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.
Kyle Pushkarenko, Janice Causgrove Dunn, and Donna L. Goodwin
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.
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.
Kathryn LaMasfer, Gary Kinchin, Kimerly Gall, and Daryl Siedentop
Full inclusion refers to educational practices where all students with disabilities are educated in regular classes along with nondisabled peers. Six elementary physical education specialists (5 females, 1 male) were studied to obtain their views of inclusion practices and perceived outcomes. Teacher interviews and observations revealed four main themes: (a) multiple teaching styles, (b) student outcomes, (c) teacher frustrations, and (d) differences in inclusion practices. Results indicated that schools provided little support, and teachers reported that they were inadequately prepared to teach effectively with inclusive classes. These teachers had strong feelings of guilt and inadequacy as they continued to try to be effective for all children.
Terese Wilhelmsen, Marit Sørensen, and Ørnulf N. Seippel
This article is focused on how combinations of motivational attributes and motivational climates support social and pedagogical inclusion in physical education among children with disabilities. Theoretically, the authors integrate tenets from achievement-goal theory and self-determination theory. To capture the motivational complexity underlying children’s experiences of inclusion in physical education, they use a 2-step fuzzy qualitative comparative analysis. The analyses of contextual conditions yielded 2 sufficient inclusion-supportive climates, namely a physically inclusive and mastery-oriented climate or a physical inclusive, autonomy-supportive, and low performance-oriented climate. The configurations of motivational attributes in the inclusion-supportive climates indicated 4 sufficient pathways to social and pedagogical inclusion. The path with the largest coverage of children was in the physically inclusive and mastery-oriented climate and represented children who were task and ego oriented and low on amotivation and experienced satisfaction of the need for autonomy, competence, and relatedness.