Nima Dehghansai and Joseph Baker
Initiatives have been designed to attract novice athletes and to enable transfer for experienced athletes. However, the authors have very little knowledge of the effectiveness of these programs. To further improve our understanding, this study explored the demographic and sporting careers of 225 participants attending one of the 10 Paralympian Search events held between 2016 and 2018. The sample consisted of participants with a wide range of impairments and sport experiential backgrounds. The majority of the participants reported having some experience in sports, suggesting that either the promotions reached athletes involved in sports already or the advertising appealed especially to this cohort. Athletes with impairments acquired at various stages of their lives (congenital, before adolescence, adolescence, early adulthood, and adulthood) displayed differences in their sporting trajectories, suggesting considerations for current developmental models. Furthermore, it should be considered to vary the testing locations of future events to increase the reach to rural areas and implement new methods to attract novice participants.
Danielle Peers, Timothy Konoval, and Rebecca Marsh Naturkach
This Foucauldian discourse analysis engages DePauw’s theory of disability and visibility to examine the construction of para-athletes within the websites of Canada’s “fully integrated” athletics sport system. The authors found that para-athletes remain largely unimaginable within most athletics websites. When present, para-athletes are often only imagined as marginal participants, or marginalized through medical and charitable discourses. The authors offer examples of para-athletes being reimagined primarily as athletes, and some examples where (para-)athletics was reimagined by identifying and removing barriers to full participation. The authors close with some learning points that may enable sport practitioners to change how they discursively construct para-athletes and thus contribute to a less marginalizing and exclusionary sport system.
Kirsti Van Dornick and Nancy L.I. Spencer
The purpose of this study was to examine the classification experiences (perspectives and reflections) of paraswimmers. Classification provides a structure for parasport, with the goal of reducing the impact of impairment on the outcome of competition. Guided by interpretive description, nine paraswimmers ranging in swimming experience and sport class were interviewed. Reflective notes were also collected. Transcribed interviews were analyzed inductively, followed by a deductive analysis using Nordenfelt’s dignity framework. Three themes represent the findings: access, diversity, and (un)certainty. Despite several positive experiences, paraswimmers also discussed inconsistencies in the process leading them to question competition fairness and classification accuracy. These findings suggest that continued efforts to improve the classification system are required. In addition, paraswimmers and their allies (e.g., coaches) require more information about the classification process to better understand the outcomes and to effectively advocate for their needs.
Justin A. Haegele, Samuel R. Hodge, Xihe Zhu, Steven K. Holland, and Wesley J. Wilson
The purpose of this study was to examine the perspectives of individuals with visual impairment toward inclusion and the inclusiveness of their integrated physical education experiences. A retrospective, qualitative-description research approach was used, and 10 adults (age 20–35 years) with visual impairments acted as the participants. The data sources included one-on-one telephone interviews and reflective interview notes. A theoretical thematic analysis approach was used to analyze the data. Three interrelated themes were identified: “I always felt like a misfit”: a missing sense of belonging, acceptance, and value; “I felt very excluded, very pushed to the side”: lack of access to activity participation; and “Even though it sucked, I do agree with it”: preference for integrated settings. Collectively, the participants recalled that experiencing feelings of inclusion during physical education were rare. Despite this, they expressed a perceived importance of being integrated in contexts with their peers.
Layne Case and Joonkoo Yun
Despite the rising interest in intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder, the extent to which interventions are effective on gross motor outcomes is currently unknown. The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of different intervention approaches on gross motor outcomes among children with autism spectrum disorder using meta-analysis. A total of 18 studies met the inclusion criteria for quantitative analysis. Pre- and posttest means and SDs were extracted to calculate effect sizes. Potential moderator variables were chosen based on important intervention characteristics. The results suggest that interventions have a large effect on gross motor outcomes among children with autism spectrum disorder (δ = 0.99, SE = 0.19, p < .001, 95% confidence interval [0.62, 1.36]). The interventions that were 16 total hours or longer had a significantly larger effect than those less than 16 hr. In addition, the interventions in experimental settings had significantly larger effects than the interventions in practical settings. Future interventions should consider intensity, including not only the duration of the intervention but also the intensity in which specific intervention goals are targeted.
Iva Obrusnikova, Haley M. Novak, and Albert R. Cavalier
Adults with intellectual disability have significantly lower musculoskeletal fitness than their peers without a disability. Appropriate instructional strategies are needed to facilitate their acquisition and maintenance of musculoskeletal fitness. In this multiple-baseline across-participants single-subject study, the authors evaluated the effects of a multicomponent package that included a video-enhanced system of least-to-most prompts on the acquisition of 5 muscle-strengthening exercises in 3 women with mild intellectual disability, age 24–37 yr. Results show substantive gains in correct and independent performance of steps in the 5 exercises during the treatment condition. The improved performance was maintained 2 wk after the last treatment session and in a large YMCA gym. The study suggests that use of the video-enhanced system of least-to-most prompts can lead to improved acquisition and maintenance of muscle-strengthening exercises by adults with mild intellectual disability.
Leah S. Goudy, Brandon Rhett Rigby, Lisa Silliman-French, and Kevin A. Becker
The purpose of this study was to determine changes in balance, postural sway, and quality of life after 6 wk of simulated horseback riding in adults diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Eight older adults completed two 60-min riding sessions weekly for 6 wk. Variables of balance, postural sway, and quality of life were measured 6 wks before and within 1 wk before and after the intervention. Berg Balance Scale scores decreased from baseline to preintervention (48.36 ± 5.97 vs. 45.86 ± 6.42, p = .050) and increased from preintervention to postintervention (45.86 ± 6.42 vs. 50.00 ± 4.38, p = .002). Cognitive impairment, a dimension of quality of life, improved from baseline to postintervention (37.5 ± 20.5 vs. 21.5 ± 14.4, p = .007). Six weeks of simulated horseback riding may improve balance and cognitive impairment in older adults with Parkinson’s disease.