Repository logo

Physical activity in children and adolescents with exceptionalities : the role of school and athletic programs



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Degree Level



The purpose of this study was to compare pre-service and in-service teachers’ and coaches’ attitudes toward instructing children and adolescents with exceptionalities as part of the regular physical education and athletic programs. Surveys were distributed to approximately 100 in-service teachers (i.e., classroom teachers, special educators, and physical educators from kindergarten through to grade eight) from an urban school division in Saskatchewan and 100 pre-service teachers enrolled in a college of education at a Western Canadian university to explore their attitudes toward instructing students with exceptionalities as part of the regular physical education/athletic program. Seventy-seven pre-service teachers and 92 in-service teachers completed an adapted version of the Physical Educators’ Attitude Toward Teaching Individuals with Disabilities-III (PEATID-III) (Rizzo, 1993). Descriptive, inferential (analysis of variance), and correlational analyses were used to compare and explore relationships between survey factors and participants’ individual characteristics (e.g., independent variables of gender, age, years of experience, number of physical education classes taken). Significant differences were found between teachers’ and coaches’ years of experience teaching/coaching students with exceptionalities (no experience to less than six months, 6 months to 2 years experience, and 2 or more years experience) and teachers’ attitudes toward the outcomes of teaching students with specific learning disabilities (SLD), Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and mild to moderate cognitive delay (COGN). No statistically significant differences were found between years of experience teaching/coaching students with exceptionalities and the outcomes of teaching students with emotional behavioural disorders (EBD). Correlational analyses were used to determine relationships between independent variables (e.g., pre-service and in-service teachers’/coaches’ years of teaching/coaching) and the outcomes of instructing students with exceptionalities in regular physical education/athletic programs (Factor 1). Both pre-service and in-service teachers rated the overall quality of their teaching/coaching experience with students with exceptionalities as satisfactory to very good. Yet, the majority of participants reported a competence rating of not at all competent to somewhat competent (e.g., 58.6% of participants had a competence rating of somewhat competent). Inconsistent teacher/coach responses may have been affected by participants answering the questions in a manner which they considered to be in agreement with socially acceptable perceptions of inclusion. Furthermore, educators believed that more training, experience, and education would improve competency levels in effective instruction. Practical implications for practice and direction for future research are discussed.



exceptionalities, Physical activity, coach, attitudes, teacher



Master of Education (M.Ed.)


Educational Psychology and Special Education


Educational Psychology and Special Education


Part Of