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Adapted Physical Activity Across the Life Span

Paul R. Malinowski, Paul H. Warner, and Wesley J. Wilson,

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Special Olympics: Inclusion Debates and Equity in Sport, 1st Edition

Wonjun Choi and Sophia D. Min

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Relegated to the Sidelines: A Qualitative Inquiry of Gatekeepers’ Perspectives and Values of Physical Education for Disabled Children

Scott W.T. McNamara, Patrica Craig, Megan Henly, and Jill Gravink

Several institutional aspects within the U.S. public school system impede the delivery of adapted physical education (APE) services to disabled children, including a lack of understanding and prioritization of these services by the special education team and a lack of qualified APE professionals to deliver these services. Thus, we conducted a qualitative inquiry grounded in a critical-ableism perspective to explore special education gatekeepers’ experiences and perspectives of APE. Gatekeepers included parents, physical educators, and school administrators. Using a reflexive thematic analysis, we developed four interrelated themes: (a) disregard, negative, and charity mindsets toward disability; (b) systemic challenges in valuing and prioritizing APE; (c) presence as inclusion: (un)intentional marginalization in physical education; and (d) physical education for my child was a nightmare. These findings illustrate the complexities around the provision of physical education and APE to disabled children.

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Swim, Strength, or Combined Programs: Effect on Health-Related Physical Fitness in Adolescents With Down Syndrome

Borja Suarez-Villadat, Kabir Sadarangani, Rui Manuel Corredeira, Mario Veiga, and Ariel Villagra

The adolescent population with Down syndrome (DS) appears to show higher levels of body fat and lower levels of cardiorespiratory fitness or muscle strength than their peers without disabilities. There is a need to create physical activity programs to improve these data. The aim of this research was to determine the effects of a 16-week swimming program, strength program, and combined program (swimming and strength training) on body composition and health-related physical fitness on adolescents with DS and to assess whether there are differences in the results of the different training programs. Forty-five adolescents (17 female and 28 male; average age 15.5 [1.53] years) with DS were recruited and randomized to three groups (swim [n = 15], strength [n = 15], and combined [n = 15]). Results showed that the swim group had significant improvements in all health-related physical fitness variables and there was an improvement in some body-composition variables (p < .05). The strength and combined groups obtained minor improvements in the variables analyzed. In summary, a 16-week swim program consisting of three sessions of 60 min is able to improve levels of body composition and health-related physical fitness in adolescents with DS. The swim training program seems to be more effective in improving body composition and health-related physical fitness than the strength or combined program. These findings could be useful in different special-education centers due to the predisposition shown by the population with DS to this sport modality.

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Combined Virtual-Reality- and Gym-Based Physical Activity Intervention for Children With a Developmental Disability: Effects on Physical Activity Levels, Motor Skills, and Social Skills

Hoo Kyung Lee and Jooyeon Jin

This study examined the effects of a combined virtual-reality- and gym-based physical activity (PA) program on PA levels, motor skills, and social skills of children with a developmental disability (DD). Twenty-five children with DD were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups. The intervention was conducted for 60 min, two times a week, for 12 weeks. Pre- and postintervention assessments encompassing PA levels measured via Gravity Estimator of Normal Everyday Activity, motor skills evaluated using the Test of Gross Motor Development-Third Edition, and social skills gauged via the Social Skills Rating System-Parent were conducted. Additionally, a follow-up assessment was administered to the experimental group 12 weeks postintervention. The findings unequivocally demonstrate that the combined virtual-reality- and gym-based PA program yielded significant enhancements in PA levels, motor skills, and social skills among children with DD in the experimental group. Notably, these improvements were sustained 12 weeks after the intervention. These findings may help professionals develop and implement better PA programs for children with DD.

