Possibilities offered by interventional sports programmes to children and adolescents with physical disabilities : an explorative and evaluative study
Abstract: Today, sport is a topic that interests and engages many people. However, pursuing sporting activities and being a member of a sports club is not a matter of course for children and adolescents with physical disabilities. The overall aim of this thesis is to study the possibilities offered by interventional sports programmes to children and adolescents with physical disabilities and to describe in what way they can be offered meaningful physical activities as well as active participation in sport clubs, with a view to improving their health and socialisation through sport. The thesis includes three descriptive and one evaluative study. The results of the thesis rest on a combination of methods: practical- empirical experiences based on theoretical reasoning, interviews in line with a method inspired by phenomenography, and data from questionnaires analysed by descriptive and analytical statistics. The results are also based on a variety of data sources i.e. children, young people and parents as well as theory triangulation i.e. socialisation and health. According to the findings, sports programmes offered possibilities to children and adolescents with physical disabilities for improving their health and socialisation. An important component of the sports programmes were sports clubs that offered meaningful physical activities as well as active participation. Guidelines for co-operation in and the organisation of sports programme for children and adolescents with physical disabilities were of great importance and should involve the families as well as sports organisations and local authorities. The children and adolescents regarded sport as a form of social arena to enhance their participation in society and as a means for achieving better health. They also stressed the importance of knowledge and experiencing nature as factors that promote an active and healthy lifestyle. The parents regarded sport as a form of health education and as a means for their children to achieve increased participation in society. The parents also stressed the fact that the learning process was important for empowering the children to influence their life situation. The findings also illustrate the importance of building co-operation between the habilitation centre, sports clubs and families of children with physical disabilities by means of a working team, as well as the importance of the sports movement opening up its activities to children and adolescents with functional disabilities and each sports club appointing a contact person with special responsibility for this target group. Continued external support was regarded as necessary in order to assist the sports clubs in implementing permanent and well-functioning activities in partnership with a personal sport and health counsellor, who advises and supports the children and adolescents to participate in physical activity.
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