) unique clusters of sociodemographic characteristics and (b) the relative importance of disability status in predicting participation in daily physical activity (PA) and sports. Exploratory classification tree analyses identified hierarchical predictors of daily PA and sport participation separately. Disability status was not a primary predictor of daily PA. Instead, it emerged in the fifth level after age, sex, body mass index, and income, highlighting the dynamic intersection of disability with sociodemographic factors influencing PA levels. In comparison, disability status was a second-level predictor for sport participation, suggesting that unique factors influencing PA level are likely experienced by disabled children and adolescents. The authors employ an intersectionality lens to critically discuss implications for research in adapted PA.
Chantelle Zimmer and Janice Causgrove Dunn
Teachers can create supportive conditions in physical education to mitigate experiences of stress for children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD); however, most are unfamiliar with DCD and lack adequate training to instruct children with impairments. The purpose of this study was to explore teachers’ perceptions of and interactions in physical education with children thought to demonstrate functional difficulties associated with DCD. A semistructured interview was conducted with 12 teachers across all elementary years with diverse backgrounds and thematically analyzed. Four themes were produced. Teachers (a) had differing views on the etiology of children’s movement difficulties, though (b) all recognized a range of difficulties children demonstrated. They (c) believed it was their role to facilitate positive experiences for these children in physical education but (d) experienced challenges in doing so. Training that increases teachers’ knowledge of and abilities to address the needs of children thought to have DCD is warranted.
Stamatis Agiovlasitis, Jooyeon Jin, and Joonkoo Yun
The authors examined if body mass index (BMI), weight, and height across age groups differ between adults with Down syndrome (DS) and adults with intellectual disability but without DS. They conducted secondary analyses of cross-sectional data from 45,803 individuals from the United States from 2009 to 2014 of the National Core Indicators Adult Consumer Survey across five age groups: 18–29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–59, and 60+ years. For both men and women with DS, BMI and weight increased between the 18- to 29- and the 30- to 39-year age groups and decreased thereafter. For both men and women with intellectual disability, BMI and weight increased between the 18- to 29- and the 30- to 39-year age groups, stayed about the same until the 50- to 59-year age group, and decreased thereafter. Height demonstrated a small but significant decrease with older age in all groups. These cross-sectional comparisons indicate that BMI and weight may start decreasing at a younger age in adults with DS than in adults with intellectual disability.
Teri A. Todd, Keely Ahrold, Danielle N. Jarvis, and Melissa A. Mache
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) typically demonstrate deficits in gross motor skills such as the overhand throw. It has not been determined whether such deficits persist into adulthood. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the kinematics and developmental level of overhand throws among young adults with and without ASD. Three-dimensional motion-capture data were collected during overhand throwing trials performed by 20 college students (10 students with ASD). Individuals with ASD demonstrated similar throw duration, stride length, and step width but a longer acceleration phase and slower ball velocity than individuals without ASD. Young adults with ASD also performed the overhand throw with less developmental proficiency than those without ASD. Specifically, individuals with ASD exhibited developmental deficits in the backswing and composite throwing score. Motor skill interventions for individuals with ASD should address throwing skills, with a particular focus on the preparatory phase of the overhand throw.
Kerri L. Staples, E. Andrew Pitchford, and Dale A. Ulrich
The Test of Gross Motor Development is among the most commonly used measures of gross motor competency in children. An important attribute of any developmental assessment is its sensitivity to detect change. The purpose of this study was to examine the instructional sensitivity of the Test of Gross Motor Development—third edition (TGMD-3) performance criteria to changes in performance for 48 children (age 4–7 years) with and without Down syndrome following 10 weeks of physical education. Paired t tests identified significant improvements for all children on locomotor (p < .01) and ball skills (p < .01). These significant differences were associated with moderate to large effect sizes. SEM was low relative to the maximum raw score for each subtest, indicating high confidence in the scores. These findings provide evidence that the TGMD-3 is sensitive to change in performance for children with and without Down syndrome.
Marte Bentzen, Danielle Alexander, Gordon A. Bloom, and Göran Kenttä
The purpose of this scoping review was to provide a broad overview of the literature pertaining to parasport coaches, including information regarding the size and scope of research, the populations and perspectives obtained, and the type of methods used to conduct the research. Data were collected and analyzed using a six-stage framework for conducting scoping reviews. The results revealed that the majority of articles were based on interviews, and an overwhelming majority of the participants were men coaching at the high-performance level in North America. Three of the most frequent topics were becoming a parasport coach, being a parasport coach, and having general parasport coaching knowledge. Articles ranged in date from 1991 to 2018, with 70% of empirical articles published from 2014 onward, indicating an emerging interest in this field of research. This review has the potential to advance the science and practice of parasport coaching at all levels.
Andrew M. Colombo-Dougovito and Jihyun Lee
Researchers posit that physical activity (PA) settings may provide an increased opportunity for social interaction. However, little consensus exists regarding the construct of social skills. Moreover, little is known about what type or amount of PA is necessary for individuals on the autism spectrum to benefit from this increased interaction. Thus, this scoping review synthesized the components (e.g., design, participants, independent and dependent variables, etc.) and findings of PA-based interventions that included social skill components to identify how interventions have incorporated these skills in different settings. Based on a review of 25 articles, this review revealed a great deal of variability in the types of PA, social skills, and instruments studied, as well as the intensity of intervention delivery in the published findings. No longitudinal studies were identified as a part of the search. These results provide a foundation for the design of effective PA-based interventions that may have an increased impact on the social skills of individuals on the autism spectrum. Future research should employ longitudinal designs to capture the relationship between social skills and PA, as well as to increase the likelihood of capturing change.