Thank you to Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos and the Canadian Disability Participation Project team for contributing this guest post.
An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Canadian Disability Participation Project (with expertise in childhood disability, physical activity, health behaviour change, surveillance and inclusive physical education programming), representatives from disability and physical activity organizations, and parents of children and adolescents with disabilities have created Canada’s first-ever comprehensive summary of activity data for children and adolescents with disabilities.
A Disability Report Card resource suite to accompany the peer-reviewed report has been created, which includes several knowledge products which describe the grading and evaluation process and highlight data gaps and recommendations to improve the quality of physical activity experiences for children and youth with disabilities.
Among the grades is Active Play, for which Canada received an F, given that only 16% of children with functional limitations spend time outdoors on a regular basis (with little other data available). This highlights a major gap in research and data collection in this area, where the authors emphasized the need for research into playground accessibility to better understand active play among this population group.
These resources are intended for any group or individual concerned with inclusion and who is working to foster positive physical activity experiences for children and adolescents with disabilities. This may include physical activity organizations, municipalities, educators, and families.
Dr. Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education and an Advisory Member of the Mental Health and Physical Activity Research Centre at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. She is also an Adjunct Scientist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, the Co-Director of Knowledge Mobilization for the Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability, and an Associate Editor of Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly. Situated within the field of exercise psychology, her research program is theory-driven, using both quantitative and qualitative methods to measure, understand, and change physical activity behaviour in children and youth experiencing disability.