In a 2004 report to the World Health Organization, Claudine Sherrill defined the field of adapted physical activity as not only a means to provide services, rehabilitation and therapy for individuals with disabilities in relation to physical activity, but as a way to empower individuals by giving the tools and opportunities to be physically active. For individuals with disabilities, physical activity can serve to improve a variety of health outcomes, mental wellbeing, and quality of life. Yet, outside of small, dedicated field of scholars and practitioners, much about the field of adapted physical activity (and, subsequently, adapted physical education) is unknown or misunderstood.
As a field, adapted physical activity can trace its roots to the late 1800s and has impacted a myriad fields ranging from exercise science to physical therapy to recreation. Yet, without a shared history is it difficult to chart a path forward or make determinations regarding the effectiveness of its’ methods. Perhaps most importantly, it is hard to build a collective of advocates that can advance a unified message. This project proposes to fill this gap.
In the ADAPTED Project, I will collect the shared works of our profession to examine the successes as well as its’ failures. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, I will interview prominent scholars, practitioners, and stakeholders to capture their experiences and their histories. During the generation of information, I will develop a digital archive to preserve these histories for future generations. I will, also, analyze the collected data for common threads about the past to provide a foundation for the profession to move forward. In doing so for the profession, I will also be creating a reference for those outside the profession—the public—to gain insight into the adapted physical education and activity world.
The goal of the ADAPTED Project is threefold. These are to:
- collect and document the institutional knowledge shared by the generations of adapted physical education and activity scholars and practitioners. This includes capturing historical knowledge from written texts and oral narratives;
- share oral stories through multiple mediums with the field and broader society. This will include a book, podcast series, and digital archive; and
- create a living repository that persists in capturing the shared history of scholars, practitioners, and stakeholders.
If you would like to have access to the archive of interviews and historical documents, please use the contact form (below) to provide a detailed description of your intention of the data. Data generation is ongoing and will start to be available around mid-2021.