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“Now We Can Speak”: Wheelchair Sport Participation in Areas of Armed Conflict

T.N. Kirk, Cathy McKay, and Katherine Holland

This study sought to understand the lived experiences of wheelchair basketball athletes from low- and middle-income countries of recent or current armed conflict and the meaning that they ascribed to their participation. Wheelchair basketball athletes (N = 108) from eight national teams participated in semistructured focus-group interviews. Study data were analyzed thematically using an interpretive descriptive approach. Three themes were developed: “I can do anything I want; not only basketball,” self-concept changes through sport participation; “Now they see me as a respectable person,” societal belonging through sport; and “I have motivated other disabled people,” influence on nonparticipating disabled persons. The findings indicated that participation in wheelchair sports may help disabled persons see themselves as capable individuals on the court and in aspects of daily living, perhaps even peer role models for other disabled persons in their communities and countries.

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Athletes’ Perspectives of the Classification System in Para Alpine Skiing for Those With Visual Impairment

Sara M. Douglas, Paul J. Kitchin, Andrew J. Jackson, Brendan T. Barrett, and Julie-Anne Little

This study explored the classification experiences and views of Para Alpine skiers with visual impairment. Data from 11  interviews were analyzed using reflexive thematic analysis to generate three themes: Suitability—The skiers questioned the suitability of the visual measurements, testing environment, and the information they received regarding classification; Exclusivity—Skiers felt certain aspects of the system remain exclusive due to the restrictions of sport classes and lack of the athlete voice; and (Dis)trust—Skiers felt distrust in those implementing the system and in other athletes due to intentional misrepresentation. Speculation surrounding this resulted in the skiers’ feeling doubt in their own classification. While there is not a “one size fits all” approach to classification, understanding skiers’ experiences can be a vital first step and will help to guide future research into the evolution of this sport’s classification.

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Brazilian Women in Paralympic Sports: Uncovering Historical Milestones in the Summer Paralympic Games

Luiz Gustavo T. Fabricio dos Santos, Isabella dos Santos Alves, Náthali Fernanda Feliciano, Africa Alejandra Ortuño Torres, Luis Felipe Castelli Correia de Campos, and Maria Luiza Tanure Alves

The journey of Brazilian female Paralympians transcends mere statistical increases in women’s participation. Behind the modest athlete growth lies the reality of women who are doubly marginalized by the intersection of gender and disability in an arena tailored for able-bodied men. Our study aimed to catalyze critical discourses surrounding the historical trajectory of Paralympic women’s sports. Through a comprehensive documentary analysis based on the Brazilian Paralympic Committee’s official documents from 1976 to 2021, we sought to shed light on this complex scenario. Numerically, Brazil’s representation comprised 229 women who, predominantly, had physical impairments and engaged in individual sports. In addition to a sporting legacy deeply entrenched in physical rehabilitation with limited opportunities for team-based sports, we observed negative influences stemming from ableist and sexist narratives. A thorough investigation into Paralympic milestones revealed a multitude of social barriers and highlighted the significant impact of societal changes in reshaping athletic opportunities and challenging traditional stereotypes.

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Volume 41 (2024): Issue 2 (Apr 2024)

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The Influence of Blind Tennis on Subjective Inclusion Experiences—An Ableism-Critical Analysis

Felix Oldörp, Martin Giese, and Michelle Grenier

In this paper, we analyze the subjective inclusion experiences of visually impaired (VI) adult tennis players from an ableism-critical perspective. The primary focus of this research is the inclusive potential of blind tennis from the perspective of VI individuals. Episodic interviews were conducted to capture subjective perspectives. A qualitative text analysis revealed that the interviewees were confronted with multiple ability assumptions by sighted people in their everyday lives. Deficit notions on the performance of VI people included sports, work, and general activities. Participation in blind tennis helped the interviewees build a “competent identity” and acquire various skills useful for their everyday lives as participation in blind tennis was a pathway for competence in sports. Further research is needed to identify exclusion experiences from the perspective of disabled people to recognize the potential of different sports in reducing barriers to participation.