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Claudia Emes, Patti Longmuir and Peter Downs

Adapted physical activity professionals have embraced for some time the concept of a nonmedical model; however, traditional approaches in service delivery continue to exist. Abilities-based is not a model for service delivery; it is an approach that offers a new perspective that is based on person-centerdness, openness, and compatibility. The focus is on the person in a learning situation, not the disability, not the activity, and not the environment. Although these factors cannot be ignored, emphasis in an ability-based approach shifts to the person. Attitude within and toward service delivery is the critical point of departure in the abilities-based approach. This article discusses demystifying disability and building positive attitudes as features of this approach. It then discusses the influence of this approach on how we prepare future professionals of adapted physical activity, and it concludes with an example of an abilities-based program.

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Dianne S. Ward, Oded Bar-Or, Patti Longmuir and Karen Smith

Seventeen individuals (ages 11–30 years), all wheelchair users, were classified as active or sedentary. Peak mechanical power, heart rate (HR), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were determined during continuous, incremental all-out arm ergometry. Subjects were asked to wheel on an oval track at prescribed speeds, and one month later they repeated this task. All subjects could distinguish among prescriptions, as judged from HR and wheeling velocities. However, the active subjects chose higher speeds (by 0.8–1.3 m/s), a wider range of speeds, and could better distinguish among sequential RPE levels than did the sedentary subjects. All subjects chose wheeling velocities higher than expected from their originally established HR-on-RPE regression. One-month retention was high and similar between groups. Individuals who use wheelchairs can discriminate among wheeling intensities as prescribed using the RPE scale and have excellent retention for at least one month.