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Disabil Health J. 2010 Jul;3(3):162-70. doi: 10.1016/j.dhjo.2009.11.002. Epub 2010 Jan 7.

Summative evaluation of a pilot aquatic exercise program for children with disabilities.

Author information

1
Research Center for Children With Special Health Care Needs, Franciscan Hospital for Children, Brighton, MA 02135, USA. mfragala@fhfc.org

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Children with disabilities have lower physical activity levels and participate less in community-based sport and exercise programs than do children without disabilities. This in part is due to environmental barriers and lack of appropriate resources in these programs. Adaptive programs encouraging increased physical activity for children with disabilities are needed, and as these programs are developed, they should be critically evaluated.

PURPOSE:

The purposes of this article are to describe a pilot aquatic exercise program for children with disabilities, to evaluate the program, and to determine areas of strength and areas needing modifications.

METHODS:

A summative program evaluation design was used to assess this twice per week aquatic exercise program lasting 14 weeks. Sixteen children, ages 6-12 years, with developmental disabilities participated in the program. Children swam laps, participated in relay races and water basketball games, and performed arm and leg strengthening exercises using aquatic noodles, foam barbells, and water for resistance. Swimming skills, program evaluation questionnaires, physical activity questionnaires, and interviews of pool site directors were used to determine program outcomes.

RESULTS:

Findings suggest that children made improvements in their swimming skills, parents were satisfied with the program, and children increased their physical activity levels during the program and maintained the increased physical activity levels six months after the program ended. The program continued in some form after the 14-week intervention ended.

CONCLUSIONS:

The program was successful in achieving its objectives and recommendations for application of this program are provided.

PMID:
21122781
DOI:
10.1016/j.dhjo.2009.11.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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