Physical activity participation of persons with disabilities might be enhanced by careful application of motor behavior research to instructional settings. However, it is argued that this research is not easily stated in terms that are useful to practitioners. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between theoretical research and practice, and to suggest research strategies that will translate findings into helpful information for instruction. A number of applied research strategies are proposed, intended to gradually move from laboratory-inspired problems to issues applicable in typical instructional settings. These strategies include a clear conceptual rationale for including people with disabilities in the research, task modifications, a powerful initial study, replications, investigating interactions, conducting comparative studies, modifying the unit of analysis, generalization, and instructional considerations.
Edited by Greg Reid
Four types of motor behavior research that include special populations are described. These research areas are descriptive, program effectiveness, theory generalization, and theory construction. In addition, three levels of applied and basic research outlined by Christina (in press) are described and juxtaposed to the four types of motor behavior research. Current trends and potential areas of inquiry are highlighted in each. In particular, Christina’s Level 2 applied research is considered attractive for adapted physical activity researchers, as it is theory-driven with relevant tasks and fiinctional settings and may therefore contribute to a growing professional literature.
Thomas Kourtessis and Greg Reid
Knowledge and skill of ball catching was assessed in 16 children with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities (CPPD) and 16 nondisabled children, ages 6 through 12 years. Skill was measured by 15 ball-catching tasks. As expected, nondisabled children demonstrated higher scores in ball catching than children with CPPD. Higher scores in ball catching also were shown by older nondisabled children compared to their younger nondisabled peers, as well as by ambulatory children with CPPD compared to their nonambulatory peers. Knowledge of factors influencing ball catching was assessed by a 14-item multiple choice questionnaire. The two groups exhibited very similar knowledge of ball catching. Moreover, no differences regarding knowledge were found between older and younger nondisabled children or between ambulatory and nonambulatory children with CPPD. Within the limitations of this study, it was suggested that skill and knowledge do not develop at the same rate, and a deficit in skill does not necessarily mean that a deficit in knowledge about the activity exists.
Greg Reid and Andrea Prupas
Seven research priorities for disability sport were identified by the Committee on Sports for the Disabled, of the U.S. Olympic Committee (DePauw, 1986). The purpose of the present article is to assess progress achieved in each priority area. Electronic and manual searches of journals from 1986 to 1996 produced 436 articles. They were categorized into the seven priorities and subdivided as data-based research or review publications. There was a distinct disparity of output across the seven areas, some attracting only scant attention from the scientific community. With 149 articles, the legal/philosophical/historical priority was most common. When publications were analyzed according to disability category, the majority were nonspecific; that is, they addressed the more general athlete with a disability. It was concluded that the disability sport community should reassess the seven priorities, identify new areas, and seek ways to foster high priority research.
Carole Lefebvre and Greg Reid
This study aimed to determine how predicting ability in ball catching changes with age and to explore this among children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) as judged by performance on the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (Henderson & Sugden, 1992) and by clinical evaluation. In Experiment 1, participants were 157 non-DCD children, age 5-12. In Experiment 2, 46 participants (age 5-7) from Experiment 1 were controls for 40 same-age children with a DCD. In Experiment 1, younger children (age 5-6) did not predict ball flight as well as older groups at short viewing times, and girls did not predict as well as boys. In Experiment 2, DCD children predicted more poorly at most viewing times compared to non-DCD peers. It was concluded that age and gender are crucial factors in predicting ball flight and that predicting ability is a fundamental problem in catching for younger, female, and DCD children.