“I Think She’s Found Her Groove”: Evaluating A Young Girl’s Involvement in an Inclusive Physical Activity Program
Keywords:Physical activity, autism spectrum disorder, mixed methods, motor, social
Physical activity (PA) has shown promise in addressing social, behavioural, and motor concerns in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In this paper, the experience of a seven-year-old girl (“Sophie”) with ASD and other psychological disorders was examined as she participated in a 10-week PA program. Her motor and social skills were evaluated before and after the program via the Movement Assessment Battery for Children and the Social Responsiveness Scale. PA and social interactions were analyzed based on video recordings, interviews, and focus groups. Sophie demonstrated some improvements in her motor and social skills after the PA program, in addition to gaining PA and social interactions. Sophie also gained self-confidence as she was supported by the instructor and volunteer, and acceptance as she was included in an environment with other children of varying ages and abilities. Sophie’s progress exemplifies the far-reaching effects of PA when offered in an accepting environment with adequate support.
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