Sports participation for individuals with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC)

DClinPsych Thesis

Kimber, A. 2019. Sports participation for individuals with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC). DClinPsych Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
AuthorsKimber, A.
TypeDClinPsych Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Clinical Psychology

Background: Young People (YP) with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) are often excluded from participating in physical activity (PA). Insufficient literature exists exploring this issue. The present study therefore aimed to explore the experiences of individuals coaching YP with ASC, to determine what works well in engaging and motivating YP with ASC in sport, and what the challenges are in doing so.

Methods: Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with coaches of YP with ASC. Data were transcribed and subjected to thematic analysis. Validation interviews were conducted with two YP with ASC to further explore this matter.

Results: Five key themes were identified. These were: the coach-athlete relationship, coaching strategies, benefits of participation, behaviour management, and ASC and PA. Data from validation interviews demonstrated some similarities with coach’s opinions but also some differences.

Discussion: The findings suggested the coach-athlete relationship is vital in engaging and motivating YP with ASC to participate. Importantly, the diversity of YP with ASC was recognised, outlining the need for a person-centred approach to coaching. Some general strategies were discussed as helpful, particularly relating to structure and communication. Clinical and research implications are discussed.

KeywordsAutistic Spectrum Condition; Sports participation
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Deposited06 Jan 2020
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