ACADEMIC STANDARDS FOR APA PROFESSIONALS IN SPORT: A REFLEXIVE APPROACH IN EUROPE

Jose Pedro Ferreira, Natalia Morgulec-Adamowicz

Abstract


Adapted Physical Activity (APA) is a service delivery profession and an academic field of study which supports an attitude of acceptance of individual differences, advocates enhancing access to active lifestyles and sport, and promotes innovation and cooperative service delivery and empowerment systems. The promotion of active lifestyles and sport & leisure quality activities for people with disabilities require specific skills and competences among sport & leisure professionals that can only be achieved through an adequate academic and professional training.
The purpose of the present work is to disseminate the main achievements of European Standards in Adapted Physical Activity (EUSAPA) project, in the specific area of sport and recreation including the: (i) identification and description of needs from all partner countries, (ii) description of their competencies and definition of academic standards and (iii) development of an international academic framework to improve the quality of professional training in APA at European level.
Results showed that there is still a long way to walk for the homogenization of APA services in the different state members both in the type of services provided and the specific background of the professionals that provide those services. Different types of professionals with and without academic training in APA are participating in the process with different skills and competences providing different levels of service delivery in sport and recreation areas. The development of an international academic framework is a priority to guarantee the quality of professional training in APA and the new Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in APA is appointed to be considered as a good example of a theoretical framework which incorporates practical courses in different intervention areas seen as vital for APA delivery coaching services in sport and leisure areas.

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