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Problems in Movement Control

David L. Porretta

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Beginning a Third Decade

Edited by David L. Porretta

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Performance Variability of Mildly Mentally Retarded Boys on a Novel Kicking Task

David L. Porretta

For this study, Baumeister’s variability hypothesis (1968) was investigated in eight 10-year-old mildly mentally retarded (MMR) and 16 nonhandicapped boys matched on either mental age (MA) or chronological age (CA). The boys attempted 60 trials on a novel kicking task. Results indicated that CA-matched boys exhibited less absolute error than either MMR- or MA-matched boys, while the latter two groups performed similarly. Variable error was observed to be significantly greater for MA-matched boys than for either MMR- or CA-matched boys, while MMR boys performed with greater although not significant variable error than CA-matched boys. Significant correlations were obtained across trial blocks for both MMR and nonhandicapped boys, indicating that variable error does not contribute more to the performance levels of MMR than of nonhandicapped individuals.

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Contextual Interference Effects on the Transfer and Retention of a Gross Motor Skill by Mildly Mentally Handicapped Children

David L. Porretta

This study investigated the effects of contextual interference on the immediate transfer and 2-day retention of a bean bag tossing task by mildly mentally handicapped children. A total of 24 boys and 24 girls with a mean chronological age of 10.2 years were randomly assigned to either a blocked, serial, or random practice condition. Following 48 practice trials with bean bags of various weights, subjects were transferred to two novel weighted bean bags. Both transfer and retention analyses showed that subjects in the random practice condition exhibited less error than subjects in either the blocked or serial practice conditions. However, these differences were not significant. Boys performed with significantly less error than girls on both transfer and retention, while regardless of gender, the heavier weighted bean bag resulted in significantly less error on transfer only. Results provide marginal support for the contention that greater contextual interference (random practice) leads to better transfer and retention than other types of practice conditions.

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Impact of After School Programming on Physical Activity Among Adolescents With Visual Impairments

Carlos M. Cervantes and David L. Porretta

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of an after school physical activity intervention on adolescents with visual impairments within the context of Social Cognitive Theory. Four adolescents with visual impairments (1 female, 3 males) between 14 and 19 years of age from a residential school for the blind served as participants. We used a range-bound changing criterion single-subject design. Physical activity was measured using ActiGraph accelerometers. Questionnaires were used to obtain information on selected social cognitive theory constructs. Results show that the intervention exerted functional control over the target behaviors (e.g., leisure-time physical activity) during intervention phases. Similarly, changes in scores for selected social cognitive constructs, in particular for outcome expectancy value, suggest a positive relationship between those constructs and physical activity behavior. No maintenance effects were observed.

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Physical Activity Levels of Students with Mental Retardation and Students Without Disabilities

Jennifer Faison-Hodge and David L. Porretta

This study compared physical education and recess physical activity levels of elementary school age students with mild mental retardation (MR) and students without disabilities who possessed either high or low cardiorespiratory fitness. For this study, the System for Observing Fitness Instructional Time (SOFIT), a measure of physical activity, was validated for students with mild MR. A significant difference for moderate to vigorous physical activity was obtained between settings. Findings suggest that students with MR and those without disabilities were more active during recess than during physical education. Students with mild MR and those with low cardiorespiratory fitness performed similarly in both the physical education and recess settings.

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APAQ at Twenty: A Documentary Analysis

David L. Porretta and Claudine Sherrill

This paper reports both the contents and key developmental activities of Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly over its second decade of publication (1994-2003). The first section describes the contents of Volumes 11-20 relative to the number of articles by journal section, science area, disability category, and country. These data are compared to selected data reported for the journal’s first decade (1984-1993) of publication by Reid and Broadhead (1995). The second section describes developmental activities pertaining to enhancing the journal’s international quality through selected writings, impact factor recognition, editorial board membership, and guest reviewer database development.

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Interscholastic Coaches’ Attitudes Toward Integration of Adolescents with Disabilities

Francis M. Kozub and David L. Porretta

The purpose of this study was to identify issues that may need to be addressed so that adolescents with disabilities are better integrated into interscholastic sports programs. The Coaches Attitude Toward Integration Questionnaire (CATIQ) was developed specifically to survey coaches’ attitudes about including adolescents with disabilities in interscholastic programs. After preliminary reliability checks were made and content validity established, the CATIQ was mailed to a random sample of 397 public school coaches. Results indicated that coaches tend to show agreement with the statement that adolescents with disabilities “have a right to sport opportunities” in interscholastic programs. However, coaches felt inadequately trained to address the needs of individuals with disabilities in integrated interscholastic sports settings.

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Sport/Leisure Skill Learning by Adolescents with Mild Mental Retardation: A Four-Step Strategy

Jin-Jin Yang and David L. Porretta

Based on Singer’s (1986) method, we investigated the effects of a four-step strategy (ready, look, do, score) on training, maintenance, and generalization of three closed skills (basketball free throw, overhand softball throw, and dart throw) by adolescents (M age = 17.2) with mild mental retardation (MR). A multiple baseline across skills design was used. Performances of 3 males and 3 females across these three skills were examined. Participants averaged a total of 46 sessions for the duration of the study. Results indicated that participants increased performance 18–56% across all three closed skills during the training phase. A total of 4 participants maintained performance on all three skills when reminders were present, and 2 decreased performance when the reminders were removed. All participants exhibited improved performance when a reinforcer was introduced. Moreover, 5 participants were able to generalize the four-step strategy to a different setting.

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Perceptions and Practices of Adapted Physical Educators on the Teaching of Social Skills

Amaury Samalot-Rivera and David L. Porretta

The purpose of this study was to determine adapted physical educators’ perceptions and practices about teaching social skills to students with disabilities. A questionnaire based on Bandura’s social learning theory concept of modeling was developed and mailed to an entire frame of 426 adapted physical education teachers in the state of Ohio. Face and content validity as well as test/retest reliability (0.89) were established. Of those that were surveyed, 53% (225 teachers; 148 females and 77 males) responded. Results indicate that 93% (209) believe it is important to explicitly teach social skills in PE; however, 60% (135) expressed not feeling properly prepared to teach them. Teachers with more than 20 years of teaching experience were more likely to actually teach social skills. When compared with other teachers with less years teaching, however, they identified a greater need for training in the teaching of social skills. Results are discussed relative to teacher preparation and practices as well as social skills taught for general education and community integration.