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Jane Loscheider


Purpose: The purpose of this scholarly project is to address the barriers individuals with physical disabilities face through the development of adaptive sports programs; hereby, increasing their occupational engagement, quality of life (QOL), and life satisfaction.

Background: Individuals with disabilities, compared to the general population, have diminished health and QOL due to limited community participation and occupational engagement (Yazicioglu et al., 2012). Adaptive sports have shown to increase QOL and well-being for individuals with physical disabilities (Brown et al., 2021; Yazicioglu et al., 2012). Although, this population, specifically in rural communities, face many barriers to adaptive sports engagement including a lack of adaptive sports resources, adaptive equipment, adaptive sports facilities, and knowledge of how to include individuals with disabilities (Obradovic et al., 2021). To combat these barriers, an adaptive sports manual was developed to guide the implementation of adaptive sports programs within rural community facilities.

Methods: A comprehensive literature review was conducted to determine: (1) the characteristics of successful adaptive sports programs in rural communities, and (2) the impact of adaptive sports on individuals with disabilities. The literature review was guided by the Ecology of Human Performance (EHP; Dunn et al., 1994; Dunn, 2017) framework to support the development of an adaptive sports manual. A clinical needs assessment was completed prior to the on-site experience, and product development was then carried out at a YMCA facility in a rural community.

Results: Characteristics of successful adaptive sports programs include consideration of the viewpoints of individuals with disabilities, incorporation of universal design concepts, and involvement of coaches who are specialized in adaptive sports (Ryan et al., 2014; Schubauer, 2021). Additionally, the evidence overwhelmingly shows that adaptive sports lead to increased QOL, occupational engagement, and self-efficacy (Lape et al., 2018; Yazicoglu et al., 2012). §

Conclusion: There is a clear need for increased adaptive sports opportunities in rural communities. The product titled, YMCA Resource Manual for the Implementation of Adaptive Sports Programs, will ensure that adaptive sports include pertinent characteristics and are offered to all individuals to help promote their occupational engagement and QOL.

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Occupational Engagement, Quality of Life, Life Satisfaction, Occupation, Disability


Occupational Therapy

How Adaptive Sports Promote Occupational Engagement and Quality of Life for Individuals with Disabilities in a Rural Community