The authors of this study were interested in looking at the use of integrated sports as one strategy for promoting health and social participation of adolescents with learning disabilities.
They set out to improve understanding of the factors associated with such integration by carrying out individual interviews with 40 adolescents with learning disabilities and their parents. They also involved 39 rehabilitation staff through a discussion group or by asking them to complete self-administered questionnaires.
They analysed the findings through the framework provided by the Disability Creation Process (DCP) model
This model provides an explanatory framework of the causes and consequences of disease, trauma or other disruptions to a person’s integrity and development. It identifies the interactions between personal factors and environmental factors that may impact on accomplishments, and have implications for full social participation.
They found a range of personal and environmental factors that had an impact on integration in sports including attitudes, practical support, individuals’ experiences in sports and in integrated settings. Behaviour control was also found to be an important factor.
They conclude that integrated sports had offered many of benefits to the individuals with learning disability, their parents and non-disabled athletes, but that there were still many barriers to a wider realisation of these benefits for more people.
Enabling Integration in Sports for Adolescents with Intellectual Disabilities, Grandisson, M. et al., in Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 25: 217–230.