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The Meaning of Cross-Country Skiing for Persons with Significant Visual Impairment: A Phenomenological Study

Eileen M. May-West, Patricia J. Craig, Allison Wilder

Abstract


This study examines the meaning of adaptive snow skiing for individuals with significant visual impairment, and explores how hardiness manifests in the contexts in which participants live and recreate. Seidman’s (2013) iterative three-part interviewing method was employed with five adults (three female, two male) from an adaptive cross-country skiing program in the northeast. Findings suggested three major themes. Participants (a) found meaning in being with others and having opportunities to develop relationships with other individuals who had significant visual impairment; (b) valued the freedom of being in the outdoors, the freedom of movement, and the independence that skiing provided; and (c) placed importance on the equality they experienced in their ski experiences and acknowledged the significance of others’ recognition of this equality. Participants’ hardiness was expressed similarly throughout their early lives and skiing experiences, suggesting that hardiness may be developed early on in life and is likely enhanced through recreation experiences. Implications for ways in which community-based therapeutic recreation (TR) programs can respond to the needs of individuals with significant visual impairment are discussed.

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Keywords


Adaptive snow skiing; adaptive sport and recreation; blind and visual impairment; hardiness; phenomenology; recreational therapy

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18666/TRJ-2018-V52-I4-9033

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