An exploratory study of how sports and recreation industry personnel perceive the barriers and facilitators of physical activity in children with disability

The goal of this study was to explore the perceived barriers and facilitators to participation in physical activity among children with disability in physical activity and community sports from the perspective of sports and recreation industry personnel. The participants reported 25 facilitators and 20 barriers to participation for children with disability. The top five reported facilitators were: welcoming providers, support and encouragement from parents or others, inclusive providers, adaptable approaches and accessibility of facilities. The top five reported barriers were: inaccessible facilities, non-inclusive providers, transport, lack of relevant opportunities and cost.

Sports industry personnel share a similar perspective to families of potential barriers and facilitators to engagement by children with disability in physical activity and community sports. Policy change was not considered as a facilitator of physical activity, even though four of the top five facilitators identified could be implemented through local policy change. There are multiple factors that interact with each other which influence the participation by children with disability in physical activity and community sports. The sports and recreation industry ought to consider policy change as a relevant way to facilitate participation by children with disability in physical activity. More professional development and disability engagement opportunities for sports and recreation industry personnel may help address some of the hurdles to participation for children with disability experience.

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