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.
ZáNean McClain, Daniel W. Tindall, and Jill Pawlowski
E. Andrew Pitchford and E. Kipling Webster
The Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD) measures fundamental motor skills competency and is frequently used for eligibility determination of adapted physical education services in children with disabilities. The purpose of this study was to determine if the TGMD-3 is clinically sensitive to detect deficits in the fundamental motor skills of children with disabilities (i.e., intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, language and articulation disorders). Eighty-five children with disabilities and 85 matched controls (i.e., typically developing, individually matched on age, sex, ethnicity, and race) completed the TGMD-3. Mann–Whitney U tests identified significant differences in the total TGMD-3 scores for children with intellectual disability (p < .001), autism spectrum disorder (p < .001), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (p = .032). No differences were identified for children with language and articulation disorders. Comparisons of subscales (i.e., locomotor and ball skills) differed across disability groups. This study provides evidence that the TGMD-3 is clinically sensitive to identify deficits in fundamental motor skills competency.
Celina H. Shirazipour and Amy E. Latimer-Cheung
A gap in knowledge exists regarding how to maintain physical activity (PA) for individuals with acquired disabilities following initial introductory experiences. The current study aimed to contribute to filling this gap by exploring the PA pathways of military veterans with a physical disability, particularly those who maintain long-term PA, from impairment to the present. Veterans with a physical disability (N = 18) participated in interviews exploring their PA history and experiences. A reflexive thematic analysis was conducted to generate common pathways in PA participation, as well as to examine which elements of participation supported PA maintenance. Three long-term pathways were identified—two parasport pathways and one recreational PA pathway. Four elements of participation (i.e., mastery, challenge, belongingness, meaning) supported to maintain PA at key junctures. This knowledge provides further understanding of how to promote long-term PA for individuals with acquired disabilities and can support advancements in theory, as well as program development.
Michele Verdonck, Jacquie Ripat, Peita-Maree Clark, Florin Oprescu, Marion Gray, Lisa Chaffey, and Bridie Kean
Wheelchair basketball (WCBB) often includes reverse integration (RI), defined as the inclusion of athletes without impairment in a sport traditionally aimed at athletes with an impairment. This study explored how RI in WCBB was understood by internal stakeholders. Data were gathered from athletes, coaches, and administrators at an Australian club competition and at a Canadian elite training center. Analysis of semistructured interviews with 29 participants led to the identification of eight themes. Collectively, the findings showed that RI was embedded within WCBB, RI was considered to be a way to advance the growth and improve the quality of WCBB as well as a way to increase awareness of WCBB and disability. There were some concerns that RI may not be equitable, as WCBB is a “disability sport.” Stakeholders’ perspectives on RI could provide useful information for sport policymakers, managers, administrators, sports organizations, and athletes interested in further developing WCBB.
Rafael E.A. Muchaxo, Sonja de Groot, Lucas H.V. van der Woude, Thomas W.J. Janssen, and Carla Nooijen
The classification system for handcycling groups athletes into five hierarchical classes, based on how much their impairment affects performance. Athletes in class H5, with the least impairments, compete in a kneeling position, while athletes in classes H1 to H4 compete in a recumbent position. This study investigated the average time-trial velocity of athletes in different classes. A total of 1,807 results from 353 athletes who competed at 20 international competitions (2014–2018) were analyzed. Multilevel regression was performed to analyze differences in average velocities between adjacent pairs of classes, while correcting for gender, age, and event distance. The average velocity of adjacent classes was significantly different (p < .01), with higher classes being faster, except for H4 and H5. However, the effect size of the differences between H3 and H4 was smaller (d = 0.12). Hence, results indicated a need for research in evaluating and developing evidence-based classification in handcycling, yielding a class structure with meaningful performance differences between adjacent classes.
Fabio Bertapelli, Stamatis Agiovlasitis, Robert W. Motl, Roberto A. Soares, Marcos M. de Barros-Filho, Wilson D. do Amaral-Junior, and Gil Guerra-Junior
The purpose of this study was to develop and cross-validate an equation for estimating percentage body fat (%BF) from body mass index and other potential independent variables among young persons with intellectual disability. Participants were 128 persons with intellectual disability (62 women; age 16–24 years) split between development (n = 98) and cross-validation (n = 30) samples. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry served as the reference method for %BF. An equation including 1/body mass index and sex (0 = male; 1 = female) was highly accurate in estimating %BF (p < .001; R 2 = .82; standard error of estimate = 5.22%). Mean absolute and root mean square errors were small (3.1% and 3.9%, respectively). A Bland–Altman plot indicated nearly zero mean difference between actual and predicted %BF with modest 95% confidence intervals. The prediction equation was %BF = 56.708 − (729.200 × [1/body mass index]) + (12.134 × sex). Health care professionals may use the prediction equation for monitoring %BF among young people with intellectual disability.
Chung-Ju Huang, Hsin-Yu Tu, Ming-Chun Hsueh, Yi-Hsiang Chiu, Mei-Yao Huang, and Chien-Chih Chou
This study examined the effects of acute aerobic exercise on sustained attention and discriminatory ability of children with and without learning disabilities (LD). Fifty-one children with LD and 49 typically developing children were randomly assigned to exercise or control groups. The participants in the exercise groups performed a 30-min session of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, whereas the control groups watched a running/exercise-related video. Neuropsychological tasks, the Daueraufmerksamkeit sustained attention test, and the determination tests were assessed before and after each treatment. Exercise significantly benefited performance in sustained attention and discriminatory ability, particularly in higher accuracy rate and shorter reaction time. In addition, the LD exercise group demonstrated greater improvement than the typically developing exercise group. The findings suggest that the acute aerobic exercise influenced the sustained attention and the discriminatory function in children with LD by enhancing regulation of mental states and allocation of attentional resources.