Purpose: To examine the psychosocial effect of participation in an inclusive community-based aquatics program for children with and without disabilities.
Methods: Twenty-three participants completed an 8-week inclusive aquatics program. Quality of life, self-concept, and acceptance were measured using the PedsQL 4.0, Piers-Harris 2 Children's Self-Concept Scale, and Peer Sociometric Nomination Assessment (Friendship Questionnaire). Data were analyzed using a 2 × 2 analysis of variance with repeated measures.
Results: After the 8-week intervention, a statistically significant decrease was found on the School subsection of the PedsQL 4.0 for the children without disabilities, and in the happiness subsection of the Piers-Harris 2 for the children with disabilities. The Peer Sociometric Nomination Assessment showed a trend that children with disabilities received less negative peer nominations at posttest when compared with pretest.
Conclusion: Participation in an inclusive aquatics program may lead to improved acceptance of children with disabilities by their peers without disabilities.