Date Presented 04/02/2022
This needs assessment, in partnership with the National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability, found that adults who interact with children with disabilities know that physical activity is important, but finding these opportunities is not easy. The barriers found for engaging in inclusive physical activity include local opportunities and knowing how to find these resources. Responses indicate that creating online resources and training may help overcome these challenges.
Primary Author and Speaker: Allison Farrell
Contributing Authors: Amanda K. Giles
PURPOSE: In partnership with the National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability (NCHPAD), this project sought to identify the barriers and limitations to creating inclusive physical activity information for children with disabilities. Physical activity is an important occupation for all children, but children with disabilities participate less and are at greater risk for long-term health effects (Carlon et al., 2013). Inclusive physical activity is beneficial for all participants (Taylor et al., 2019), but barriers to accessing these opportunities include a lack of programs and opportunities (Shields and Synnot, 2016). The literature indicates the need and benefit for inclusive physical activity opportunities for children with disabilities.
DESIGN: This was a survey-based needs assessment that utilized convenience sampling.
METHOD: A REDCap survey was disrupted via social media, local South Carolina disability and physical activity non-profit centers, and NCHPAD outlets. Multiple choice, Likert scale, and open-ended questions were used to collect qualitative and quantitative data on the barriers and need for resources for inclusive physical activity. Participants who completed this survey (n = 40) included parents, guardians, teachers, administrators, siblings, and community leaders of children with disabilities in 9 states.
RESULTS: The majority of respondents thought that physical activity was important for children with disabilities (97.5%, n = 39), and did not agree that it was easy to find inclusive physical activity opportunities for children with disabilities (77.5%, n = 31). Respondents identified that opportunities and knowing how to find resources were the top barriers to accessing physical activity for children with disabilities. The themes identified include education, support, program development, and inclusive opportunities.
CONCLUSIONS: This needs assessment found that adults that interact with children with disabilities believe that physical activity is important, but it is challenging to locate resources. More inclusive opportunities and resources for physical activity are needed and can be maximized via education, support services, and program development.
Carlon, S. L., Taylor, N. F., Dodd, K. J., & Shields, N. (2013). Differences in habitual physical activity levels of young people with cerebral palsy and their typically developing peers: a systematic review. Disability and Rehabilitation, 35(8), 647-655. https://doi.org/10.3109/09638288.2012.715721
Shields, N., & Synnot, A. (2016). Perceived barriers and facilitators to participation in physical activity for children with disability: a qualitative study. BMC pediatrics, 16, 9. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12887-016-0544-7
Taylor, A., Novo, D., & Foreman, D. (2019). An Exercise Program Designed for Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder for Use in School Physical Education: Feasibility and Utility. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 7(3), 102. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare7030102