The purpose of this study was to examine the sport experience for athletes with intellectual disabilities (ID) who participate in Special Olympics (SO). This study included a nationally representative sample of 1,307 families and 579 athletes in the U.S., focusing on sport involvement over the lifespan and motives for participating and for leaving SO. Athletes with ID are similar to athletes without disabilities in that sport is a significant life experience. They participate in sport for fun (54%) and social interaction (21%). Like athletes without disabilities, SO athletes leave sport because of changes in interest (38%) but also because of program availability (33%). These findings suggest that we continue to document the involvement of people with ID in sports and work to expand the sport opportunities available.
Coreen M. Harada and Gary N. Siperstein
Paddy C. Favazza, Gary N. Siperstein, Susan A. Zeisel, Samuel L. Odom, John H. Sideris, and Andrew L. Moskowitz
This study examined the effectiveness of the Young Athletes program to promote motor development in preschool-aged children with disabilities. In the study, 233 children were randomly assigned to a control group or the Young Athletes (YA) intervention group which consisted of 24 motor skill lessons delivered 3 times per week for 8 weeks. Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) showed that children who participated in the YA intervention exhibited mean gains of 7–9 months on the Peabody Developmental Motor Subscales (PDMS) compared with mean gains of 3–5 months for the control group. Children in the YA intervention also exhibited significant gains on the gross motor subscale of the Vineland Teacher Rating Form (VTRF). Teachers and parents reported benefits for children not only in specific motor skills, but also kindergarten readiness skills and social/play skills. The necessity for direct and intentional instruction of motor skills, as well as the challenges of involving families in the YA program, are discussed.