The COVID-19 pandemic is a worldwide crisis. It has been, and is, an extreme challenge for our health care and prevention systems, and for society as a whole. Among many facets of life, physical activity and sport has been heavily impacted. The aim of this viewpoint article is to highlight the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals with an intellectual disability, with a particular focus on physical activity and Special Olympics. Specific objectives are (a) to share what the literature reveals about the impact of COVID-19 on the health and well-being of individuals with an intellectual disability, (b) to examine what is known about the impact of the pandemic on physical activity of individuals with an intellectual disability, (c) to describe Special Olympics program responses during the pandemic, and (d) to recommend areas for future research.
Viviene A Temple
Viviene A. Temple and John T. Foley
The development of motor skill proficiency during childhood is cumulative and influenced by physical growth and maturation, genetic potential, affordances in the physical and social environment, and the interactions between these factors. Therefore, typically during childhood, the trajectory of change in motor proficiency is positive. To lend developmental validity to the revision of the Test of Gross Motor Development—3rd edition (TGMD-3), this longitudinal study examined whether the skills and subtests of the TGMD-3 changed as might be expected from grade 3 to grade 4 among 277 children. The findings of this study lend support to the developmental validity of the TGMD-3 in that (1) there was within-individual change in the expected direction for both locomotor and ball skills, (2) consistent with the majority of research, boys had significantly higher ball skills scores than girls in both grade 3 and grade 4, and (3) the mean percent of maximum possible scores were in the range of approximately 60–75, which demonstrates that the majority of 8- and 9-year-old children had not reached a ceiling on this test.
Viviene A. Temple and Jeff W. Walkley
The purpose was to describe the engagement of students with mild intellectual disabilities (MID) and their nondisabled peers (NDP) in regular physical education lessons and to determine whether this varied with gender, grade, or disability. Participants were 24 students with MID and 48 NDP Data on student behavior were gathered using an Academic Learning Time—Physical Education (ALT-PE) systematic observation instrument. Each lesson, including one student with MID and two same-gender NDP, was observed on five occasions (120 total). Data from primary and secondary levels were pooled. A MANOVA with PE Time, PE Engaged, Motor Engaged (ME), and Motor Appropriate (MA) as dependent measures revealed significant main effects for disability and gender. Follow-up analyses disclosed that the only difference between boys and girls was PE Time and that engagement level showed no difference. Students with MID spent significantly less time (p ≤ .01) than NDPs at each level.
Stephanie C. Field, Christina B. Esposito Bosma, and Viviene A. Temple
When a test is revised, it is important that test users are made aware of the comparability of scores of the new and the original test. We examined how scores on the Test of Gross Motor Development–Second Edition (TGMD-2) and Test of Gross Motor Development–Third Edition (TGMD-3) compared among children in middle childhood. Participants were 270 children recruited in grade 3 (54% female; M age = 8 years 6 months) and followed through grade 5. Participants completed the skills of both tests. Subtest scores were converted into percent of maximum possible (POMP) scores to facilitate comparison. Although similar, uniformly the TGMD-3 POMP scores were slightly lower. Repeated measures analyses of variance revealed that locomotor subtest scores derived from both tests improved from grade 3 to grade 5, as did TGMD-3 assessed ball skills. However, there was no difference in TGMD-2 assessed object control skills over time. It appears that under-contribution by the underhand roll suppressed the trajectory of improvement of TGMD-2 assessed object control skills. This finding supports the exclusion of the roll from the TGMD-3. The consistent pattern of sex-based differences in TGMD-2 object control skill and TGMD-3 ball skills reinforces the need for male and female norm-reference data for ball skills.
Sandra L. Gibbons, Viviene A. Temple, and Louise Humbert
It is well documented that many young women become discontented with physical education in their high school years. The purpose of this investigation was to gain insight into the characteristics of nine senior elective physical education courses that were specifically designed to accommodate the needs and interests of female students. Data collection methods included focus group interviews with students; individual interviews with teachers; and analysis of course documents. The following themes are presented: (a) choice in what to learn and how to learn it; (b) all-female learning environment; (c) lifetime physical activities; (d) personalized assessment; and (e) responsive and flexible planning. Findings offer considerations for the development of physical education curricula that will gain and hold the interest of female high school students.
Bernadette L. Foster, Jeff W. Walkley, and Viviene A. Temple
The purpose of this study was to describe and compare the bone mineral density of women with intellectual disability (WID) and a comparison group (WOID) matched for age and sex. One hundred and five women, ages 21 to 39, M = 29, were tested for their bone mineral density levels at the lumbar spine and three sites of the proximal femur using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. No significant difference between groups existed (λ = 0.94, F(4, 98) = 1.68, p = .16, η2 = .06); however, one-sample t tests revealed that bone mineral density for the WID group (n = 35) was significantly lower than zero at the Ward’s triangle (p < .01) and the lumbar spine (p < .05). Approximately one-quarter of WID had low bone density at these two sites, suggesting that WID may be at risk of osteoporotic fracture as they age.
John T. Foley, Meghann Lloyd, and Viviene A. Temple
This study examined temporal trends in body mass index (BMI) among United States adults with intellectual disability (ID) participating in Special Olympics from 2005 to 2010. In addition, the prevalence of obesity was compared with published National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) statistics. After data cleaning, 6,004 height and weight records (male = 57%) were available from the Special Olympics International Healthy Athletes Health Promotion database for the calculation of BMI. Rates of overweight and obesity were very high but generally stable over time. Compared with NHANES statistics, the prevalence of obesity was significantly higher for Special Olympics female participants in each data collection cycle. Integrated efforts to understand the social, environmental, behavioral, and biological determinants of obesity and among Special Olympics participants are needed.
Georgia C. Frey, Heidi I. Stanish, and Viviene A. Temple
This review characterizes physical activity behavior in youth with intellectual disability (ID) and identifies limitations in the published research. Keyword searches were used to identify articles from MEDLINE, EBSCOhost Research Databases, Psych Articles, Health Source, and SPORT Discus, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses up to June 2007. Data were extracted from each study using a template of key items that included participant population, study design, data source, and outcome measure. Nineteen manuscripts met the inclusion criteria. Findings were mixed, with various studies indicating that youth with ID have lower, similar, and higher physical activity levels than peers without disabilities. Only two studies provided enough information to determine that some youth with ID were meeting minimum physical activity standards. Significant methodological limitations prohibit clear conclusions regarding physical activity in youth with ID.
Elnaz Emadirad, Brad W.N. Temple, Stephanie C. Field, Patti-Jean Naylor, and Viviene A. Temple
Background: Beyond the often examined perceptions of competence and motor skill proficiency, perceived value and children’s expectations for success are thought to affect engagement in physical activities. We used parallel mediation models to examine the direct effect of motor skill proficiency on participation in physical activities, as well as whether children’s beliefs and value for physical activities mediated this relationship. Methods: The participants in this cross-sectional study were a total of 398 grade 3 children (201 girls) from 8 schools. Motor skills were assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development-2, the Value Expectancy Questionnaire measured the psychological variables, and the Children’s Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment measured physical activities. Results: Motor skill proficiency predicted all 3 psychological constructs for the boys and the girls, and boys’ participation in physical activities. However, the psychological variables did not mediate the relationship between motor skills and participation among the boys. For the girls, task value mediated the relationship between motor skills and physical activity participation. Conclusion: It is possible that the girls are further along in their ability to reflect on their competence, successes, and failures; it is also possible that the lower motor skill levels of girls had a deleterious effect on their feelings about participating.