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Enabling Integration in Sports for Adolescents with Intellectual Disabilities

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Background  Promoting the health and social participation of adolescents with intellectual disability is important as they are particularly vulnerable to encountering difficulties in those areas. Integration of these individuals in integrated sports is one strategy to address this issue.

Methods  The main objective of this study was to gain a better understanding of the factors associated with the integration of adolescents with intellectual disability in sports alongside their non‐disabled peers. Individual interviews were completed with 40 adolescents with intellectual disability and their parents, while 39 rehabilitation staff participated via either a discussion group or self‐administered questionnaires. The Disability Creation Process (DCP) theoretical model was used to frame the analysis and the presentation of the findings (The Quebec Classification: Disability Creation Process. International Network on the Disability Creation Process/CSICIDH, Québec, QC, 1998).

Results  Various personal and environmental factors that have an impact on integration in sports were identified by participants. For example, attitudes, practical support, individuals’ experiences in sports and in integrated settings as well as behaviour control emerged as important elements to consider.

Conclusions  Integration in integrated sports can engender a lot of benefits for individuals with intellectual disability, their parents and non‐disabled athletes. However, many barriers need to be removed before such benefits can be more widely realized.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Université Laval, Quebec City, QC, Canada

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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