1st Edition

Sport, Coaching and Intellectual Disability

ISBN 9781138654228
Published January 19, 2016 by Routledge
280 Pages

USD $61.95

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Book Description

There are more opportunities than ever before for young people with disabilities to participate in sport and adapted physical education. For example, there are more than 3.7 million athletes worldwide aligned to the Special Olympics organisation, with national associations active in more than 200 countries worldwide. Despite this rapid growth, all too often coaches and teachers lack adequate knowledge of the particular challenges faced by people with intellectual disabilities. The principal aim of this book is to improve the understanding and professional skills of coaches, teachers, practitioners and researchers, to promote awareness of successful programmes addressing the needs of such young people, and to challenge the prevailing myths and stereotypes surrounding their abilities.


With contributions from leading researchers and practitioners around the world, this book is the first to explore in depth the topic of sport and intellectual disability from a coaching perspective. Including both theoretical discussion and empirical case-studies, the book covers a full range of contemporary issues and themes, including training and coaching, family support, perceptions of disability, athlete motivation, positive sport experiences, motor development programmes, and social and cultural aspects of disability. Sport Coaching and Intellectual Disability is important reading for any student, researcher, coach, teacher, manager or policy maker with an interest in disability sport, physical education, coaching, or mainstream disability studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. Understanding Sport and Intellectual Disability: An Introduction  Part I: Foundations  2. Changing Perspectives on Intellectual Disability through Sport  3. Sport and Intellectual Disability: Benefits, Barriers and Bridges  4. Creating a Positive Experience for Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities  5. Reflections on Coaching Athletes with Disabilities  Part II: Developments  6. Teaching and Coaching Young People with Intellectual Disabilities – A Challenge for Mainstream Specialists  7. Special Olympics Athletes' Perspectives on their Motivation to Participate in Sports  8. Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities, Physical Disabilities and Associated Problems: Health Promotion and Enhancement Strategies  9. The Role Of Family Support in Enhancing Sport Activities for Children with Intellectual Disabilities  Part III: Examples  10. Motor Activity Training for Young People with Severe Intellectual Disabilities  11. Special Olympics Unified Sports Football: Empowering Girls and Women on and off the Pitch  12. Motor Learning and Exercise Adaptations for Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities  13. Issues, Effects and Curriculum Design in Dance Pedagogy with and for Young People with Intellectual Disabilities  14. A Detailed Consideration of the Effectiveness of the "Maximum Effort Rule in the Special Olympics  Conclusion  15. Sports as a Vehicle for Change in the Lives of People with Intellectual Disabilities


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David Hassan is Chair of Sport Policy and Management at the University of Ulster and Co-Director of the Regional Research Collaborating Centre for Special Olympics Europe-Eurasia. He has published 11 books and over 70 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters.

Sandra Dowling (Co-editor) is a Social Anthropologist who has been working in research in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities for the past 15 years, she currently holds the post of Research Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast and an Honorary Fellowship at the University of Ulster, NI. 

Roy McConkey (Co-editor) is Emeritus Professor of Developmental Disabilities at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland and visiting Professor at the University of Cape Town, University of Sydney and Trinity College, Dublin.   A psychologist by training, he has previously held posts in England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. 


"Hassan, Dowling, and McConkey have added a pioneering (albeit Eurocentric) reference in the maturing field of adapted sports: a European-based survey of sports opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities conducted under the aegis of the Special Olympics.  There are currently 4.1 million athletes with intellectual disabilities around the world, making the sports-oriented network the largest in history.  This volume examines various strategies of motivating participants with developmental and intellectual disabilities to reach their highest potentials at various skill levels of competition.  Every facet of the organizational structure of sporting events under the aegis of the Special Olympics umbrella--from task-oriented movements to the creation of community support for the athletes--is highlighted as essays examine sports for intellectually disabled athletes, including participant-generated dance routines.  The narrative flows easily, making the book appropriate for a wide audience, but especially useful to mainstream and adapted-sports researchers and organizations. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers."

– D. J. Winchester, Columbia University, CHOICE Magazine

"This book is … an important factor for participation and personal empowerment."

Anders Östnäs- Lund University (2015) "Good lyrics as well as good thoughts, without thread", idrottsforum.org, http://idrottsforum.org/ostand_hassanetal150923/