The quality of physical education can be associated with improved individuals’ lifelong well-being and quality of life as an increased physical activity provides physiological and psychological benefits including reduced blood pressure, stress, anxiety, and depression. The Special Olympics British Columbia (SOBC) program is dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities through physical education and sport. As its core, Special Olympics is a sports organization that applies the power of sport as a catalyst for social change and improve the health of people with intellectual disabilities. Athletes are divided into groups depending on their levels (beginning, intermediate, and advanced) and according to their levels, different training regimes are individualized to meet individual athletes’ needs. Due to the wide athletes’ age range, progression and regression of exercises are taken into account to ensure the appropriate motor development according to athletes’ age. Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck Canada, the organization has implemented COVID safety measures, including pilot programs to ensure the athletes’ health and wellbeing. The main purpose of this presentation serves to introduce and evaluate the effectiveness of the systematic design of the SOBC physical activity program. The design, administration, coaching techniques, inclusion policies, and some observation outcomes of the program will be discussed.
School of Kinesiology
University of British Columbia
Abby Cheung is an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia (UBC), majoring in Biomechanical and Physiological Science under the School of Kinesiology. Her academic and research interests are exercise physiology and coaching, with a particular focus on physical activity intervention. She is involved in several community-based services and research projects related to physical activity promotion in different settings. She is a Head Coach of the Special Olympics British Columbia (SOBC) Program responsible for coaching athletes with intellectual disabilities of all age groups and abilities. Furthermore, she is a volunteer for the UBC Active Kids Program, assisting in coaching gymnastics in the youth population. Moreover, she holds a Research Assistantship at the Fitness, Aging, & Stress Lab at UBC under the supervision of Dr. Eli Puterman. Her work intends to foster social inclusion and remove barriers to participate in physical activity for individuals with intellectual disabilities, different age groups, and diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. She is working as a member of the “Future Leader Program” at BRISCESS 2021 – Shanghai and ICPESS 2022 – Barcelona. Received the Outstanding International Student Award (2017).