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Amaury Samalot-Rivera and David L. Porretta

The purpose of this study was to determine adapted physical educators’ perceptions and practices about teaching social skills to students with disabilities. A questionnaire based on Bandura’s social learning theory concept of modeling was developed and mailed to an entire frame of 426 adapted physical education teachers in the state of Ohio. Face and content validity as well as test/retest reliability (0.89) were established. Of those that were surveyed, 53% (225 teachers; 148 females and 77 males) responded. Results indicate that 93% (209) believe it is important to explicitly teach social skills in PE; however, 60% (135) expressed not feeling properly prepared to teach them. Teachers with more than 20 years of teaching experience were more likely to actually teach social skills. When compared with other teachers with less years teaching, however, they identified a greater need for training in the teaching of social skills. Results are discussed relative to teacher preparation and practices as well as social skills taught for general education and community integration.

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Megan MacDonald, Catherine Lord and Dale A. Ulrich

Motor skill deficits are present and persist in school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; Staples & Reid, 2010). Yet the focus of intervention is on core impairments, which are part of the diagnostic criteria for ASD, deficits in social communication skills. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the functional motor skills, of 6- to 15-year-old children with high-functioning ASD, predict success in standardized social communicative skills. It is hypothesized that children with better motor skills will have better social communicative skills. A total of 35 children with ASD between the ages of 6–15 years participated in this study. The univariate GLM (general linear model) tested the relationship of motor skills on social communicative skills holding constant age, IQ, ethnicity, gender, and clinical ASD diagnosis. Object-control motor skills significantly predicted calibrated ASD severity (p < .05). Children with weaker motor skills have greater social communicative skill deficits. How this relationship exists behaviorally, needs to be explored further.

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Homan Lee, Janice Causgrove Dunn and Nicholas L. Holt

The purpose of this study was to explore youth sport experiences of individuals with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Participants were 6 males (mean age = 22.7 yr) with ADHD who had played 3 or more seasons in team sports during adolescence. Following interpretive phenomenological analysis methodology, each participant completed 2 semistructured interviews. Findings showed that symptoms of ADHD hampered participants’ experiences and led to negative interpersonal and performance-related consequences. On the other hand, participants reported social and stress/energy-release benefits arising from their experiences in sport. Their experiences were therefore complex, and some findings relating to social interactions appeared contradictory (e.g., negative interpersonal experiences vs. social benefits). Supportive coaches, understanding teammates, and personal coping strategies were key factors that enabled participants to realize benefits and, to some degree, mitigate negative consequences associated with their participation in sport.

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Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Viviane Grassmann, Krystn Orr, Amy C. McPherson, Guy E. Faulkner and F. Virginia Wright

, after which two meetings and a series of online discussions were held to discuss the results. Based on these group discussions, the main outcomes of the included studies were categorized into four key areas of associated impact—social skills and relationships, physical skill development, psychological

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Emily Bremer and Meghann Lloyd

The purpose of this pilot study was to demonstrate the impact of a fundamentalmotor-skill (FMS) intervention on the motor skills of 3- to 7-year-old children with autism-like characteristics in an early intervention classroom. A secondary purpose was to qualitatively assess the impact of the program as described by the classroom’s special education teacher. All children in the classroom (N = 5) took part in an FMS intervention for two 6-wk blocks (fall 2013 and winter 2014). Motor-skill proficiency and social skills were assessed at 3 times: baseline, after Block 1 of the intervention, and after Block 2 of the intervention. In addition, an interview was conducted with the classroom teacher after Assessment 3 to draw further insights into the relative success and impact of the program. Results were analyzed through a visual analysis and presented individually. They indicated improvements in the participants’ individual FMS and social-skill scores, possible improvements in declarative knowledge, and an increase in the special education teacher’s readiness to teach FMS; further research with larger, controlled samples is warranted.

