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Øyvind Standal and Gro Rugseth

The purpose of this study was to investigate what adapted physical activity (APA) students learn from their practicum experiences. One cohort of APA students participated, and data were generated from an action research project that included observations, reflective journals, and a focus group interview. The theoretical framework for the study was Dewey’s and Wackerhausen’s theories of reflections. The findings show the objects of students’ reflections, the kind of conceptual resources they draw on while reflecting, and their knowledge interests. In addition, two paradoxes are identified: the tension between reflecting from and on own values, and how practicum as a valued experience of reality can become too difficult to handle. In conclusion, we reflect on how practicum learning can be facilitated.

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øyvind F. Standal and Ejgil Jespersen

The purpose of this study was to investigate the learning that takes place when people with disabilities interact in a rehabilitation context. Data were generated through in-depth interviews and close observations in a 2½ week-long rehabilitation program, where the participants learned both wheelchair skills and adapted physical activities. The findings from the qualitative data analysis are discussed in the context of situated learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998). The results indicate that peer learning extends beyond skills and techniques, to include ways for the participants to make sense of their situations as wheelchair users. Also, it was found that the community of practice established between the participants represented a critical corrective to instructions provided by rehabilitation professionals.

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Judy Potter Chandler and J. Leon Greene

The purpose of the study was to examine student placements, use of least restrictive environment (LRE) options, teachers’ perceived needs, curriculum content, and activity options in regular physical education (RPE) and adapted physical education (APE) during a period of restructuring from segregated to LRE placements. The Integration Status Questionnaire (ISQ) was used to obtain data with a return rate of 37% among RPE teachers and 78% among APE teachers. Of the 1,627 students receiving APE, 714 were being served in self-contained settings, with no reliable data available as to disability categories of children served or other LRE options being used. The majority of teachers in both groups had received general in-service training for inclusion, but only 4% had received in-service training specific to physical education content. The examination of curriculum content indicated that RPE teachers spent the majority of teaching time on sport skills and traditional games while APE teachers concentrated on sensory motor development and health-related fitness.

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James R. Whitehead

This project was a study of the validity and reliability of adapted versions of Fox and Corbin’s (10) Physical Self-Perception Profile (PSPP) and Perceived Importance Profile (PIP) for use with seventh- and eight-grade students. The Children’s PSPP and PIP (C-PSPP and C-PIP) questionnaires were completed by 505 students. Results supported the reliability and the construct and concurrent validity of the C-PSPP scales. Factorial validity of the C-PIP was not demonstrated. Similar to Fox and Corbin’s (10) results, regression analysis revealed that a large proportion of the variance in general physical selfworth (PSW) was explained by the C-PSPP scales. The hypothesis that PSW mediates between general self-worth (GSW) and the four C-PSPP scales in a hierarchical arrangement was also supported. Failure to psychologically discount the importance of perceived incompetence in specific areas impacted global self-worth. Correlations with physical fitness test scores provided evidence of concurrent validity of the C-PSPP scales.

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Emily Cole, Terry M. Wood and John M. Dunn

Tests constructed using item response theory (IRT) produce invariant item and test parameters, making it possible to construct tests and test items useful over many populations. This paper heuristically and empirically compares the utility of classical test theory (CTT) and IRT using psychomotor skill data. Data from the Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD) (Ulrich, 1985) were used to assess the feasibility of fitting existing IRT models to dichotomously scored psychomotor skill data. As expected, CTT and IRT analyses yielded parallel interpretations of item and subtest difficulty and discrimination. However, IRT provided significant additional analysis of the error associated with estimating examinee ability. The IRT two-parameter logistic model provided a superior model fit to the one-parameter logistic model. Although both TGMD subtests estimated ability for examinees of low to average ability, the object control subtest estimated examinee ability more precisely at higher difficulty levels than the locomotor subtest. The results suggest that IRT is particularly well suited to construct tests that can meet the challenging measurement demands of adapted physical education.

