A Critical Examination of School-based Physiotherapists’ Perceived Aptitude and Willingness to Facilitate Health and Wellness Promotion

Jessica Bender, Chris Cale, Shannon Groff, Sunddip Panesar-Aguilar


Placing value on the health and wellness of Children with Disabilities (CWD) should be a core societal value. Twenty percent of children with disabilities aged 10 to 17 are obese. Decreased access to developmentally appropriate recreational activities, and inexperienced instructors lack of knowledge to effectively support their inclusion are barriers to their participation. School-based Physical Therapists (SBPT) are in a distinctive position to provide appropriate and modified fitness programs for children with disabilities. The purpose of this basic qualitative design study was to determine SBPTs’ perspectives on their aptitude and willingness to facilitate fitness, health, and wellness promotion programs for CWD. Social cognitive theory was used as the theoretical grounding for the conceptual framework of this research. The conceptual framework that guided this research was constructed from a combination of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health for Children and Youth and the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program conceptual framework. Purposive sampling yielded 12 participants who took part in semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed through Colaizzi’s seven step method. Results showed that SBPTs felt capable and willing to provide fitness, health, and wellness programs for CWD. Results support findings from the literature that suggest SBPTs are underutilized in the school setting and are equipped to facilitate fitness, health, and wellness initiatives for CWD. Findings inform stakeholders on strategies to steer SBPTs’ role as healthcare professionals in an educational environment. This research brings increased awareness to the potential contribution of SBPTs to partner with schools and families to facilitate fitness, health, and wellness programs for CWD.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/wjssr.v8n4p1


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Copyright (c) 2021 Jessica Bender, Chris Cale, Shannon Groff, Sunddip Panesar-Aguilar

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