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Physical Education for Students with Spina Bifida: Mothers’ Perspectives

Jihoun An and Donna L. Goodwin

This study described the meaning 7 mothers of children with spina bifida ascribed to their children’s physical education, the mothers’ roles in the schools, and the importance of the IEP in home and school communication. The stories of 4 mothers of elementary and 3 mothers of secondary aged children were gathered using the phenomenological methods of semistructured interviews, artifacts, and field notes. The thematic analysis revealed three themes: a good thing but …, connection to sports, and beyond the curriculum. The mothers valued their children’s participation in physical education and provided instrumental support to teachers and teaching associates. They also valued sport as an avenue for developing sport specific skills, which in turn enriched the school experience. The findings are discussed within the context of Peters’ (1996) model of disablement.

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Physical Activity Experiences of Women Aging with Disabilities

Donna L. Goodwin and Scott G. Compton

This hermeneutic phenomenological study sought to understand the experiences of physical activity and aging with a disability. Six women with physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy (n = 2), acquired brain injury (n = 1), and spinal cord injury (n = 3), and between the ages of 22-37 years (mean age = 28 years) participated in the study. Their experiences were captured by way of semi-structured interviews. Each participant completed two interviews that were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. The thematic analysis revealed three themes: experiencing something normal, loss of physical freedom, and maintaining function through physical activity. Implications of the findings were discussed within the context of health promotion and Verbrugge and Jette’s (1994) socio-medical model of disablement.

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The Meaning of Summer Camp Experiences to Youths with Disabilities

Donna L. Goodwin and Kerri Staples

The purpose of the study was to capture the meaning of segregated summer camp experiences to youths with disabilities. The experiences of nine youths with physical, sensory, or behavioral disabilities between the ages of 14 and 19 were captured using the phenomenological methods of semistructured interviews, document review, and field notes. Mothers’ perceptions were also gathered. The thematic analysis revealed three themes: not alone, independence, and a chance to discover. Camp experiences provided a reprieve from perceptions of disability isolation often felt in their home communities. The campers experienced increased self-reliance, independence, and new understandings of their physical potential. The findings are discussed within the context of identity development and therapeutic landscapes.

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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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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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Conceptualizing Obesity as a Chronic Disease: An Interview With Dr. Arya Sharma

Arya M. Sharma, Donna L. Goodwin, and Janice Causgrove Dunn

Dr. Arya M. Sharma challenges the conventional wisdom of relying simply on “lifestyle” approaches involving exercise, diet, and behavioral interventions for managing obesity, suggesting that people living with obesity should receive comprehensive medical interventions similar to the approach taken for other chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes or hypertension. He purports that the stigma-inducing focus on self-failing (e.g., coping through food, laziness, lack of self-regulation) does not address biological processes that make obesity a lifelong problem for which there is no easy solution. Interdisciplinary approaches to obesity are advocated, including that of adapted physical activity. Physical activity has multifaceted impacts beyond increasing caloric expenditure, including improved sleep, better mood, increased energy levels, enhanced self-esteem, reduced stress, and an enhanced sense of well-being. The interview with Dr. Sharma, transcribed from a keynote address delivered at the North American Adapted Physical Activity Symposium on September 22, 2016, in Edmonton, AB, Canada, outlines his rationale for approaching obesity as a chronic disease.

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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.

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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.