An Investigation into the Effects of Extra-Curricular Activity on The Social Developments of Children with Special Educational Needs
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of this research was to explore the extent to which extra-curricular activity can aid the social capabilities of children with special educational needs (SEN). Currently in the UK, 985,000 people have a learning difficulty (EFDS,2012), of this statistic, only 18.5% participate in regular physical activity. Increasing this percentage is a key objective of the Government due to the benefits which can be gained through sport (Hylton, 2013). Although previous literature identifies many ways in which sport can benefit an individual, the evidence relating to SEN and social development is limited. Therefore, the significance of the study relates to increasing understanding of the social developments that children with SEN can make through extra-curricular activity. The study followed a qualitative research framework, using interviews as the method of information collection and the participants comprised of the parents and carers of children of the Cardiff Metropolitan Basketball Academy (special needs group). Seven parents and carers were used for the research, an appropriate figure given the time scale and availability of participants. The interviewees had a great depth of knowledge relating to the research, and were able to give a detailed insight into the personal development paths of the young people. The interviews were transcribed and analysed using a thematic approach, revealing the following topics, Special Educational Needs: The Impact; Parents and Networks; School and Physical Education and Sport and Special Educational Needs: The Significance. The key finding of the study was the sheer significance of the benefits the children with SEN gained from the social environment that sport creates. Although the concept of each benefit is the same for those with SEN as for those without, the impact these have on the lives of the children with SEN is significantly greater. An important element of the findings was that each benefit gained by the children with SEN, even if not directly related to social developments, had an overall effect on their personal capabilities. The process of social development is cyclical; through each benefit, personal competences are improved, contributing to the social advancements that are vital for the young people with SEN. The significance of this study in practicality revolves around the findings related to the impact that the children’s needs have on their lives. The main finding was that opportunities for those with SEN are currently scarce, leading to a need for Sport Development Officers (SDO’s) to increase the range of extra-curricular activities available for young people with SEN.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT DEVELOPMENT
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