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Behaviors Present Unique Challenges

This is an excerpt from Adapted Physical Education and Sport 7th Edition With HKPropel Access by Joseph Winnick & David L. Porretta.

By Barry W. Lavay and Melissa D. Bittner

The movement behaviors or motor competency of people with specific learning disabilities, ADHD, or DCD can vary. Some might be skilled movers and exceptional athletes, but most are at risk for developmental delays compared to peers without disabilities (Bishop and Block, 2012; Bishop et al., 2018; Harvey and Reid, 2003; Nielson et al., 2018). In general, this population exhibits a wide range of physical, cognitive, and social behaviors that affect the ability to move (Beyer, 1999; Bishop et al., 2018; Grosshans and Kiger, 2004; Milne et al., 1991; Mulrine and Flores-Marti, 2014). Some self-regulating behaviors, such as a short attention span, are not specific motor problems but can make it difficult to attend to directions, which consequently affects movement competency and outcomes (Horvat et al., 2019).

Critical to effective instruction is for teachers to have a thorough understanding of their students. Table 11.1 describes unique physical, cognitive, and social behaviors that students with a specific learning disability, ADHD, or DCD may display that can affect movement. Teachers need to be aware of these behaviors because they can interfere with the student’s ability to learn. (Other perceptual–motor and sensory behaviors are discussed later in this chapter and more specifically in chapter 20.) In order to provide students with a safe and positive learning experience, the physical educator must carefully consider all of these behaviors and their relationships when designing and teaching activities. For example, if a student is struggling with a skill, the physical educator might notice “difficulty with skill sequencing” in the physical behavior section and ask, “Can I use chunking or task analyze the skill into manageable parts to help the student learn and be successful? Perhaps this child would learn best with a visual model?” Many other teaching strategies to help offset these physical, cognitive, and social behaviors, as well as manage environmental factors and support student learning, are presented throughout the remainder of the chapter.

Figure 11.1 is a flowchart that includes a general list of the possible behavioral and environmental factors that can affect children’s movement, the most widely used educational approaches in schools today, and the specific physical education methods and activities that have been effective when teaching children with learning disabilities, ADHD, or DCD. This chart serves as an overview and should help the reader better understand the information provided in this chapter.