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‘We’re doing AFL Auskick as well’: experiences of an adapted football program for children with autism

journal contribution
posted on 01.06.2018, 00:00 authored by Tamara May, Nicole Rinehart, Lisa BarnettLisa Barnett, Trina Hinkley, Jane McGillivrayJane McGillivray, Helen Skouteris, D Stephens, D Goldfinch
Background:
Numerous barriers exist for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to engage in sporting activities, including behavioural problems and motor deficits. This study explored parent experiences of and influences on child participation in an 11-week Australian Football League (AFL) Auskick football program adapted for children with ASD as well as changes in their motor skills.

Method:
The program was run in 2014 (Phase 1) and in 2015 (Phase 2). In Phase 1 thematic analyses of nine parent interviews and pre-post parent proxy report of children’s motor skills were conducted with 15 parents. In Phase 2 pre-post objective motor skill assessment was undertaken in a separate sample of 13 children.

Results:
Three key themes were identified: benefit of doing something ‘normal’; simple adaptations work; and, despite barriers, the benefits are worthwhile. Parent-proxy report indicated improvement in child object control skills. Objective assessment showed no change in children’s motor skill.

Conclusions:
Parental experiences of the program indicated that simple accommodations can engage children with ASD and their families in organised sporting programs. Given potential psychosocial and health benefits of organised sports, further controlled studies of this type of program in children with ASD are warranted.

History

Journal

Journal of motor learning and development

Volume

6

Issue

1

Pagination

130 - 146

Publisher

Human Kinetics

Location

Champaign, Ill.

ISSN

2325-3193

eISSN

2325-3215

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, Human Kinetics, Inc.