Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Celina Shirazipour, and Krystn Orr
Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos and Kathleen A. Martin Ginis
This study descriptively measured the universal accessibility of “accessible” fitness and recreational facilities for Ontarians living with mobility disabilities. The physical and social environments of 44 fitness and recreational facilities that identified as “accessible” were assessed using a modified version of the AIMFREE. None of the 44 facilities were completely accessible. Mean accessibility ratings ranged between 31 and 63 out of a possible 100. Overall, recreational facilities had higher accessibility scores than fitness centers, with significant differences found on professional support and training, entrance areas, and parking lot. A modest correlation was found between the availability of fitness programming and the overall accessibility of fitness-center specific facility areas. Overall, the physical and social environments of the 44 fitness and recreational facilities assessed were limited in their accessibility for persons with mobility disabilities. Future efforts should be directed at establishing and meeting universal accessibility guidelines for Canadian physical activity facilities.
Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Raktim Mitra, Ritu Sharma, and Sarah A. Moore
This study explored the association between socioecological factors and outdoor physical activity (PA) and play in children with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents (N = 133) completed a survey to report changes in their child’s outdoor PA and play during the pandemic (from prepandemic levels), and child, household, and neighborhood environment factors. Children with a PA-supporting parent and from multichild and White households had lower odds of reporting decreased outdoor PA. Children from multichild, higher income, married couple households and a PA-supporting parent had lower odds of decreased outdoor play. Living in neighborhoods with higher urbanization (i.e., high dwelling density, street intersections, and land-use mix) was associated with greater odds of decreased outdoor PA and play. Future research that uses larger and more representative samples of children with disabilities is needed to test for the multivariate effects of socioecological variables on outdoor PA and play.
Samantha J.D. Jeske, Lawrence R. Brawley, and Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos
Videoconferencing is a novel method for overcoming time and transportation barriers to leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) interventions. This study examined the feasibility of a group videoconference intervention on LTPA self-regulatory skills training in a sample of nine adults with spinal cord injury (SCI). Session implementation checklists and self-report surveys were administered during four weekly sessions to assess intervention management, group processes, intervention resources, and initial efficacy. Attendance rate was high (91.7%), and the average weekly session duration was 79.6 min. Participants reported high ratings of group cohesion, facilitator collaboration, session content comprehension, and ease in operating the videoconference platform. Knowledge sharing among the group ranged from 18 to 58 exchanges per session, demonstrating learning and group cohesion. LTPA frequency increased among 44% of participants, and 22% of participants achieved the SCI-specific aerobic guidelines. Overall, group videoconferencing holds promise for LTPA support among adults with SCI. Long-term research is warranted to test LTPA self-regulatory and behavioral effects.
Krystn Orr, M. Blair Evans, Katherine A. Tamminen, and Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos
For individuals with an intellectual disability, emerging adulthood (18–25 years) may be a disruptive time with an abrupt ending to programming and services after adolescence. This study critically explores the social environment and experiences of individuals involved in a Special Olympics paddling program for emerging adult athletes with an intellectual disability. Using an instrumental case study design, multiple qualitative methods were implemented including photography, videography, observations, and interviews. The participants included four athletes (one female and three male; three with autism spectrum disorder, one with mild intellectual disability), three fathers, a coach, a program coordinator, and an administrator. Analyses were guided by interpretivism and the quality parasport participation framework. The findings highlight how the limited staff training and preparation, the complexity of providing such a program, and parental hidden labor in their adult children’s sport involvement influence the social environment. Implications for coaching practices include the importance of communication strategies and coach education.
Krystn Orr, Katherine A. Tamminen, Shane N. Sweet, Jennifer R. Tomasone, and Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos
This study was guided by self-determination theory to explore the sport experiences of youth with a physical disability and the role of peers within this context. Interviews were conducted with eight youths using a relational mapping technique and analyzed using a deductive thematic approach. Sport peers were broadly defined by the youth as individuals from a large age range and of all abilities. Youth perceived their sport peers to have dynamic roles throughout their participation in sport. The perceived roles of these sport peers included supporting and thwarting basic psychological needs, and influencing the youths’ processing of sport internalization. Findings focus on the complexity of peer need-thwarting and need-supporting interactions in sport for youth with physical disabilities. Overall, peers have a multifaceted role in the sport experiences of youth identifying with a physical disability and may, in some cases, thwart youths’ basic psychological needs.
