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.
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
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.
Brian Morin and Greg Reid
Previous descriptions of the motor performance of autistic persons have often confounded autism and mental retardation. Therefore, this study compared high functioning autistic individuals to functionally retarded subjects matched closely on chronological age and measured intelligence. Quantitative and qualitative scores for balance, throwing, catching, jumping, and running test items were obtained in a formal testing situation. Also, for autistic subjects, the relationship between qualitative performance on the formal test items and the quality of motor patterns elicited during guided play was determined. It was concluded that the selected test items generally represented reliable indices of the motor performance of autistic persons and that performance during formal testing essentially mirrored that of guided play. While there was some trend toward inferior qualitative scores by autistic individuals compared to their matched counterparts, there were no meaningful quantitative differences between the groups. It is possible that the poor motor performance associated with autism is largely a factor of mental retardation.
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.