After-School Recreation and Families of Children with Down syndrome: A Qualitative Study


  • Amanda Young Amanda Young is the adapted physical education teacher at KinderFrogs Laboratory School at Texas Christian University, and a doctoral student at Texas Woman’s University.
  • Kathleen Kyzar
  • Marilyn Tolbert
  • M. Francyne Huckaby


Down syndrome, early childhood, family recreation, family systems theory


Recreational activities support the growth and development of young children with Down syndrome. However, research has indicated that families of children with disabilities, including Down syndrome, experience barriers in achieving optimal family recreation. The purpose of this study was to examine the type and nature of recreational activities in which families of young children with Down syndrome engage during the weekday afternoon hours (after school). The study was guided by family systems theory. Utilizing naturalistic inquiry methodology, we conducted interviews with three parents, and collected additional qualitative data from 13 families via a self-administered questionnaire. All participants had a child with Down syndrome between the ages of 18 months and 6 years who attended an early intervention preschool designed specifically for children with Down syndrome. Findings indicated that families’ characteristics impacted their recreation decisions, and that families sought a balance in accomplishing recreation and other commitments. Additionally, families experienced recreation in inclusive settings within their natural environment, and they held high expectations for their child and family recreational participation.

Author Biographies

Kathleen Kyzar

Kathleen Kyzar is an assistant professor of Early Childhood Education in the College of Education at Texas Christian University. 

Marilyn Tolbert

Marilyn Tolbert is director and Jean W. Roach Chair of Laboratory Schools at Texas Christian University.

M. Francyne Huckaby

M. Francyne Huckaby is associate professor of Curriculum Studies and Director of the Center for Public Education, Texas Christian University. 





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