Child to Child Physical Activity Managing Psychosocial Behaviours among Learners with Severe Intellectual Disabilities in Primary Schools in Selected Counties, Kenya
Wanjiru, Makanya Margaret
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The purpose of the study was to assess the effectiveness of child to child physical activity in managing physical and psychosocial behaviours of learners with severe intellectual disabilities. Objectives of the study were to: identify the psychosocial behaviours among learners with severe intellectual disabilities, explore the extent to which learners with severe intellectual disabilities are involved in physical activity, compare teachers and parents rating of the effects of physical activity on psychosocial behaviours of children with severe intellectual disabilities, determine the effects of child to child physical activity on physical activity levels of learners with and without intellectual disabilities, compare the gross and sensory motor skills performance of learners with severe intellectual disabilities, establish benefits derived by both learners with and without intellectual disabilities before and after organised child to child physical activity programmes and to establish the challenges faced by PE teachers when involving children with severe intellectual disabilities exhibiting psychosocial behaviours in organised child- to -child physical activities programme in primary schools in selected counties in Kenya. The study used a quantitative approach employing a single subject quasi-experimental research design. It also employed questionnaires and physical activity measuring tool (Pedometers) as research instruments in the study. The target population was 210 learners with severe intellectual disabilities and only 36(17.14%) of them and 36 learners without intellectual disabilities aged 10-15 years met the inclusion and exclusion criteria making a total sample size of 72. Other respondents include 36 PE teachers and 36 parents of learners with severe intellectual disabilities. A pilot study was conducted in three primary schools selected from three different counties. Cronbachs’ alpha correlation coefficient of 0.70 was considered to be highly reliable at determining internal consistency. The actual data collection took 12 weeks. Psychosocial behaviour scales in PE teachers’ and parents’ questionnaires were used to establish learners’ behaviour before (pre-test) and after (post-test). Data were analysed using the computer software programme SPSS version (22.0).Frequent identified behaviours among learners with severe intellectual disabilities included; physical activities skill deficit (94.4%), hyperactive (41.7%), withdrawal behaviours (22.2%), anger (25.0%), temper tantrums (19.4%) and screams (16.7%) among others. Learners with severe intellectual disabilities were less (11.1%) involved in physical activities. Inferential statistics by paired sample t-test showed a significant difference in behaviour change (P < 0.05) before and after PA intervention. There was a significant difference in the learner’s physical activity performance of gross and sensory motor (t=15.61, p=0.0001) activities before and after the intervention. A simple linear regression showed a significant relationship (R2=1) between regular child to child PA and the physical activity levels of learners with severe intellectual disabilities. It was concluded that child to child PA improved physical and psychosocial behaviours among learners with severe intellectual disabilities. The study recommends that policy formulators incorporate PA in the school curriculum to initiate child to child physical activity intervention programmes as a recreation to enhance physical and psychosocial behaviour management.