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Barriers and Facilitators of Physical Activity Participation Among Youth with Visual and Hearing Impairments in Nigeria: A Qualitative Study

Ogu Okey Charles, Nwosu Kingsley Chinaza


The purpose of this study was to investigate the various barriers and facilitators allied with participation in physical activity programs among youth with visual and hearing impartments. The research sites included Vocational School for Visually Impaired, Remedial Class Special Education Center for Visually Impaired, School for the hearing impaired and service providers in the three schools located in Oji River in Nigeria.  Focus groups were conducted in the three schools with: 1)  Vocational School for Visually Impaired (4; 2 males and 2 females, Age: 20yrs-25yrs).  2) Remedial Class Special Education Center for Visually Impaired (8; 4 males and 4 females, Age: 16 yrs-25yrs). 3) School for the hearing Impaired (Junior Class = 5; 3 boys and 2 girls, Age: 12yrs-13yrs). (Senior class="4"; 3 boys and 1 girl, Age: 14yrs-17yrs). 4) Service Providers (4; 2 males and 2 females, Age: 25yrs and above). Semi-structured interviews using three-point interview guides were used to understand the barriers and facilitators. Focus group sessions were digitally audio-recorded along with note taking. Thematic analysis was used for analyzing the interview data. Thematic content analysis of tape recordings revealed facilitators and barriers. The following themes were identified: 1. Favourite physical activity and sports included jogging, dancing, soccer, rope skipping, and weight lifting. 2. Individuals with disabilities were motivated to engage in physical activity because it kept them fit, gave them joy, and tended to make them forget their worries. 3. PA makes individuals with disabilities avoid living sedentary lifestyle. 4. Barriers related to stigma, restrictive environment, lack of facilities especially for those interested in cycling, lack of soccer with bells, lack of musical instruments for dancing, lack of support from the government and individuals, absence of adapted physical activity experts, no adaptive equipment for PA and sports. Involvement of individuals with disabilities in physical activity is affected by several barriers and facilitators that are peculiar to their environment. It is recommended that future research should utilize this information to develop intervention strategies that have potential for creating opportunities to participate in physical activities by the youth with visual and hearing impairments.

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Nigeria; deaf; blind; physical activity

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