The types of physical activities children with visual impairment participate in and the reasons why
British Journal of Visual Impairment
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Australian children with visual impairment (VI) are underrepresented in studies exploring engagement in physical activities. Existing research documents that children with VI do not meet recommendations for physical activity guidelines which negatively impacts their physical and mental health. To improve participation, information is needed on what physical activities children with VI participate in and why. The objective of this study was to explore what physical activities children with VI participate in and why how they first got involved in them. A larger study was designed to explore multiple aspects of physical activity participation. This article presents findings relevant to what activities Western Australian children with VI participate in and factors which initiated participation. Findings were collected through a survey returned by 38 families and interviews with 22 families including parents and children with VI. School physical education, swimming, play equipment, and walking were the activities with the highest number of participants. Parent factors which motivated participation were having strong values/beliefs which supported engagement, modelling participation in activities, and seeking specific benefits/outcomes. Child factors which motivated participation included impact of their VI and the child’s choice/interest. External factors included advertisements and accessibility of information. Many Australian children with VI and their parents are motivated to engage in physical activities, with initial participation commonly catalysed by external factors.