Description of Physical Education and Children with CHARGE Syndrome: Research to Practice
Structured Abstract: Introduction: Children with CHARGE syndrome often experience significantly delayed motor development, which affects their performance in many motor skills and physical activities. The purpose of this study was to determine the status of physical education provided to children with CHARGE syndrome. There were five main areas of focus: (1) physical education setting, (2) modes of communication, (3) modifications, (4) successful units, and (5) difficult units in physical education. Methods: A validated questionnaire was completed by 26 parents of children aged 6–19 with CHARGE syndrome who were attending an international CHARGE conference for families. The questionnaire was used as the primary source to obtain parents' perspectives on the physical education experiences of their children with CHARGE syndrome. The results of the feedback from parents were used to offer practical suggestions for physical education programming. Results: The results revealed that the physical education placement affects children's success and parents' satisfaction with regard to physical education. Also, children who had support staff, such as a teacher's aide, paraeducator, or intervenor in physical education had a more successful experience. A variety of communication methods were used with children with CHARGE syndrome. The physical education units that the parents documented as being successful were swimming, scooters, bowling, fencing, T-ball, dancing, rock climbing, floor hockey, field hockey, and gymnastics. The units that the children struggled with the most were fundamental motor skills, such as skipping, running, hopping, and any sports unit with a fast-moving ball. Discussion: Physical education placements, communication, and modifications must be individualized for each child with CHARGE syndrome. In addition, support staff must be trained specifically for the unique needs of a child and the core curricular area of physical education. Implications for Practitioners: Suggestions for improving the physical education program are included to increase children's involvement in class and success in the specific units that are offered.