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Improvements in Tennis Skills in Adults With Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities Following an 8-Week Adapted Tennis Program

Loriane Favoretto, Zach Hutchison, Claire M. Mowling, and Melissa M. Pangelinan

This study quantified changes in tennis skills and dose of practice in adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities following an 8-week adapted tennis program. Twenty-seven adults with disabilities (mean age 24.7) participated in an 8-week adapted tennis program (1-hour, twice a week). Participants’ racquets were equipped with sensors that measured the number of shots during the program (dose). Pre- and post-test tennis skill assessments (process scores) were conducted for the forehand and backhand. All participants showed significant improvements in forehand and backhand process scores. Level of function, but not age or disability type, was associated with forehand and backhand process scores. The number of forehand shots performed during the adapted tennis program did not change across the program. The number of forehand shots was associated with age and disability type, but not level of function. The number of backhand shots (dose) was not associated with age, disability, or level of function. The number of forehand or backhand shots (dose) was not associated with changes in forehand or backhand process scores, respectively. This study provides evidence of the efficacy of this adapted tennis program to develop fundamental tennis skills in novice players with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

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Development, Management, and Evaluation of Undergraduate Experiential Learning: Recommendations for Best Practices

Melissa Pangelinan, Marc Norcross, Megan MacDonald, Mary Rudisill, Danielle Wadsworth, and James McDonald

Experiential learning provides undergraduate students rich opportunities to enhance their knowledge of core concepts in kinesiology. Beyond these outcomes, it enables students to gain exposure to, build empathy for, and affect the lives of individuals from diverse populations. However, the development, management, and systematic evaluation of experiential learning vary drastically across programs. Thus, the purpose of this review was to critically evaluate the experiential-learning programs at Auburn University and Oregon State University with respect to best practices outlined by the National Society for Experiential Education. The authors provide examples of lessons learned from these two programs to help others improve the implementation and impact of undergraduate experiential learning.

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Motor Development Research: II. The First Two Decades of the 21st Century Shaping Our Future

Jill Whitall, Farid Bardid, Nancy Getchell, Melissa M. Pangelinan, Leah E. Robinson, Nadja Schott, and Jane E. Clark

In Part I of this series I, we looked back at the 20th century and re-examined the history of Motor Development research described in Clark & Whitall’s 1989 paper “What is Motor Development? The Lessons of History”. We now move to the 21st century, where the trajectories of developmental research have evolved in focus, branched in scope, and diverged into three new areas. These have progressed to be independent research areas, co-existing in time. We posit that the research focus on Dynamical Systems at the end of the 20th century has evolved into a Developmental Systems approach in the 21st century. Additionally, the focus on brain imaging and the neural basis of movement have resulted in a new approach, which we entitled Developmental Motor Neuroscience. Finally, as the world-wide obesity epidemic identified in the 1990s threatened to become a public health crisis, researchers in the field responded by examining the role of motor development in physical activity and health-related outcomes; we refer to this research area as the Developmental Health approach. The glue that holds these research areas together is their focus on movement behavior as it changes across the lifespan.

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Soccer Skill Performance and Retention Following an 8-Week Adapted Soccer Intervention in Adults With Disabilities

Danielle M. Lang, Emily E. Munn, Claire E. Tielke, Mary G. Nix Caden, Tessa M. Evans, and Melissa M. Pangelinan

This study evaluated the efficacy of an 8-week (two sessions/week; 60 min/session) adapted soccer intervention on skill performance and retention in 30 adults (18 men and 12 women) ages 17–40 years with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, and intellectual disability. Of these 30 participants, 18 completed a 1-month retention test. The program included behavior supports and adaptations for participants with varying levels of behavioral needs. Dribbling, kicking a moving ball, kicking a stationary ball, throw-ins, trapping, and a composite skill score were examined. Linear mixed-effect regression revealed a significant time main effect with improvements from pretest to posttest and pretest to retention for all skills. In addition, modest offline gains (i.e., posttest < retention) were observed for throw-ins, kicking a moving ball, and the composite skill score. A significant main effect of diagnosis was observed such that participants with autism spectrum disorder had better performance on kicking a moving ball than those with Down syndrome and intellectual disability. Finally, a significant main effect of level of function was observed. This program enabled adults with various disabilities to acquire fundamental soccer skills that may lead to meaningful participation in community soccer programs.