Motor Performance Of Touth With And Without Mild Mental Retardation: a Comparison

Por: Alena Lejcarova e Pavel Tilinger.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Motor and working skills belong to the conditions that could help youth with mild mental retardation (MR) to a
successful realization of the future working process aimed especially at manual activities. This population will need an
adequate amount of motor performance to contribute to work-related tasks. Physical fitness as a factor in community
and work participation have become important area of inquiry (Beasley, 1982; Fernhall, Tymeson & Webster, 1988;
Croce & Horvat, 1992; Fernhall, 1993; Pitteti, Yarmer & Fernhall, 2001). The purpose of this study was to investigate
motor performance in youth with MR and compare with this in youth without MR.

175 pupils with mild MR (137 males, 38 females; ages 14-15 yr) from Prague special schools participated in this
investigation. Participants were assessed using the test battery Unifittest (6-60) to determine the level of motor
performance. Ten grades norms (quantitative as well as qualitative assessments) were used for individual assessment
and comparison of results within the range of Czech population group of the given sex and age.

Results indicate that pupils from special schools show a below average performance as compared with the norms of the
Czech population, in the test „Standing broad jump" in girls and in the test „12 minute run" in boys performances till
significantly below average. There were only two exceptions: boys aged 14 yr in the test "Shuttle run 4 x 10 m" and 15
yr old boys in the test "Pull-ups" - performances were equal to population norms (average performance).

Our findings are supported by previous studies [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. The low levels on motor abilities are attributed to pupils’
mental disability with associated specifics, lack of motivation during testing and a tendency to stop when
uncomfortable, sedentary lifestyle, fewer opportunities for participation in structured programs. Nevertheless a majority
of special school pupils is passive in the out-of-school voluntary sport activities and they join in motor activities only
during compulsory physical education. Therefore, a relevant attention should be paid to those lessons.

[1]. Beasley, C.R. (1982). Amer. Journ. Ment. Deficien., 90, 303-312.
[2]. Fernhall, B., Tymeson, G.T., & Webster, G.E. (1988). Adapt. Phys. Act. Quart., 5, 12-28.
[3]. Croce, R. & Horvat, M. (1992). Adapt. Phys. Act. Quart., 9, 148-178.
[4]. Fernhall, B. (1993). Med. Sci. Sport. Exerc., 25, 442-450.
[5]. Pitetti, K.H., Yarmer, D.A., & Fernhall, B. (2001). Adapt. Phys. Act. Quart., 18, 127-141.

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