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Get Ahead Kids® Feature Article
Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 5, No. 2 - March/April 2013

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Functional Participation -
The Importance of Being Able to Join In

By Adam Glascock

With easy access to so many forms of sport, physical and social activities, it's hard to come to terms with reasons for the non participation of children gauged purely on availability.

In my experience, schools have changed the model under which these activities take place with more focus on motor skills than purely physical education, hence allowing a more inclusive environment. Inclusivity allows children to move away from physical integration to the integration of people's experiences, knowledge and perspectives.

With the rapid embrace of new technologies especially "screen technologies", children are becoming more sedentary, and that increases the urgency for participation in physical education programs.

Some children may not want to participate in physical education programs for various reasons. One of the overriding factors I have seen is poor lower limb function and gross motor skills making children who are less stable in their running, walking and playing less likely to join in. Children may find it hard to run due to a flattened foot type or internally rotated hip position.

These children may be slower in a running race or less able to catch and pass a ball. An added issue may be obesity, which is due to lack of physical activity or poor diet or both.

Most children want to participate in physical activities to:

  • Excel in organised competitive sport
  • Enjoy casual recreational sport
  • Achieve in active non-competitive sport

Through functional participation in organised physical activities, children should have the opportunity to:

  • Develop & implement strategic play
  • Participate in sport activities appropriate to their stage of development
  • Share in the planning & administration of the sport
  • Develop leadership skills
  • Cooperate with a group towards common goals

In order to achieve within an organised sports environment, children may need appropriate help and equipment. Poor muscle tone (hypotonia), flexibility (hypermobility) and poor biomechanics may decrease functional participation. These may contribute to children taking up "screen technologies" and becoming more sedentary.

About Adam Glascock

At Newcastle Podiatry, Adam ensures that children are comfortable in their play and sport by optimising lower limb function. Not every child needs an orthotic to do this. Adam focuses on practice hip, core and lower limb rehabilitation as a physical therapy to help children to increase their enjoyment of physical activity. An appropriate podiatric approach and a broad range of experience with biomechanics are important to make this happen.

More Information

Adam Glascock
Principal Podiatrist
Newcastle Family and Sports Podiatry
51 Denison St, Hamilton East NSW 2303
P: 02 4961 4411


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