Investigating for any association that may exist between low self-esteem, students with disabilities, and overall quality-of-life provided several sources of valuable information. Some relevant insights are included in the O’Keeffe, Ganesan, King & Murphy (2012) article. At one point in their study they administered questionnaires to the parents, teachers and other children associated with a child who had an arterial ischemic stroke (AIS). The questionnaire provided ratings for a few factors, one being the self-esteem of the child following AIS, which was noted to be quite lower than that of the norm. One conclusion of this study is that barriers exist that can be overcome by improved screening and other services focused on longer-term outcome.
Norms of fitness for students with disabilities is relevant and should be included in the physical activity/team sports curriculum. Place, Dickinson, & Reynolds, (2015) point out the trending obesity problem students with disabilities such as ASD face. Also, cardio-pulmonary fitness was examined and given a rating of poor. Their findings touched on other aspects and they stated there were wide variations of fitness levels noticed. Obesity awareness and prevention, as well as cardio-pulmonary related fitness training, received top-concern ratings from these researchers, and would be appropriate to be placed as norms within a schools’ curriculum. Physical education (PE) courses provide tremendous assistance for students with disabilities. Klein (2015) explains the importance of a collaborative protocol. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle and in a working unison with physical education as this relates students with disabilities, is his focus. His article helps answer the norms of fitness question. By tying together the beneficial aspects (for students with disabilities) of cognitive health and a lifestyle of sports related activities, many insights are successfully provided to educators for students. Nyquist et al., (2016) provides excellent insight while addressing this same essential question within their research. Preferences for actual participation in and enjoyment of physical (away-from-school) activities, is assessed in their study. One hundred and forty-nine children between the ages of 6 and 17 attended three weeks of intensive activity. Results revealed a high level of participation and, a high level of enjoyment, but, the children displayed they wanted even more than they were provided. The participants also displayed a clear preference for activities which were consistent with those they do at home with family members and other peers.Analyzing the collected data provided in part that physical activity curriculum norms of fitness for best results should be based around those physical activities the students with disabilities are at least somewhat familiar with. One possible curriculum prerequisite could point to acquiring better competencies and skills in a few specific chosen activities (instead of a wide variety of activities), such as those associated with the familiar participation with family members and or other peers perhaps within their neighborhood.
Authors Ahima & Lazar (2013) detail health risks surrounding obesity in their research as well. They provide helpful insights regarding body mass index (BMI) which affects our metabolism among other things. Some people who have genetic or acquired defects, whether they are thin or not, are susceptible to developing severe fatty liver, resistance to insulin, and also diabetes. As mentioned previously, an essential question raised in this research paper asks what are some norms of fitness for students with disabilities that should be included in the physical activity curriculum. Clearly some students with disabilities are less active, they can and they do become individuals with an abundance of fatty tissue and or obesity. Curriculum focused on this phenomenon will encourage development of physical activities/team sports that lessen the potential of this silent but very unhealthy reality. And in a further study regarding fitness, the research contained in the Golubovic et al., (2012) study centered on the effects of exercise on children with intellectual disabilities (ID). Upon much due diligence, they were able to conclude after the vigorous testing, that children with ID scored significantly less than TD children on all levels of fitness. Also, it was found that students with borderline ID scored noticeably higher than children with mild ID. Apparent were that the lowest level of results were seen in tests regarding ‘balance’ and ‘endurance’ and these were received from the students with mild ID; with borderline ID students finishing much higher but still quite significantly less than TD students. An essential question asks what are some ‘norms of fitness’ that possibly should be added to today’s physical activity/team sports curriculum, and the Golubovic research indicates those exercises which include balance and endurance would be appropriate. Continued next page>>
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