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Sand in the Shorts: Experiences of Moral Discomfort in Adapted Physical Activity Professional Practice

Amanda Ebert and Donna L. Goodwin

Adapted physical activity (APA) practitioners are encouraged to be reflexive practitioners, yet little is known about the moral dilemmas faced as they instruct inclusive physical activity or fitness programs. Professional landscape tensions may arise when diverse organizational demands, policies, traditions, and values merge. The study purpose was to explore how APA professionals experience and resolve moral discomfort in professional practice. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis, seven APA professionals completed one-on-one semistructured interviews. The conceptual framework of relational ethics facilitated deep engagement with the professionals’ stories of navigating the ethical minefields of their practice. Four themes were developed from the thematic interpretative phenomenological analysis: The ass(et) of vulnerability, Friends or friendly?We are fucked either way,” and Now what? Grappling with discomfort. The moral discomfort and strategies for resolution described by APA professionals highlighted the need for judgment-free pedagogical spaces where taken-for-granted practices can be contemplated and discussed.

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Revisiting Our Research Assumptions 20 Years On: The Role of Interdisciplinarity

Donna L. Goodwin and Janice Causgrove Dunn

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Addressing Trauma in Adaptive Physical Activity: A Call to Reflection and Action

Lindsay Eales and Donna L. Goodwin

Trauma is pervasive, embodied, and can be perpetrated or perpetuated by researchers, educators, and practitioners, including those within adaptive physical activity (APA). In this article, we highlight the need to address trauma within APA as a matter of access and justice. We share various conceptualizations of trauma from psychiatric, embodied, anti-pathologizing, and sociopolitical perspectives. Trauma-informed practice is introduced as a framework for creating safer, more inclusive programs and services, so we can recognize the impacts of trauma and affirm those who experience it. As the first step to a multistep trauma-informed process, our aim is to raise awareness of trauma and introduce resources for enacting trauma-informed practice. We also pose difficult questions about how we, as “helping” practitioners, researchers, and educators may be perpetuating or perpetrating harm and trauma, in particular sanism, within our profession. Ultimately, we invite readers to join us in reflection and action toward anti-pathologizing trauma-informed APA.

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Physical Activity for Disabled Youth: Hidden Parental Labor

Donna L. Goodwin and Amanda Ebert

Locating suitable, inclusive community physical activity programs for disabled children can be challenging for parents. The aim of this study was to uncover everyday hidden labor experienced by parents, as they sought inclusive physical activity opportunities for their children. Focus group interviews with eight families of youth aged 13–19 years were completed using an interpretative phenomenological case study research approach. Four themes, interpreted through the framework of relational ethics, captured their experiences: (a) inclusion is immensely effortful; (b) judged by their impairments, not their possibilities; (c) ongoing education needed to open doors and sustain participation; and (d) the guilt of staying home. Reliance on hidden parental labor highlighted an exclusion agenda in community, accentuated by ableist belief systems.

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Beyond the Wheelchair: The Experience of Dance

Donna L. Goodwin, Joan Krohn, and Arvid Kuhnle

This phenomenological case study sought to understand the wheelchair dance experiences of five children (ages 6-14 years) with spina bifida. The experiences of one boy and four girls were captured using the phenomenological methods of semistructured interviews, journals, visual artifacts, and field notes. The perspectives of their parents were also gathered. The dancer data and parent data were analyzed separately, revealing four common themes: unconditional acceptance, a dream comes true, beyond the wheelchair, and a stronger self. The experience of dancing from a wheelchair was interpreted and understood by reflecting upon the concepts of ableism, dualism, and the minded body.

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Reactions to the Metaphors of Disability: The Mediating Effects of Physical Activity

Donna L. Goodwin, Robin Thurmeier, and Paul Gustafson

The purpose of this study was to describe the metaphors of disability to which young people with physical disabilities felt they were exposed and the moderating influence of physical activity on the meanings ascribed to those metaphors. Fourteen participants (7 males, 7 females) with physical disabilities between the ages of 14 and 24 years participated in the study. Their experiences were captured by way of one-on-one audio taped semi-structured interviews and the use and interpretation of artifacts and field notes. Three themes emerged from the thematic analysis: don’t treat me differently, managing emotions, and physical activity balances perceptions. The implications of the findings are discussed within the context of stigma theory and the liminality of social indefinition.

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Physical Literacy for Children Labeled With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Mothers’ Experiences of Ableism, Exclusion, and Trauma

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.

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The Unheard Partner in Adapted Physical Activity Community Service Learning

Rebecca T. Marsh Naturkach and Donna L. Goodwin

Community service learning (CSL), built on collaborative, reciprocal, and diverse disability-community partnerships, is a taken-for-granted pedagogical practice in adapted physical activity. Thus far, the CSL experiences of community members as they support student learning are virtually unknown. The purpose of the study was to understand how community members experienced an undergraduate adapted physical activity CSL course. Using an interpretative phenomenological analysis research approach, 9 adults (2 female, 7 male, mean age 50 years) experiencing disability participated in individual and focus-group interviews. Field notes and artifacts were also gathered. Relational ethics provided a heuristic framework to facilitate the interpretation of the findings. Four themes were crafted: (a) yes, we are willing partners; (b) but . . . we’re in the dark; (c) subjected to being the subject; and (d) engage through relationships. Although overlooked as valuable collaborative and reciprocal partners, relational engagement remained central to the participants’ CSL experience.

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Connecting Through Summer Camp: Youth With Visual Impairments Find a Sense of Community

Donna L. Goodwin, Lauren J. Lieberman, Keith Johnston, and Jennifer Leo

The social meaning of a one-week residential summer sports camp to young people with visual impairments is described. The experiences of 13 youths (7 females and 6 males) with visual impairments (3 B1, 1 B2, and 9 B3) between 9 and 15 years of age were gathered using the phenomenological methods of focus groups, conversational interviews, and field notes. The thematic analysis revealed three themes: connected, reaching out, and resisting and acquiescing. Experiences of group membership and shared emotional connection to others with visual impairments surfaced in a supportive sport context although resistance to others’ assumptions of ability was evident. The theory of psychological sense of community (McMillan & Chivas, 1986) provided the conceptual framework for interpreting the findings.

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Understanding Dignity: Experiences of Impairment in an Exercise Facility

Keith R. Johnston, Donna L. Goodwin, and Jennifer Leo

Dignity, as an essential quality of being human, has been overlooked in exercise contexts. The aim of this interpretative phenomenological study was to understand the meaning of dignity and its importance to exercise participation. The experiences of 21 adults (11 women and 10 men) from 19 to 65 yr of age who experience disability, who attended a specialized community exercise facility, were gathered using the methods of focus-group and one-on-one interviews, visual images, and field notes. The thematic analysis revealed 4 themes: the comfort of feeling welcome, perceptions of otherness, negotiating public spaces, and lost autonomy. Dignity was subjectively understood and nurtured through the respect of others. Indignities occurred when enacted social and cultural norms brought dignity to consciousness through humiliation or removal of autonomy. The specialized exercise environment promoted self-worth and positive self-beliefs through shared life experiences and a norm of respect.