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2019 Service-Learning Symposium: Effects of Physical Activity in Adults with Developmental Disabilities

2019 Service-Learning Symposium

Presentation Details

Effects of Physical Activity in Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Authors: Cameron Martin, Diana Ramirez, and Bradley Rickard

Faculty Supervisor: Lesley Leonard, Ph.D.


This project studied the relationship between adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) and physical activity. For this service-learning course, the class of Wellness Methods and Strategies partnered with Social Opportunities and Active Recreation (SOAR).  The community partner is a Coastal Georgia based non-profit that provides assistance to adults with intellectual disabilities. SOAR provides opportunities for its participants to engage in physical activity, socialize and enables them to work toward reaching short term goals. The impact that the project had in the class was beneficial to both students as much as the clients. The students were in charge of planning and developing weekly activities for the clients taking into account their individual short-term goals and helping the clients to accomplish them.
Previous literature review showed that the levels of physical activity for individuals with ID were lower compared to the levels observed in the general population. In addition to this, it was also found that sedentary behavior increased the chances for individuals with ID to develop secondary diseases and that they were significantly predisposed to obesity. The activities that the students developed for the clients were influenced by the literature and designed to include a physical activity component so that the clients were able to benefit from learning how to perform functional movement correctly as well as promoting healthy eating habits.