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.
Chantelle Zimmer and Janice Causgrove Dunn
Chantelle Zimmer, Kerri L. Staples, and William James Harvey
The performance of various fundamental movement skills is important for children with movement difficulties (MD) to be successful in physical education and play. The current study aimed to provide a detailed understanding of the aspects impaired in the performance of static and dynamic locomotor and object control skills among children with MD, identified with the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, relative to their same-aged peers without MD. Children, 7–10 years, were recruited from three elementary schools. Eighteen children with MD (mean age = 9.14 years, SD = 0.97) and 18 without MD (mean age = 9.12 years, SD = 0.97) participated in the study. Quantitative and qualitative aspects of their movement performance were assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD-2) and PE Metrics. Children with MD demonstrated significantly poorer performance than children without MD for locomotor skills on the PE Metrics and object control skills on both the TGMD-2 and PE Metrics. The findings of this study suggest that children with MD primarily demonstrate immature movement patterns, inefficient movement strategies, and impaired aspects of movement that impact their performance for dynamic object control skills.
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.
Chantelle Zimmer, Meghan H. McDonough, Jennifer Hewson, Ann Toohey, Cari Din, Peter R.E. Crocker, and Erica V. Bennett
Little is known about how social participation can be facilitated among older adults in group physical activity and its psychosocial benefits that contribute to successful aging. This study aimed to understand older adults’ experiences with social participation in group physical activity programs. Using interpretive description methodology, 16 observations, eight focus groups, and two interviews with participants unable to attend focus groups were conducted with adults 55 years and older attending programs across four recreation facilities. Group programs were found to influence social participation through (a) a meaningful context for connecting and (b) instructors’ expectations of social interaction. Social participation in these programs addressed psychosocial needs by (c) increasing social contact and interaction, (d) fostering social relationships and belonging, and (e) promoting regular engagement. Training for instructors should include balancing the physical aspects of program delivery with the social, while also considering older adults’ diverse needs and preferences for social interaction.