Incorporating daily physical activity in kindergarten children with disabilities: effect on classroom behavior and activity engagement
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Children with disabilities often experience challenges staying on-task during instructional time in a classroom which is why this an important area of study for teachers and researchers. Physical activity has been shown to have a positive impact on classroom behavior. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of implementing 4 5-min breaks of daily physical activity (DPA) in a kindergarten classroom of children with disabilities at improving on-task behavior and reducing self-stimulatory behavior (n=14). A secondary purpose was to determine the level of engagement and feasibility of incorporating a DPA program in a classroom of children with disabilities. Classroom Behavior: Results indicated significant increases in on-task behavior from baseline measures to follow-up measures, immediately following 5-minutes of DPA, and from baseline to intervention phase. In addition, self-stimulatory behaviors also significantly reduced in participants who exhibited self-stimulatory behavior. Engagement and Feasibility: Results indicated significant improvements in engagement during DPA from week 1 to week 4. Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that incorporating 4 5-minute bouts of DPA in a classroom of children with disabilities is effective at increasing time on-task and reducing self-stimulatory behaviors. In addition, the DPA program was feasible and engagement level was achieved in students. These findings warrant future research with greater ranges of age groups and a longitudinal study design for children with disabilities.