A Snapshot of Quality Participation in Physical Activity for Individuals With Developmental Disabilities: a Photo Elicitation Study
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Not only do adults with disabilities have a right to participate, they have the right to full participation. Enabling full participation means having access to and engaging in a range of opportunities that are satisfying and enjoyable, and generate personally valued outcomes. Currently, it is unclear how community-based physical activity programs provide individuals with developmental disabilities the opportunity to participate regardless of their abilities. Additionally, there is a need to understand how community-based physical activity programs promote full participation through increasing quality experiences. According to Martin Ginis and colleagues (2017) a quality experience includes one or more of the following elements: autonomy, belongingness, challenge, engagement, meaning and mastery. The purpose of this study was to explore the subjective experience of participation to understand how community- based physical activity programs for adults with developmental disabilities foster full participation. Eleven adults with developmental disabilities were given a disposable camera to take photos of their participation experience in a community-based physical activity program. Participants discussed their photos in a semi-structured interview; interview transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. Three facilitators to physical activity engagement associated with community-based physical activity program emerged: the opportunity to participate regardless of ability, partnerships with community organizations and familial/caregiver support. These three strategies helped individuals with developmental disabilities overcome barriers to physical activity, allowing access to participation experiences. In relation to quality experiences, all six elements of a quality experience as identified by Martin Ginis and colleagues (2017) emerged. Three factors that foster quality elements were discussed: positive social relationships, the role of a volunteer and the adaptability of the program. Finally, two outcomes of quality experiences were discussed by participants: pride and fun. This study is the first to investigate the subjective experience of community-based physical activity program participation for individuals with developmental disabilities through a quality participation lens. Results highlight factors within a community-based physical activity program that are important for providing access to participation experiences and fostering quality elements among individuals with developmental disabilities.