• THE DOMINO EFFECT: Evaluating Therapeutic Recreation Assessment Tools’ Utility for Persons Experiencing [Dis] abilities

      Salvagna, Jessica; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Assessment tools are part of a systematic process that is needed to provide a comprehensive picture of a client’s ability, performance and/or quality of life. These tools should inspire Therapeutic Recreation (TR) practitioners to reflect on whether our participants are benefiting from our services in the way we think they are benefiting from them (Ellis & Witt, 1986). The purpose of my qualitative research study was threefold. To explore the utility of several selected assessment tools from both the implementer and recipient’s perspective and from a manifest and latent analysis of the clarity and construction of the selected TR assessment tools. Utilization- focused evaluation framework guided this study to better understand which elements within existing assessment tools present a challenge. Three program participants and 26 practitioners participated in the study. The data sets included interview transcripts, focus group summaries of engagement with a “mock” case study, and the tools themselves. Data analysis involved manifest and latent content analyses of the tools, thematic analyses of the interviews and focus group engagement with the case study, and a triangulated comparative pattern analysis across the three data sets. Results indicated five main challenges practitioners experience when administering standardized assessment tools, (1) inconsistencies, (2) language barriers, (3) accessibility, (4) relevance, (5) perspective. Three main themes revealed from the data derived from the target populations, were (1) Fear, (2) Stereotyping and (3) Social Control. This thesis is a gateway for professionals and future researchers to begin a phase of creating new or updating existing TR standardized assessment tools to better meet the needs of ALL the populations we serve. Keywords: Therapeutic Recreation (TR), Assessment Tools, Evaluation, Disability, Mental Health, Barriers, and Utility
    • HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT- Sustainable Physical Activity Program Development and Evaluation for Youth with Special Needs: An Evaluative Case Study

      Lappano, Elyse; Applied Health Sciences Program (Brock University, 2013-09-09)
      The purpose of my research was to contribute to the improvement and sustainability of the Special Needs Activity Program, and develop program implementation strategies that had practical outcomes. I conducted an evaluative case study of S.N.A.P in order to determine what a quality adapted physical activity (APA) program is, why S.N.A.P is considered a quality APA program, and what institutional policies and practices exist to support it. Data was collected via interviews, questionnaires, and observations. Data analysis involved inductive and deductive methods, and a SWOTAR evaluation. Results indicate that quality APA programs include: ‘people’, ‘environment’, and ‘expectations’; there are benefits of experiential learning; activity stations that promote creativity are valuable; several stakeholders do not know the details about S.N.A.P but recognize its value; the institution values what S.N.A.P provides, yet, there is nothing being done to sustain it. Future research should investigate the feasibility of implementing S.N.A.P in various contexts.
    • How to Make it Work: A Case Study of Inclusion in a Community Figure Skating Club

      Morello, Michaela K; Applied Health Sciences Program
      The purpose of my research was to a) examine the organizational and instructional features of the King City Skating Club (KCSC) that contribute to its ability to integrate persons with an accommodation into their figure skating programs and b) develop guidelines for other sport organizations that allow for full and meaningful integration of youth who require accommodations into their programming. I chose to undertake a case study of the KCSC. Data were collected via interviews and a focus group, and introspective field notes were taken within two hours of leaving the club or interview location to provide me with an ongoing internal audit trail. Data analysis involved the identification of salience and patterns as well as overarching thematics informed by Max van Manen’s phenomenological existential categories of body, space, time, and relation. Results indicated five considerations when examining meaningful inclusion in community sport: open and effective communication, education, sense of community, space and time, and having a focus on the participants’ needs. Recommendations for future research included a multiple case study design as well as a focus on specific health benefits.