Edited by Greg Reid
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.
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.
Greg Reid and Heidi Stanish
Adapted physical activity has debated its professional and disciplinary status, but agreement has not been achieved. As a means of objectively evaluating the field for evidence of discipline status, the contents of APAQ (all issues between 1984-2000) and Clinical Kinesiology (1991-2000) were reviewed and compared against four criteria of a discipline: unique knowledge base, methodology, theoretical framework, and terminology. The review indicated that adapted physical activity has a distinct knowledge base but borrows considerable terminology, research methodology, and theory from allied fields. This is likely a reflection of our history, which has been tied to medicine, kinesiology, physical and special education, and some therapies. We conclude that adapted physical activity is a professional field of study with a crossdisciplinary knowledge base, rather than a discipline in its own right.
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.
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.