Finland’s 2022 Para Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents With Disabilities includes a summary of results and grades for 10 physical activity indicators and highlights how these grades are interpreted by stakeholders. The disability classification was based on the UNICEF/Washington Group on Disability Statistics measure, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD7) measure, or education status. Data between 2017 and 2021 were reviewed by 24 physical activity specialists using benchmarks adapted for data on disabilities from the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance. The grades were assigned as follows: Overall Physical Activity, C+; Organized Sport, C; Active Play, D; Active Transportation, B; Family and Peers, C+; School, B; Community and Environment, C−; Government, A−; sedentary behavior and physical fitness were graded as incomplete. Stakeholder focus-group discussions highlighted the need for multidisciplinary cooperation and increasing competence of specialists working with children to promote a physically active lifestyle for all children.
P. Asunta, K. Kämppi, K. Ng, A. Saari, and T. Tammelin
Jeongmin Lee, Kitaek Oh, Jihee Min, Seon-Young Goo, Eun-Young Lee, Kyoung June Yi, Jinmoo Heo, Joon-Sung Lee, Dong-il Kim, Wonsang Shin, Kwon-il Kim, Yeonsoo Kim, and Justin Y. Jeon
South Korea has developed its first Para Report Card on physical activity (PA) for children and adolescents with disabilities. Five national surveillance databases were used to evaluate PA indicators based on the benchmarks and grading rubric provided by Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance. Report card evaluation committees were invited to grade and assess the results using strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis. Five indicators (overall PA, D+; organized sports and PA, D−; active transportation, D−; physical fitness, D+; and government, A+) and one additional indicator (sleep, C−) were assigned a letter grade. The other five indicators were graded as incomplete. The Para Report Card revealed a significant gap between the behavioral-indicator grades (D− to D+) and the policy-indicator grade (A+), suggesting that government strategies and investment have not yet been translated into behavioral PA among children and adolescents with disabilities.
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.
Carly Albaum, Annie Mills, Diane Morin, and Jonathan A. Weiss
Direct, meaningful contact with people with intellectual disability, such as through integrated sport, may be related to positive attitudes. The current study aimed to compare implicit (unconscious) and explicit (conscious) attitudes between adults involved in integrated sport events and those in a comparison group who were not and examine the association between attitudes and degree of integrated sport involvement. An online survey measuring attitudes was completed by 295 adults without intellectual disability who participated in integrated sport activities and 450 adults who did not. Individuals involved in integrated sport reported less negative behavioral and affective attitudes relative to the comparison group, with mixed results for cognitive attitudes. Groups did not differ on implicit attitudes. Greater integrated sport involvement was related to some aspects of explicit attitudes. Involvement in integrated sport may be linked to how participants view intellectual disability, which has important implications for enhancing social inclusion and informing positive attitudes.
Kyle Pushkarenko, Janice Causgrove Dunn, and Donna L. Goodwin
Countering the declining physical activity patterns of children labeled with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has gained considerable research attention given its impact on health and quality of life. The purpose of this study was to explore how parents of children labeled with ASD understand the concept of physical literacy, based on their children’s participation in community-based physical activity programs. Using interpretive phenomenological analysis, six mothers of children labeled with ASD participated in one-on-one semistructured interviews. The conceptual framework of ecological systems theory supported the rationale for the study purpose, provided structure for the interview guide, and offered a reflexive context for interpretation. Four themes were generated from the thematic analysis: From embodied movement to normative skill expectations, Be flexible, not rigid, Systematic exclusion, and Valuable? . . . Absolutely! Despite experiences of marginalization, exclusion, and trauma within physical activity programs, mothers valued physical literacy development for their children given the positive outcomes of increasing family connections, engagement with peers, and enhanced wellness.
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.
In the article Stanish, H., Curtin, C., Must, A., Phillips, S., Maslin, M., and Bandini, L. (2015). Enjoyment, barriers, and beliefs about physical activity in adolescents with and without autism spectrum disorder. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 32(4), 302-317. doi:10.1123/APAQ.2015-0038, the authors omitted acknowledgment that the study was an extension of a larger (parent) study that compared physical activity levels and correlates among adolescents with intellectual disabilities (ID) and typically developing (TD) adolescents. Some of the methods for the study published in this journal are identical to those in the parent study, and the same comparison group of TD adolescents was used for both disability groups (ID and autism spectrum disorder). The online version of the article has been corrected.
The parent study was published as Stanish, H.I., Curtin, C., Must, A., Phillips, S., Maslin, M., & Bandini, L. (2016). Physical activity enjoyment, perceived barriers, and beliefs among adolescents with and without intellectual disabilities. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 13(1), 102–110. doi:10.1123/jpah.2014-0548.
Ken Pitetti, Ruth Ann Miller, and E. Michael Loovis
Male youth (8–18 years) with intellectual disability (ID) demonstrate motor proficiency below age-related competence capacities for typically developing youth. Whether below-criteria motor proficiency also exists for females with ID is not known. The purpose of this study was to determine if sex-specific differences exist in motor proficiency for youth with ID. The Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency was used to measure motor proficiency: six items for upper limb coordination, seven items for balance, and six items for bilateral coordination. One hundred and seventy-two (172) males and 85 females with ID but without Down syndrome were divided into five age groups for comparative purposes: 8–10, 11–12, 13–14, 15–16, and 17–21 years. Males scored sufficiently higher than females to suggest that sex data should not be combined to established Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency standards for upper limb coordination, balance, and bilateral coordination subtests.
Karin Lobenius-Palmér, Birgitta Sjöqvist, Anita Hurtig-Wennlöf, and Lars-Olov Lundqvist
This study compared accelerometer-assessed habitual physical activity (PA), sedentary time, and meeting PA recommendations among 102 youth with disabilities (7–20 years) in four subgroups—physical/visual impairments, intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorders, and hearing impairment—and 800 youth with typical development (8–16 years). Low proportions of youth with disabilities met PA recommendations, and they generally were less physically active and more sedentary than youth with typical development. The hearing impairment and autism spectrum disorder groups were the most and least physically active, respectively. Older age and to some extent female sex were related to less PA and more sedentary time. Considering the suboptimal levels of PA in youth with disabilities, effective interventions directed at factors associated with PA among them are needed.
Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Viviane Grassmann, Krystn Orr, Amy C. McPherson, Guy E. Faulkner, and F. Virginia Wright
The objective of this study was to comprehensively evaluate inclusive out-of-school time physical activity programs for children/youth with physical disabilities. A search of the published literature was conducted and augmented by international expertise. A quality appraisal was conducted; only studies with quality ratings ≥60% informed our best practice recommendations. Seventeen studies were included using qualitative (n = 9), quantitative (n = 5), or mixed (n = 3) designs. Programs had a diversity of age groups, group sizes, and durations. Most programs were recreational level, involving both genders. Rehabilitation staff were the most common leaders. Outcomes focused on social skills/relationships, physical skill development, and psychological well-being, with overall positive effects shown in these areas. The best practice recommendations are consistent with an abilities-based approach emphasizing common group goals and interests; cooperative activities; mastery-oriented, individualized instruction; and developmentally appropriate, challenging activities. Results indicate that inclusive out-of-school time physical activity programs are important for positive psychosocial and physical skill development of children/youth with physical disabilities.