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Perceived Barriers and Facilitators of Participation in After-School Physical Activity by Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Abstract

This study used Photovoice methodology to assess barriers to and facilitators of after-school participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity as perceived by children with ASD and determine if physical activity patterns exist in relation to these barriers. Participants were a convenience sample of 12 boys and two girls with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), ages 8–14 years. Participants wore an accelerometer and completed an activity log for 7 days. Data were analyzed using qualitative techniques and fitted in a socio-ecological model. Participants reported 143 (44%) barriers and 181 (56%) facilitators. The most frequently cited barriers were intrapersonal, followed by interpersonal, physical, community, and institutional. The most frequent facilitators were physical, followed by intrapersonal and interpersonal, community, and institutional. The study gives support to the use of a multipronged approach when designing physical activity interventions for children and adolescents with ASD.

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Acknowledgements

This work was partially supported by grant funding from IM Able Foundation, Wyomissing, PA. We wish to express a special thank you to the participating children and their parents for their cooperation during data collection and to Shannon Whalen and Lauren Van Hise for help with data collection and analysis.

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Correspondence to Iva Obrusnikova.

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Obrusnikova, I., Cavalier, A.R. Perceived Barriers and Facilitators of Participation in After-School Physical Activity by Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Dev Phys Disabil 23, 195–211 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10882-010-9215-z

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Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Physical activity
  • Photovoice
  • Barriers
  • Ecological model