Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

Barriers to Participation in Physical Activity in Teenagers with DCD

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  • Although youngsters with DCD have the capability to be physically active, there is much research suggesting that they tend to engage less in physical activities and are less physically fit than children without movement difficulties. We have carried out an interview study with children and their parents in an attempt to understand which factors might explain this reduced participation in teenagers with DCD. We found that although most children disliked competitive team games, there were many physical activities that they did enjoy and they reported wanting to be more physically active. Some of the things that were perceived as barriers to this included poor motor skill, lack of motivation and fatiguing easily. For some families difficulty travelling to activities, negative comments from peers and teachers’ lack of understanding of DCD also contributed to them being less active. We concluded that teachers, schools and communities play an important role in creating a motivational environment for these youngsters. Providing activities that are pitched at a suitable level and raising awareness among PE teachers would help to promote greater participation.

    This work has now been published in the journal ‘Child: care, health & development’.

    Barnett, A. Dawes, H. & Wilmut, K. (2012) Constraints and facilitators to participation in physical activity in teenagers with Developmental Coordination Disorder: an exploratory interview study. Child: Care, Health and Development.