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The Meaning of Help in PE: Perceptions of Students with Physical Disabilities

Donna L. Goodwin

The purpose of this study was to describe the meaning of help in physical education as perceived by students with physical disabilities. The experiences of early, middle, and late elementary school aged students (n = 12) were captured using the phenomenological methods of individual and focus group interviews, field notes, and visual artifacts. The thematic analysis revealed that interactions were perceived as self-supporting or self-threatening. Self-supporting behaviors were instrumental, caring, or consensual in form, while self-threatening behaviors resulted in a loss of independence, concerns for self-esteem, or restricted participation. Participant responses to the helping behaviors became more complex with age. Instrumental and caring assistance emerged across all groups as did loss of independence and concerns for self-esteem. The older participants experienced restricted participation and consensual help. The implications of helping behavior on motivation and dependency states are discussed within the framework of threat to self-esteem theory.

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Pedagogical Reflections on the Use of Disability Simulations in Higher Education

Jennifer Leo and Donna L. Goodwin

Disability simulations have been used to provide postsecondary students with experiential learning opportunities in many disciplines including physical education. Critics (French, 1992) suggest that it is not possible to simulate disability experience and therefore question their efficacy. The purpose of this study was to interpret the meanings given to disability simulations by undergraduate students in physical education. A narrative research approach was employed to collect disability simulation stories from a convenience sample of 57 undergraduate students (41 female, 16 male) in a required physical education course. Their hand-written stories were transcribed and analyzed thematically to reveal three themes; thank goodness I don’t have a disability, I see things differently now, and I’m just not sure about all of this. The findings suggested that disability simulations may result in varied learning outcomes, including those which are unintended. Future research into the efficacy of disability simulations as a pedagogical tool is warranted.

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“It’s Hard When People Try and Get Their Kids Away From Cole”: A Family’s Experiences of (In)dignity in Leisure Settings

Kassi A. Boyd and Donna L. Goodwin

The indignities imposed by the words and actions of strangers in public recreation facilities can deter families with children experiencing disability from using these spaces. An interpretative phenomenological analysis case study was conducted to gain an understanding of how a young family with a child with autism experiences dignity during family leisure. Three generations (parents, grandmother, and great grandmother) participated in audio-recorded semistructured and conversational interviews. The interviews, thematically analyzed and interpreted using the conceptual framework of relational ethics, depicted the family’s experiences of dignity: (a) living under a microscope; (b) “screw your microscope, we’re going anyway”; (c) emerging stories of belonging; and (d) retreating, feeling overlooked, and lamenting the future. The family members experienced both dignity-affirming and dignity-removing interactions during community family leisure. Dignity was cyclically maintained, temporarily lost, and regained again as family members (re)formulated perceptions of self-respect, rejected stereotypes, and built relationships.

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“My Child May Be Ready, but I Am Not”: Parents’ Experiences of Their Children’s Transition to Inclusive Fitness Settings

Bobbi-Jo Atchison and Donna L. Goodwin

Parents play an essential role in the transition from separate physical activity programs to inclusive settings for their children. The purpose of this study was to explore experiences of parents as they anticipate and prepare for their children experiencing disability to transition, understand strategies used to address transition, and gain insights into the supports important to families during transition. Using an interpretative phenomenological analysis research approach, semistructured one-on-one interviews were conducted with 8 parents whose children were undergoing the transition from separate to inclusive community fitness contexts. Four themes described the experiences of parents as they anticipated, prepared for, and supported their child to transition: My child may be ready, but I am not; fear of outside judgment; playing by their rules; and reframing our thinking. Using Schlossberg’s model, the tensions parents faced as they negotiated new roles, relationships, routines, and assumptions as they moved through the transition process were uncovered. The parents experienced transition alongside their children, providing insights for fitness and health-promotion professionals. Without preparation for transition, apprehensions and hesitancy may postpone or prevent their children’s transition to community programs.

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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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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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Inclusive Physical Education from the Perspective of Students with Physical Disabilities

Donna L. Goodwin and E. Jane Watkinson

The study describes the phenomenon of inclusive physical education from the perspective of students with disabilities. The experience of 9 elementary school-aged students with physical disabilities (6 males and 3 females with a mean age of 11 years, 1 month) was captured by way of focus group interviews, field notes, and participant drawings. The thematic analysis uncovered a persistent dichotomy in how the participants experienced physical education. Good days were revealed in the themes of sense of belonging, skillful participation, and sharing in the benefits. Bad days were overshadowed by negative feelings revealed in the themes of social isolation, questioned competence, and restricted participation. The students’ experiences were discussed within the conceptual framework of ecological perception and affordance theory (Gibson, 1977, 1979).

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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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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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Daughters of Mothers With Multiple Sclerosis: Their Experiences of Play

Alison J. Jonzon and Donna L. Goodwin

The play experiences of daughters who were caregivers to their mothers with multiple sclerosis were described. The experiences of four Caucasian women aged 19–26 years were captured using the interpretive phenomenological methods of interviews, field notes, and artifacts. Family systems theory provided the conceptual framework for the study and facilitated the interpretation of the findings. The thematic analysis revealed three themes: (a) being a good daughter, (b) blurred relationship boundaries, and (c) encumbered play. Being a good daughter encompassed personal caregiving for their mothers. The associated guilt and worry was perceived to mature the participants beyond their years. Excessive caregiving exacerbated by limited social networks contributed to the blurring of mother-daughter relationships. Play, although restricted, provided a welcomed escape from caregiving responsibilities. Impoverished play experiences as caregivers were reported to negatively impact adult physical activity and recreation pursuits.