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PhD Dissertation

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Krystn Orr
added a research item
For individuals with an intellectual disability (ID), emerging adulthood (18 to 25 years) may be a disruptive time with an abrupt ending to programming and services after adolescence. This study critically explores the social environment and experiences of individuals involved in a Special Olympics (SO) paddling program for emerging adult athletes with an ID. Using an instrumental case study design, multiple qualitative methods were implemented including photography, videography, observations, and interviews. Participants included four athletes (one female and three males; three with autism spectrum disorder, one with mild ID), three fathers, a coach, program coordinator, and administrator. Analyses were guided by interpretivism and the quality parasport participation framework. Findings highlight how the limited staff training and preparation, the complexity of providing such a program, and parental hidden labour in their adult children’s sport involvement influences the social environment. Implications for coaching practices include the importance of communication strategies and coach education.
Krystn Orr
added a research item
The purpose of this study was to utilize a behaviour observation coding system to evaluate athletes’ real-time interactions among emerging adults with disabilities in recreational sport programs, and to qualitatively explore how peers influenced those observed behaviours and transitions into adult sport. Expanding on a validated coach behavioural coding system (Turnnidge et al., 2014), peer interactions were analyzed within three sport programs (basketball, curling, and softball; each session was 60 to 90 minutes long). Seven athletes were observed and interviewed: two women and five men; five with intellectual impairments and one each with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, and hearing impairment (mutually exclusive). An eighth athlete with a visual impairment was only interviewed. Observational data analysis consisted of inter- and intra-rater reliability, descriptive and lag sequential analyses. Interview data were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Athletes were observed engaging in the program activities, but few peer interactions throughout. Two cases are presented to explore behaviour sequencing occurring within these recreational sport programs. The interviews explore the athletes’ transition experiences into adult recreational sport and the role peers have in their overall sport experiences. Implications for coaching practice and lessons learned using an observational coding technique for peer interactions are discussed.
Krystn Orr
added 2 research items
Recreational sport provides a leisure, and community opportunity to many people. Specifically, recreational sport – where competition is not the goal and is not part of the educational system – can provide continuity during the transition from youth to adulthood when many life changes occur (e.g., career). For individuals with an intellectual disability (ID), this transitional period of emerging adulthood (ages 18 to 25 years) may be extremely important as there is an abrupt ending to programming and services after adolescence. The purpose of this study was to critically explore the social environment and experiences of the individuals involved in a recreational sport program for athletes with an ID. Using a two-month instrumental case study design of a Special Olympics (SO) paddling program held at a canoe-kayak club, multiple qualitative methods were implemented to critically interpret the social environment: photography, videography, field observations, and formal and informal interviews. Participants were four athletes (one female; three with autism spectrum disorder and one with mild ID), three fathers, and one each of coach, program coordinator, and administrator. An interpretivist approach was used to explore the social environment in its entirety. First, an inductive analysis was conducted followed by a deductive analysis using the quality parasport participation framework as a lens. Findings highlight the indirect disablism perceived in the program with limited training and preparation for the staff and the complexity of providing a service to athletes with a variety of social and communication impairments. Furthermore, parents engaged in hidden labour (e.g., attending programs) while playing a vital role in the involvement of their adult children in the SO paddling program. Meanwhile peers held an important but background role in the program. Implications for coaching practices and research are discussed, including the importance of variable communication, coach education, and data collection strategies when working with athletes with an ID.
Recreational sport provides leisure and community opportunities to many individuals. Specifically, recreational sport can provide continuity during the transition from adolescence to adulthood when many life changes occur (e.g., school, work). For individuals with a disability, this transitional period (ages 18-25 years) may be extremely important as there is an abrupt ending to community programming after adolescence. This doctoral research program critically explored the social and transitionary experiences of emerging adults with a disability in recreational sport programs. Study 1, a scoping review, identified limited research and a lack of explicit discussion of peer interactions in recreational sport programs for emerging adults with a disability. Study 2 used a mixed methods approach to observe and explore the peer interactions that occur for emerging adults with a disability within recreational sport programs. Conducted in communities across Ontario, Study 2 combined dynamic systems and qualitative approaches (two women, six men, and three sport programs) to highlight the non-normative way individuals with a disability may interact and achieve a sense of belonging on a recreational sports team. Finally, Study 3 presents a case study of a recreational paddling program for individuals with an intellectual disability. All persons involved in the program (i.e., administration, coaches, athletes, and families) engaged in a multi-method, two-month case study of the social environment, development, and experiences of participating in such a program with attention focused on the role peers may (not) have. Study 3 highlights issues of disablism – socially-imposed barriers to full participation – that occurred within the paddling program and the necessity of coach training regulation to ensure coaches understand foundational coaching strategies along with disability-relevant knowledge (e.g., communication strategies). Overall, this doctoral research program discusses the individuality in social experiences within recreational sport contexts and the role that recreational sport can play on the transitionary experiences of emerging adults with a disability.
Krystn Orr
added a research item
Purpose: Recreational sport programs are a critical but overlooked pathway for enhancing social participation of emerging adults with disabilities. Specifically, the experiences of recreational sport program members is important for continued community engagement among emerging adults. To address this gap, this scoping review examined the published studies on recreational sport programs for emerging adults with disabilities with the aim of providing future directions for practice (e.g., program instruction) and research (e.g., measurement). Method: Using the PRISMA-SR guidelines, six electronic databases were searched using key terms of disability, age, and recreational sport; findings were extracted and summarized according to the quality parasport participation framework (autonomy, belonging, challenge, engagement, mastery, meaning) and other outcome measures of the included studies. An online 26-item survey was sent to the included studies’ authors to further explore the programs’ conditions. Results: There were 16,818 records screened with seven articles included. Studies indicate positive outcomes for emerging adults with disabilities immediately following participation in sport programs (e.g., improved self-esteem, autonomy, friendship skills, and balance). No longitudinal studies have been conducted on sustained participation in sport programs or transfer effects of participation. Conclusion: Despite the limited literature, this scoping review provides the foundation for the development of evidence-informed, participant-driven sport programs for emerging adults with disabilities. This study highlights areas for further development for both research (e.g., evaluating and reporting quality) and practice (e.g., program evaluation).