Commentary on “Opportunities for Participation: A Mapping Review of Inclusive Physical Activity for Youth With Disabilities” : Pediatric Physical Therapy

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Commentary on “Opportunities for Participation: A Mapping Review of Inclusive Physical Activity for Youth With Disabilities”

Gosselin, Dora PT, DPT, PhD; Collier, Ashley JD, MS, BA

Author Information
Pediatric Physical Therapy 35(1):p 84, January 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000981
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“How could I apply this information?”

The growing childhood obesity epidemic is multifactorial. Inadequate amount of physical activity is a significant contributor. Access to, and participation in, physical activity is further restricted in children with physical and/or intellectual disability, particularly those with lower levels of mobility, behavioral, and medical challenges. This study suggests that group-based inclusive and adapted physical activity programs serve important roles in providing opportunities for physical activity in children with disabilities; however, these opportunities are not available to all children.

“What should I be mindful about when applying this information?”

The American Physical Therapy Association states that physical therapists have a role in wellness as well as participation Physical therapists have the responsibility to collaborate with families and other professionals (eg, coaches, teachers, and trainers) to identify opportunities for physical activity participation and to provide support for activity modification and/or adaptive equipment to maximize a child's ability to participate. Group-based and inclusive physical activity provides social opportunities that are beneficial for children with and without disabilities. Development of programs that are strategically designed to capitalize on the facilitators described in this study and that overcome the known barriers is essential. Programs must be dependable in schedule and qualified support, be advertised broadly, and offer a variety of choices that appeal to children with multiple interests.

Dora Gosselin, PT, DPT, PhD
Board Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist
High Point University
High Point, North Carolina
Duke Medicine
Durham, North Carolina
Ashley Collier, JD, MS, BA
Mother of adolescent with cerebral palsy
Greensboro, North Carolina

© 2023 Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association