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Anna Nadolska and Maciej Wilski

Abstract

Introduction: For most children, among them with intellectual disabilities, the family is the first and the most important factor in the development. Parents influence indirectly on the motor area by their preferences in the educational methods. The family is an area in which proactive behavior patterns are transmitted. Involving the child with intellectual disability into sport activities is usually in the families where parents have positive attitude to sport. Important is the fact that parents join into the first activities from the very beginning. The main aim of this study was the statement: which elements of family background of intellectual disability children have the influence on taking up sport activities. Factors, which were significant in activating children into sport activities were: the parents’ attitude to sport activities, the parents’ attitude towards children, the family’s social-economic status and the environmental social-sport capital.

Material and methods: The results obtained from 121 families with children with moderately intellectual disabilities in aged 8 to 11 years. Participation in Special Olympics has become the basis for the division of subjects into two groups - the active and passive children. The testing kit has been prepared consisting of several distinct measurement tools: The Scale of Parents' Attitudes Towards Sports Activities, Parent’s Attitude Questionnaire, Environmental Questionnaire of Social-Sport Capital, Scale of Social-Economic Status of Families.

Results: The results show clearly that the strongest factors determining inclusion of a children with intellectual disabilities in sport are the attitudes of parents to promote sport and the availability of social-sport capital. The study found that there is no correlation between social-economic status of the family, parent’s attitude and sport activity.

Conclusions: The leading proposal emerging from this work is the significant impact of the ecosystem resources of a child with an intellectual disability on its commitment to pursue sporting activities.

Open access

Tomasz Tasiemski, Maciej Wilski and Kamila Mędak

An Assessment of Athletic Identity in Blind and Able-Bodied Tandem Cyclists

Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine the athletic identity (AI) of blind and able-bodied tandem cyclists and explore its relationship to selected variables. An additional objective of this study was to analyze the reliability of the seven-item Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS) for tandem cyclists. Methods. The participants (N = 50) completed measures of AI, variables characterizing their loss of vision (degree and time of loss) and variables characterizing their sports level (the number of hours of training per week and sports experience). Results. The AI level of able-bodied tandem captains is significantly higher than the level in visually impaired athletes. Blind tandem cyclists were found to be a fairly homogeneous group according to AI. There were no differences in AI and the degree and time of vision loss, the number of hours of training per week and when a cycling license was received. Psychometric analysis showed that AIMS is a reliable and consistent research tool in the evaluation of AI of tandem cyclists. Conclusions. The findings suggest that there is a need to increase the involvement of blind cyclists in the sport as well as their responsibility for sports results.

Open access

Maciej Wilski and Julia Anastazja Sienkiewicz Wilowska

Abstract

The article presents the results of research on the relationship between social support and self-care of people with myocardial infarction. 127 patients treated in a rehabilitation centre participated in the study. The Inventory of Socially Supportive Behaviours (ISSB) and the Self-care Questionnaire (KTS) developed by the author, were used. The findings suggest that persons receiving little support are characterised by lower level of self-care than people with medium and high level of support. No such difference was noted between people with medium and high support level. This suggests that social support is of considerable importance for the changes in the level of self-care only in the case of people previously receiving little support. The research also indicates that informational support is related to higher level of self-care whereas instrumental support is related to lower level of self-care. Emotional support was significant only for the care for social functioning.

Open access

Maciej Wilski, Anna Nadolska, Sandra Dowling, Roy Mcconkey and David Hassan

Abstract

Purpose. This study aims to identify the impact of the Special Olympics’ Unified Sports program on the personal development of its participants. Methods. A qualitative method was used, which included gathering data by interviewing individual athletes and unified teams, by collecting individual personal histories and by use of connection charts from five European countries that participate in the Unified Sports program. A total of 221 data samples were recorded. Results. Athletes reported improvements in their abilities on the field as well as increased fitness and technical ability. They emphasized the importance of team-work and trust between athletes. Improvements in confidence, self-esteem and communication skills were also reported by athletes. Partners also reported a positive change in attitude towards people with intellectual disabilities. Friendships were a central and vital aspect of taking part in the teams. Friendships developed between athletes and partners. Athletes reported increased access to community “places” such as sports facilities and social venues. Conclusions. Unified Sports is an exciting initiative that holds much promise in transforming the life experiences of young athletes with intellectual disabilities. The impact of the Unified Sports program on the personal development of participants applies to all areas of human functioning - physical, mental and social. Our evaluation suggests that its concepts and modes of operations transcend national boundaries and cultures at least within a European context.