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E. Michael Loovis

Toy preference and associated gross and fine motor movements of preschool orthopedically handicapped children were evaluated in a free-play situation. Fifteen children between 3 and 5 years of age and representing two separate classes served as subjects. The study was conducted for 7 weeks in the subjects’ classroom. Sessions were scheduled 2 times per week in each class, each lasting 1 hour. Twenty toys were evaluated using a modified version of the procedure developed by the University of Kansas’ Living Environments Group. Measurement of movement behavior associated with toy play involved application of a movement glossary developed by the experimenter. A Wilcoxon two-sample rank test revealed no significant differences for either gender, age, or ambulation (ambulatory versus nonambulatory) in relation to toy preference or nature of movement demonstrated. Analysis revealed that subjects spent considerable time using toys in a manner which did not correspond to their design. It was recommended that orthopedically handicapped children might benefit from learning how to play under the direction of a parent, teacher, or similar individual.

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E. Michael Loovis

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E. Michael Loovis and Vincent Melograno

Staff development is essential for physical educators who teach students with disabilities in the regular program. In the past, in-service providers were primarily concerned with assessment procedures, curriculum content, and teaching methodology. These same professionals failed to acknowledge the importance of various issues and concerns (e.g., school district policies, procedures, and practices) when planning and conducting staff development. Content covered in this paper includes (a) issues and concerns that affect what teachers learn in staff development programs, (b) use of established group process techniques (Nominal Group Technique and Interpretive Structural Modeling) to identify issues and concerns that influence teachers’ abilities to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and (c) differences between teachers’ and administrators’ perceptions concerning which issues and concerns are important.

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Vincent J. Melograno and E. Michael Loovis

Results of comprehensive surveys (1980 and 1988) were compared relative to physical education for handicapped students. A direct, self-report methodology was used. Statewide (Ohio) samples of 241 (1980) and 242 (1988) physical education teachers participated. Data indicated that the status of physical education for handicapped students had remained the same. By 1988, only 14% of the teachers had contributed to a multidisciplinary staff for developing IEPs. Teachers’ lack of knowledge of PL 94-142 was revealed in both years, and interest in teaching handicapped students was no better than “neutral/mixed” (1988). A majority of teachers in 1980 and 1988 indicated a general need for assistance in motor behavior assessments. By 1988 a majority of teachers (51%) had not received encouragement/support from their administration. In both years, over 75% believed that handicapped students are excluded from participation in physical education due to “nature of handicap” and “functional ability.” Overall, results in 1980 were reaffirmed in 1988. Teachers lacked the ability to provide appropriate physical education for handicapped students.

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Ken Pitetti, Ruth Ann Miller and E. Michael Loovis

Male youth (8–18 years) with intellectual disability (ID) demonstrate motor proficiency below age-related competence capacities for typically developing youth. Whether below-criteria motor proficiency also exists for females with ID is not known. The purpose of this study was to determine if sex-specific differences exist in motor proficiency for youth with ID. The Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency was used to measure motor proficiency: six items for upper limb coordination, seven items for balance, and six items for bilateral coordination. One hundred and seventy-two (172) males and 85 females with ID but without Down syndrome were divided into five age groups for comparative purposes: 8–10, 11–12, 13–14, 15–16, and 17–21 years. Males scored sufficiently higher than females to suggest that sex data should not be combined to established Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency standards for upper limb coordination, balance, and bilateral coordination subtests.

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Rose M. Angell, Stephen A. Butterfield, Shihfen Tu, E. Michael Loovis, Craig A. Mason and Christopher J. Nightingale

Object control skills (OCS) provide children the means to be physically active. However, gender equality in some OCS remains elusive. Particularly troublesome is the basic throwing pattern and, by extension, the striking pattern, both of which rely on forceful, rapid rotation of the pelvis, trunk, and shoulders. Some scholars argue that sex differences in throwing and striking are rooted in human evolution. The purpose of this study was to examine development of throwing and striking at the fundamental movement level. The design was multi-cohort sequential: 280 boys and girls grades K–8 (ages 4–15) were tested up to three times per year for 5 years on the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD-2). Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was applied to analyze individual growth curves. As anticipated, significant (p < .001) age-related gains were found for throwing and striking. In terms of sex (biology) or gender (sociocultural) differences, boys performed better longitudinally at throwing (p < .05) and striking (p < .05). These results reinforce theories that girls may be disadvantaged in achieving proficiency in throwing and striking. Interventions designed to enhance development of these skills should be in place long before grade 4, when most physical education curricula transitions to games and sports.