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.
Doug Collier and Greg Reid
The purpose of this investigation was to compare two instructional models designed to teach autistic children a bowling task. One strategy (referred to as the extra-stimulus prompt model) used extensive physical, visual, and verbal prompts while the second (referred to as the within-stimulus prompt model) minimized such prompts. With the theory of overselectivity, it was predicted that the within-stimulus prompt model would be the more effective. Both instructional models included a 14-level task analysis of bowling. Subjects were 6 autistic boys between the ages of 7 and 10 years. Group and time series designs were utilized; 3 subjects in each condition performed 332 trials of the task. The dependent variable was improvement on the bowling task as demonstrated by the task analytic level achieved by each subject. The student-teacher interaction was videotaped and assessed for number and types of prompts, reinforcement, and punishment. Nonparametric and visual analyses revealed that the extra-stimulus prompt group performed significantly better in bowling than did the within-stimulus prompt group. No differences occurred in reinforcement or punishment received.
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.