Special Olympics unified sports as the possible model in special education (example of athletes - partners cooperation in unified football)
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The article presents the Special Olympics (SO) Unified Sports model as a complex means for: a) skills improvement of athletes with intellectual disability (ID), b) cooperation between athletes and partners, inclusion in community, c) influence on public awareness. Unified sports development, principles, benefits are described in detail. Attention is paid to system UNIFY and methods of assessment. The SO theory of “meaningful involvement" proclaims advantage of balanced cooperation between athletes with ID and partners without disabilities in the team during the match. Assessment of the cooperation was provided through observation based on Critical Incident Technique with frequency counting selected items (pass to athlete with a disability pass to partner assistance, shoot, goal, yellow-red card). Two selected unified football teams of boys 7-side SO Unified football were assessed: winning unified team (WUT), winner of all matches, loosing unified team (LUT), looser of all matches. Spec...ial Olympics official Individual Football Skill Tests (1ST) which included dribbling, passing, shooting, were used for relevance between skills level and attraction in match cooperation (index 1ST). Results of 1ST were not in direct relation with cooperation items. Athletes with disabilities preferred asking partners for cooperation. The cooperation is influenced by winning-loosing match development. Despite of the numeric data and absence of assessment of emotional and social items at each tournament the positive team context, satisfied atmosphere was visible. The pleasant mood in the team cooperation seemed to be important marker of benefit of unified sports model.
Keywords:intellectual disability / SO Individual Skills Test / Critical Incident Technique assessment / index of activity
Source:Approaches and Models in Special Education and Rehabilitation -Thematic Collection of International Importance, Belgrade, 2020, 2020, 99-116
- University of Belgrade – Faculty of Special Education and Rehabilitation Publishing Center of the Faculty