Promoting sport and development in athletes with disabilities

The research impact consists of studies related to person with disabilities (PWDs).  Through a series of qualitative and quantitative studies, it has investigated social and structural barriers preventing participation in Physical Activity.

The first focuses on the views and experiences of parents of children with intellectual disability (ID). Qualitative interviews were conducted to identify the main social barriers that children with ID face when participating in sport physical activity. The study has changed attitudes and perceptions in parents and children when they interact with individuals with ID in the society and the community. The second study used an interventionist approach promoting physical activity and wellbeing of people with ID. This study investigated if physical activity had positive effects on the psychosocial behaviours and development of children with ID. The findings confirmed that structured programmes contributed to gradual improvements in emotional self-control, whilst minimizing psychosocial-development delay. The third study considered the effects of sand-shoeing on ID and sport. Successful performances at the 2013 and 2017 Special Olympic Games in South Korea and Austria characterized the success of this programme. The findings changed the stereotyping perception among educators towards ID student’s sport ability and potential.

This study focused on the perceived constraints obstructing children with hearing impairment from participating in physical activities. Based on the findings an understanding that hearing impairment would not prevent them from participating in sport. This study therefore provides opportunities for individuals with hearing impairment to enjoy sport in Hong Kong. 

The research team has also undertaken a consultative study for the Home Affairs Bureau, a department of the Hong Kong Government to develop strategies that would further support disabled athletes and promote physical activity participation for PWDs. Findings suggested there were objectives and important issues that need inclusion in policies relating to the development of sport for PWDs. The research found that the government should consider the important role of coordinating and consulting with stakeholders in the development of physical activity and health. The findings indicated that schools play a crucial role in promoting physical activity by opening their sport facilities to the public, thereby accommodating diverse sport activities.