Effectiveness of physical education programme on health-related fitness of the physically challenged pupils : a case of Joyland Special School, Kisumu
Odiango, Roselyne Ajwan'g
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In this study, the health-related fitness levels of the persons with physical disabilities who participated in an eight-week physical education programme were measured using the project UNIQUE physical fitness test battery of Winnick and Short (1985). The sample comprised 18 boys and girls from classes five, six and seven. Out of the 34 subjects initially sampled for the study 3 did not complete all the tests due to sickness. Data was therefore analysed for 31 subjects i.e. 17 boys and 14 girls for consistency (N = 31). Pretest and post-test design was used in this study. A pre test was carried out two weeks after opening the school and a post-test eight weeks later at the end of the treatment period. The data collected was descriptively analysed and one-way ANOVA was computed to determine the significance of difference between pre and post-test means of the dependent variables under investigation by gender and across the ages. The null hypotheses were rejected at p < 0.05 level of significance. The findings on the healthrelated fitness status of the participants showed they had a lower fitness level at pre-test compared to the post-test. This study established that in cardio- respiratory endurance, abdominal strength endurance and upper body strength boys performed better than girls. In low-back flexibility and resting heart rate both boys and girls demonstrated an improvement at all ages. The overall findings of the study established that there were significant improvements on cardio-respiratory endurance, low-back flexibility, and abdominal strength endurance. However, improvements on upper body strength and body composition were not statistically significant at p < 0.05 level. The result of the findings showed that physical education improves health related fitness of persons with physical disabilities. The study recommends that the programme can be used for the purpose of enhancing the persons with physical disabilities health status at all levels of the education system. The policy makers, curriculum developers at KIE, adapted teacher training institutions should review the adapted physical education curriculum with a view to including more intense activities which can promote the health of persons with physical disabilities. Physical Education programmes should be encouraged in all the schools involving persons with physical disabilities. The study suggest that a study be carried out to establish fitness levels of persons with physical disabilities including larger samples from primary, secondary and university levels, there is need to replicate the current study on other categories of special needs groups.