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Debbie Van Biesen, Joeri Verellen, Christophe Meyer, Jennifer Mactavish, Peter Van de Vliet and Yves Vanlandewijck

In this study the ability of elite table tennis players with intellectual disability (ID) to adapt their service/return to specific ball spin characteristics was investigated. This was done by examining the performance of 39 players with ID and a reference group of 8 players without ID on a standardized table tennis specific test battery. The battery included 16 sets of 15 identical serves that had to be returned to a fixed target, and two additional tests measuring reaction time and upper limb speed. A 2 × 4 ANOVA (with group and type of spin as independent variables) with repeated measurements (15 consecutive returns) supported the hypothesis that elite table tennis players with ID were significantly less proficient than their counterparts without ID, but both groups demonstrated a comparable progression in learning. Spearman correlation coefficients indicated a positive relationship between accuracy of return and upper limb speed (rho = 0.42: p < .05) and reaction time (rho = 0.41: p < .05), showing that these generic factors are useful in partially explaining skill variations in specific sports.

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I. Roy Hunter, Ronald P. Reynolds and M. Laura Williams

The purpose of this article is to introduce practitioners involved in the provision of adapted activity service to the elaboration model of data analysis. The authors contend that the use of the elaboration model for the analysis of program evaluation data: (a) can be used by activity specialists who do not have extensive training in statistics, and (b) can increase the potential for the production of empirically based programmatic recommendations from such data.

The example presented herein involves the secondary analysis of data collected during the evaluation of a child life activity program. The original study concluded that the children studied showed less regressive behavior on nights that the child life program was offered. The findings from the secondary analysis enabled the identification of children who were: (a) more likely to experience regressive behavior, and (b) more likely to be responsive to existing child life programs. It was concluded that the use of the elaboration model significantly increased the value of recommendations which were derived from the data.

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E.J. Watkinson and D.L. Wasson

The individualized nature of instructional programs for the mentally handicapped often makes group designs inappropriate in adapted physical activity research. Single-subject time-series designs are suitable for use in investigating the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of motor skills when the research involves small numbers of subjects. These designs require the collection of data before, and during or after treatment. Three single-subject time-series designs are described and illustrated with data from studies in the PREP Play Program, an instructional program for young mentally handicapped children at the University of Alberta. The simple time-series design has severe limitations for use as a research tool, but is appropriate for use by teachers or practitioners who are monitoring previously tested treatments in physical activity programs. The repeated time-series or reversal design can be used to investigate the maintenance or generalization of effects after treatments are withdrawn. The multiplebaseline design is recommended for researchers or practitioners who wish to assess the effects of instructional programs on different subjects or different dependent variables.

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Helen L. Rogers, Ronita L. Cromwell and James L. Grady

The study proposed to identify balance strategies used by younger and older adults during gait under proprioceptive, visual, and simultaneous proprioceptive-visual challenges. Participants ambulated under 4 conditions: consistent, noncompliant surface; inconsistent, compliant surface (C); consistent, noncompliant surface with vision obscured (NCVO); and inconsistent, compliant surface with vision obscured (CVO). Balance adaptations were measured as changes in gait velocity, cadence, and gait-stability ratio (GSR). Participants were 5 younger (mean age = 27.2) and 5 older (mean age = 68) healthy adults. Significant age differences were found for GSR (p = .03) on all surfaces. Older adults adopted a more stable gait pattern than younger adults regardless of the challenge presented by surface. Significant condition differences were found for velocity (p < .001) and cadence (p = .001). All participants exhibited significantly decreased velocity and increased cadence on surfaces C and CVO. Gait speed and cadence did not significantly change in NCVO. Younger and older adults exhibited similar adaptive balance strategies, slowing and increasing steps/s, under proprioceptive and proprioceptive-visual challenges to dynamic balance.

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Yvon Brenière

The principles of direct dynamics and oscillating systems have been used to study the development of gait parameters in children, with respect to their kinetic consequences on the oscillations of body center of mass (CM). In particular the equations established (a) a natural body frequency (NBF), a body parameter specific to oscillating movements which is invariant for adults and decreases with age for children, and (b) the amplitude ratio of CM to center-of-foot pressure (CP) oscillations as a parametric function of the step frequency, whose parameter is the NBF. This function was used to analyze the development of gait locomotors with respect to their kinetic effects on balance in the frontal plane. Five children were examined longitudinally during their first 5 years of independent walking (IW), and two cross-sectional groups between 5 and 7 years of IW were also considered. The results showed a shift toward the low end of step frequency bands as the NBF decreased along with in variances in the amplitudes of CM oscillation in both the frontal and sagittal planes, regardless of age and gait velocity. The biomechanical meaning of the NBF, of its decrease and of postural invariances associated with the decrease of the frequency, are discussed as well how the programming of locomotor parameters adapts to changes in body structure during gait development.