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Camilla Yuri Kawanishi and Márcia Greguol

This study aimed to perform a systematic review of studies that address the influence of physical activity on the quality of life and functional independence of adult individuals with spinal cord injury. The review was performed using data obtained from the MEDLINE, CINAHL, SciELO, LILACS, SPORTDiscus, Web of Science, Academic Search Premier, and PEDro databases using the following keywords: quality of life; functional independence; autonomy; independence; physical activity; activities of daily living; physical exercise; tetraplegia; paraplegia; spinal cord injury; physical disabilities; and wheelchair. Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria. Although there was a lack of consensus among the selected studies, the majority of them presented a strong correlation between physical activity and variables of quality of life and/or functional independence. Thus, physical activity appears to have an important influence on social relationships, functional independence, psychological factors, and physical aspects, which can enhance quality of life and independence in the performance of daily activities.

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Miriam Getz, Yeshayahu Hutzler and Adri Vermeer

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between motor performance in the aquatic setting as measured by the Aquatic Independence Measure (AIM) to motor performance on land as measured by the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM) and the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI). Fourty- nine children with neuro-motor impairments ages 3 to 7 participated in the study. Pearson correlations were applied to determine the relationships between the AIM and the GMFM, PEDI, and Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS). Significant correlations were found between the total AIM and GMFM scores (r = 69, p < .01) and PEDI self-care sub-scale (r = .79, p < .01) as well as the PEDI mobility sub-scale scores (r = .35, p < .05). The water adjustment sub-scale as measured by the AIM showed the strongest relationship to motor performance on land as measured by the GMFM and PEDI in our sample of 49 children.

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Cindy K. Piletic

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Keith R. Johnston, Donna L. Goodwin and Jennifer Leo

Dignity, as an essential quality of being human, has been overlooked in exercise contexts. The aim of this interpretative phenomenological study was to understand the meaning of dignity and its importance to exercise participation. The experiences of 21 adults (11 women and 10 men) from 19 to 65 yr of age who experience disability, who attended a specialized community exercise facility, were gathered using the methods of focus-group and one-on-one interviews, visual images, and field notes. The thematic analysis revealed 4 themes: the comfort of feeling welcome, perceptions of otherness, negotiating public spaces, and lost autonomy. Dignity was subjectively understood and nurtured through the respect of others. Indignities occurred when enacted social and cultural norms brought dignity to consciousness through humiliation or removal of autonomy. The specialized exercise environment promoted self-worth and positive self-beliefs through shared life experiences and a norm of respect.

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Donna L. Goodwin and Kerri Staples

The purpose of the study was to capture the meaning of segregated summer camp experiences to youths with disabilities. The experiences of nine youths with physical, sensory, or behavioral disabilities between the ages of 14 and 19 were captured using the phenomenological methods of semistructured interviews, document review, and field notes. Mothers’ perceptions were also gathered. The thematic analysis revealed three themes: not alone, independence, and a chance to discover. Camp experiences provided a reprieve from perceptions of disability isolation often felt in their home communities. The campers experienced increased self-reliance, independence, and new understandings of their physical potential. The findings are discussed within the context of identity development and therapeutic landscapes.

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Lauriece L. Zittel and Jeffrey A. McCubbin

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of an integrated physical education setting on the motor performance of preschool children with developmental delays. Subjects participated in segregated and integrated physical education classes and were observed practicing locomotor and object control skills. The quality of performance was analyzed to determine the number of critical elements present and the level of teacher or peer prompt required to initiate and complete each performance. A single-subject reversal design (A-B-A-B) was used. Four children with developmental delays were filmed within an 8-week school schedule while practicing two fundamental gross motor skills during segregated and integrated conditions. The results provide evidence that children with developmental delays are able to maintain their level of gross motor skill and independence within an integrated physical education setting. Although day-to-day variability was calculated for each subject, overall skill level remained stable and level of independence was not compromised in the integrated setting.

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Donna L. Goodwin

The purpose of this study was to describe the meaning of help in physical education as perceived by students with physical disabilities. The experiences of early, middle, and late elementary school aged students (n = 12) were captured using the phenomenological methods of individual and focus group interviews, field notes, and visual artifacts. The thematic analysis revealed that interactions were perceived as self-supporting or self-threatening. Self-supporting behaviors were instrumental, caring, or consensual in form, while self-threatening behaviors resulted in a loss of independence, concerns for self-esteem, or restricted participation. Participant responses to the helping behaviors became more complex with age. Instrumental and caring assistance emerged across all groups as did loss of independence and concerns for self-esteem. The older participants experienced restricted participation and consensual help. The implications of helping behavior on motivation and dependency states are discussed within the framework of threat to self-esteem theory.

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Donna L. Goodwin, David A. Fitzpatrick, Robin Thurmeier and Carol Hall

This phenomenological study explored the decision-making experience of parents whose children joined Special Olympics programs. The experiences of 16 families with children 10-22 years old were gathered through interviews, artifacts, and field notes. Three themes emerged from the thematic analysis (a) thoughtful instruction, (b) finding the fit, and (c) security of acceptance. Parents sought instructors who were interested in building relationships with their children and creating anxiety-free instructional environments for them. A good program fit occurred when instructors had expectations for motor skill development and increased independence. Parents also preferred environments that encouraged meaningful peer interactions. The findings were interpreted within the context of self-determination theory.

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Garry D. Wheeler

The biological area of adapted physical activity research has traditionally been dominated by the positivist or rational empirical paradigm, or the scientific method. Underlying assumptions of the inquirer and inquired’s objectivity and independence have generated much criticism. Researchers have argued that the scientific method produces an impoverished view of reality and that claims to an objective and value-free stance are ideological and mythical. Critique of rational-empiricism, the scientific method, present science, or the received-view may be understood at three levels: intraparadigmatic, extraparadigmatic, and intramethod. Dr. Shephard (1998) addresses the latter in his paper and as such, his is a method-based approach. A methodological analysis, however, requires examining the underlying tacit assumptions of the scientific method. In this paper, critique of the scientific method is offered and justification of the critique examined. Proposed alternatives include an expansionist view of research, inclusion of subjective elements, triangulated designs, and empowerment of subjects.

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Ana I. Sousa, Rui Corredeira and Ana L. Pereira

This study reports on a comparison of how two different groups of people with an amputation view their bodies and perceive how others view them. One group has a history of sport participation, while the other has not. The analysis is based on 14 semistructured interviews with people with amputations: 7 were engaged in sport and 7 were not. The following themes emerged: Body, Prosthesis, Independence, Human Person, and Social Barriers. One could conclude that participation in sport influences how people with an amputation perceive their body as they live with their body in a more positive way and they better accept their new body condition and their being-in-the-world. The social barriers that people with an amputation have to face daily were evident, and one of the most significant ideas was the importance of being recognized and treated as a person and not as a person with a disability.