The Nature of Physical Activity Programming in Irish Primary Schools for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Keywords:Autism spectrum disorder, ASD, physical activity programming, physical education, school
Research on physical activity programming for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is scant. The aim of this study was to assess the nature of physical activity programming conducted in ASD units in Irish primary schools, in addition to assessing the perceived benefits and challenges among teachers. An online questionnaire was sent to every primary school with an ASD unit in Ireland (n = 380). Questions pertained to the amount and type of physical activity being conducted, in addition to questions on physical activity facilities, training, and the teachers’ perceived challenges and benefits. Data were gathered on 69 ASD units. In the majority of units (74.24%), physical education classes were held daily, with the most frequent duration (45.45%) being 10-20 minutes. The most common types of activities performed included walking (92.42%), running (81.82%), and jogging (60.61%). This study gives an insight into the nature of physical activity for children in ASD units in Irish primary schools.
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