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Background: Children and adolescents with disabilities face barriers and are often excluded from engaging in daily activities such as physical activity and social participation (Bundy & Du Toit, 2019; Hocking, 2019). Activities such as physical activity and social participation not only increase children's and adolescents' sense of belonging, mental health, and quality of life but also impact the development of skills needed to fully engage in society (Bundy & Du Toit, 2019). Opportunities for children and adolescents with disabilities to engage in physical activity and social participation are commonly seen in the form of programs supported by nonprofit organizations. These programs emphasize the benefits physical activity, and social interaction has on quality of life, mental health, academic performance, and more for children and adolescents with disabilities (te Velde et al., 2018). Furthermore, an important aspect of effective and successful programs is the prevalence of structure. Fostering skill development and positive outcomes heavily relies on the structure of the program and the effectiveness of its implementation.
Purpose: The purpose of the product for this scholarly project is to provide program structure to increase participation in physical activity and social participation as well as increase the quality of life and well-being of children and adolescents with disabilities.
Methods: A literature review and needs assessment were conducted to initiate this product. The focus of the literature review included barriers children and adolescents with disabilities may face with physical activity and social participation as well as best practices to support engagement in these occupations. Online databases such as CINAHL, PubMed, the University of North Dakota Scholarly Commons, etc., and governmental websites were utilized as sources for the development of this product. Through the research, it was determined that there is a need for program structure that incorporates best practices to increase the participation in physical activity and social participation for children and adolescents with disabilities. Concepts from the Ecology of Human Performance (EHP) model (Dunn, 2017) were utilized throughout the development of this product.
Conclusion: Participation in physical activity and social participation for children and adolescents is necessary and greatly impacts psychosocial health, physical health, overall well- being, and quality of life. This product was developed for occupational therapy, interprofessional, and stakeholder use. The program manual will increase awareness, provide education and structure, and promote engagement and quality experiences with physical activity and social participation for children and adolescents with disabilities.
Occupational therapy; children/adolescents; physical activity; inclusion; wellbeing
Smith, Abbigail, "Program Structure for Children and Adolescents with Disabilities to Increase Participation in Physical Activity" (2023). Frank Low Research Day Posters. 4.