Emily Bremer, Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Brianna Tsui, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis, Sarah A. Moore, Krista L. Best, and Christine Voss
Purpose: To examine the feasibility and utility of the Fitbit Charge HR to estimate physical activity among ambulatory children and youth with disabilities. Method: Participants (4–17 y old) with disabilities were recruited and asked to wear a Fitbit for 28 days. Feasibility was assessed as the number of participants who adhered to the 28-day protocol. Heat maps were generated to visually examine variability in step count by age, gender, and disability group. Between-group differences for wear time and step counts by age, gender, and disability type were assessed by independent sample t tests for gender and disability group, and a 1-way analysis of variance for age group. Results: Participants (N = 157; median age = 10 y; 71% boys; 71% nonphysical disabilities) averaged 21 valid days of wear time. Wear time was higher in girls than boys (mean difference = 18.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 6.8 to 29.1), and in preadolescents (mean difference = 27.6; 95% CI, 15.5 to 39.7) and adolescents (mean difference = −21.2; 95% CI, −33.6 to −8.7) than children. More daily steps were taken by boys than girls (mean difference = −1040; 95% CI, −1465 to −615) and individuals with a nonphysical disability than a physical disability (mean difference = −1120; 95% CI, −1474 to −765). The heat maps showed peaks in physical activity on weekdays before school, at recess, lunchtime, and after school. Conclusion: The Fitbit is a feasible tool for monitoring physical activity among ambulatory children and youth with disabilities and may be useful for population-level surveillance and intervention.
Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Natasha Bruno, Krystn Orr, Roxy O’Rourke, Virginia Wright, Rebecca Renwick, Kirsten Bobbie, and James Noronha
This cross-sectional study examined experiential elements facilitating quality sport experiences for youth (ages 12–24 years) in Special Olympics, and the associated influences of sport program and sociodemographic characteristics. A total of 451 athletes involved in the 2019 Special Olympics Youth Games completed a survey assessing elements of quality participation (autonomy, belongingness, challenge, engagement, mastery, and meaning). The t tests investigated whether athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities rated elements differently across Traditional and Unified Sport programs. Regression analyses explored whether sport program and sociodemographic characteristics were predictors of these elements. Youth reported high mean scores across the elements, with no significant differences between athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Traditional or Unified Sport. Athletes with no reported disability rated higher autonomy than those who reported disability (p = .01). Women tended to report greater engagement in sport than men (p = .07). Findings provide theoretical and practical insights into quality sport participation among youth in Special Olympics.
Laura C. Koch, Shane N. Sweet, Kristiann E. Man, Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Krystn Orr, Andrea Bundon, Amy E. Latimer-Cheung, and Jennifer R. Tomasone
Community-based exercise programs for persons with disabilities promote greater quantity of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) participation among their members, perhaps because of the quality experiences fostered by the program. This study aimed to explore the relationship between quality and quantity of physical activity participation in the context of community-based exercise programming and the role that gender plays in this relationship. Adults with physical disabilities (N = 91; M age = 55, 49 men) from three community-based exercise programs across Canada completed a survey asking about quality participation (Measure of Experiential Aspects of Participation [MeEAP]) and LTPA. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the relationship between MeEAP scores and LTPA. Quality participation was not related to LTPA, even with gender included as a moderator. Men reported higher levels of LTPA and quality participation than women, highlighting gender differences that should be considered when researching and designing exercise programs for individuals with disabilities.
Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Viviane Grassmann, Krystn Orr, Amy C. McPherson, Guy E. Faulkner, and F. Virginia Wright
The objective of this study was to comprehensively evaluate inclusive out-of-school time physical activity programs for children/youth with physical disabilities. A search of the published literature was conducted and augmented by international expertise. A quality appraisal was conducted; only studies with quality ratings ≥60% informed our best practice recommendations. Seventeen studies were included using qualitative (n = 9), quantitative (n = 5), or mixed (n = 3) designs. Programs had a diversity of age groups, group sizes, and durations. Most programs were recreational level, involving both genders. Rehabilitation staff were the most common leaders. Outcomes focused on social skills/relationships, physical skill development, and psychological well-being, with overall positive effects shown in these areas. The best practice recommendations are consistent with an abilities-based approach emphasizing common group goals and interests; cooperative activities; mastery-oriented, individualized instruction; and developmentally appropriate, challenging activities. Results indicate that inclusive out-of-school time physical activity programs are important for positive psychosocial and physical skill development of children/youth with physical disabilities.