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Eva Hiu-Lun Tsai and Lena Fung

This study examined the experiences of parents of persons with intellectual disabilities (ID) as they sought inclusive sport participation for their children. To understand their experiences, in-depth interviews were conducted with 49 parents. Qualitative data analysis was conducted to identify common themes from the responses. The analysis showed that most parents sought inclusive sport involvement for their children but they soon gave up their effort due to rejection by staff and other participants. Underlying these attitudinal problems were a lack of quality contact between people with and without ID and a lack of understanding of people with ID. Parents’ lack of sense of entitlement, low sport values, and lack of participation information and opportunities also contributed to their giving up of inclusive sport. Factors leading to successful inclusion included staff inclusion attitudes and abilities and the social skills of individuals with ID.

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Kenneth J. Killian, Rosemary A. Joyce-Petrovich, Lucille Menna and Susan A. Arena

There is little objective evidence to support the belief that swimming is an enjoyable and valuable activity for autistic individuals. In this study, a checklist was used to record the responses of 37 autistic children and youth to water orientation and beginner swim activities. The data indicated that the autistic subjects responded in a predictable and apparently normal manner to a hierarchy of water skills. Also, the subjects displayed a low objection rate to water activities. Strong relationships (r = .95, p < .01) were shown between age and water orientation and also between prior experience and water orientation (r = .88, p < .01). The findings support the literature in that the majority of subjects responded well to, or at least tolerated, water activities. Swimming pool activities may offer potential learning opportunities for many autistic individuals and should be investigated further as an avenue for improving a variety of physical, academic, or social skills.

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Michelle Grenier

The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine an inclusive, third grade physical education class containing a child with severe cerebral palsy and a visual impairment from a social constructionist perspective. Data were collected from four primary sources over a six-month period: interviews, observations, document review, and journals. Boyzaitis’s (1998) five-step process was utilized in the data analysis, which uncovered three primary themes: the teacher’s belief in the development of social skills for students with and without disabilities, the teacher’s use of purposeful strategies to accommodate students with disabilities, and student learning shaped by personal experience. Student and teacher experiences were interpreted within the conceptual framework of social construction as a means of describing relevant and meaningful relationships.

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Katherine Riggen and Dale Ulrich

This study compared individuals with mental retardation participating in either a traditional segregated Special Olympic program or the new Unified Special Olympic program, which is integrated. The dependent variables of the study included self-perceptions of physical ability, social skills, and general self-worth. Actual physical abilities were also compared between the two groups. A control group not participating in sport programs was utilized. Self-perceptions were assessed with a modified version of the Perceived Competence Scale for Children (Harter, 1982). Cardiovascular fitness was estimated with the 1-mi run-walk (AAHPERD, 1984). Sport skills were assessed by use of a standard skills test routinely used for team placement by Special Olympics. Unified athletes demonstrated an increase in social self-perception, which remained unchanged in the traditional athletes. There were no significant increases found in self-perceptions of physical and general self-worth for either the traditional or Unified Special Olympic participants. Both the segregated and integrated basketball participants demonstrated significant increases in basketball skills but not in cardiovascular fitness.

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Stuart J. Schleien, Linda A. Heyne and Susan Breihan Berken

This pilot study attempted to determine the effects of a collaborative socio-motor, adapted physical education / therapeutic recreation curriculum on the social play and motor development of learners with autism and their nonhandicapped peers in an integrated physical education classroom setting. Six students with autism, ages 4-12, participated with 50 nonhandicapped peers in a 9-week, twice weekly, physical education class at a public elementary school. All participants received training as “Special Friends” as well as instruction in the curriculum which included a variety of lifelong recreation and physical education activities designed to teach social skills and fundamental motor skills. Results of t tests indicated significant reductions in inappropriate play behavior for the younger group at the parallel and cooperative/competitive-dyad social levels of play. Although no other significant changes in participants’ behaviors occurred, the following observations indicated increased involvement in the activities by the participants: (a) reduced inappropriate play behavior, (b) reduced target inappropriate behaviors, and (c) development of motor proficiency in catching and striking skills.