Teachers can create supportive conditions in physical education to mitigate experiences of stress for children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD); however, most are unfamiliar with DCD and lack adequate training to instruct children with impairments. The purpose of this study was to explore teachers’ perceptions of and interactions in physical education with children thought to demonstrate functional difficulties associated with DCD. A semistructured interview was conducted with 12 teachers across all elementary years with diverse backgrounds and thematically analyzed. Four themes were produced. Teachers (a) had differing views on the etiology of children’s movement difficulties, though (b) all recognized a range of difficulties children demonstrated. They (c) believed it was their role to facilitate positive experiences for these children in physical education but (d) experienced challenges in doing so. Training that increases teachers’ knowledge of and abilities to address the needs of children thought to have DCD is warranted.
An Exploratory Study of Teachers’ Experiences in Physical Education With Children Thought to Have Developmental Coordination Disorder
Chantelle Zimmer and Janice Causgrove Dunn
Experiences in Physical Education for Children at Risk for Developmental Coordination Disorder
Chantelle Zimmer, Janice Causgrove Dunn, and Nicholas L. Holt
Children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) may experience stress in physical activity contexts due to emphasis on their poor motor skills. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of children at risk for DCD in physical education in order to develop a deeper understanding about what they experience as stress and how they cope with it. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis, six children in Grades 4–6 participated in two semistructured interviews. A motivational (and developmental) stress and coping theory informed interpretation of the three themes that described the children’s experiences: (a) they hurt me—psychological and physical harm sustained from peers, (b) it’s hard for me—difficulties encountered in activities, and (c) I have to—pressure to meet the teacher’s demands. Although the children at risk for DCD were confronted with various stressors in physical education, they coped more adaptively when social support was provided.