Experiences of children with autism spectrum disorders in adapted physical education

Josephine Blagrave


School-age children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are rarely asked to describe their experiences within
the programs that they receive and are largely missing from the narrative of their own lives. Current literature
on the experiences of children with ASD have focused on special education classrooms, sensory perceptions, and
general physical education classes and no prior studies have addressed how middle school-age children with ASD
perceive their adapted physical education (APE) experience. Data were collected from participants (N = 10) through
a drawing, an observation in their APE setting, and an interview. Themes identified were enjoyment in participation,
the influence of peers and family members in participation, and the sensory experience of APE. Children with ASD
were able to communicate their experiences in adapted physical education settings services and the barriers and
facilitators that exist both in class instruction and transfer of the skills learned into everyday movement experiences.

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