Bandini et al., (2013) provide valuable insight with a comparison of physical activity between children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and typically developing children (TD). Their research hypothesized that students with ASD, would spend less time participating in physical activities, primarily due to their relatively common trait of lacking communication and social skills. It was stated during this study that children with ASD often pace, roam, and engage in highly repetitive activities after school. These are self-stimulating types of behaviors and are very much a characteristic. Whereas and while those behaviors are happening, TD children are much more relaxed just by sitting and watching the TV after school. Coaches and physical education teachers who understand this, and, work to channel these types of behaviors in children with or without disabilities, will obtain results showing increased self-esteem due to their mastery of this topic!
Research Design and Methods: this research design was Pre-experimental. A single group post test study only. Initially all students were informally asked if increasing self-confidence and self-esteem was motivation for participating on a sports team. The students were also informally asked if they believed that their confidence and self-esteem would improve in the future by participating on a sports team. Due to the ages involved these initial inquiries were often looped together.
The average age of the students was 7.27 years old. All of the students were from NW Ohio, with a socioeconomic medium income of 42,000.00. The researcher was the team sport coach. Informal interviews for each student were planned and conducted by the coach. A secondary source of data were observations witnessed by the coach of the student players’ participating in the athletic competition (Appendix B). Students were required to run a 3/8 mile semi-oval dash to begin each practice or prior to each game to remain a player on the team. During weekly practices and games the coach would assess the student players’ performance regarding enthusiasm, attitude, running plays, and throwing or catching a football.
Having the same offensive coach teach the student players controlled the obstacles and threats that can arise by being taught differently during the practices and games. The environment for the student players was controlled by the practices and games being played at the same time each week night and Saturday morning. Maturation was controlled, this study of (8) weeks was completed in relatively short period of time. The validity of the research was limited, whereas all the factors involved were made up of occurring in the student players’ lives away from school. A limitation that could have evolved was from some student players’ having their father or a sibling who was coaching them at home. Attempting to keep the study as valid as possible involved the coach sticking to specific routines and scripted offensive plays during each practice and game.
To analyze the data the coach looked at the information first gathered via the interviews. And then from the observations and assessments over time (Appendix D). The coach compared the observed level of confidence each student player displayed during the first week to the last couple of weeks. By referring to the assessments reflective of athletic ability, performance, and level of confidence during week one, along with the informal interview process, the coach was then able to better evaluate the results of each student player and analyze the data. Continued next page>>
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