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Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology$
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Jeffrey J. Martin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190638054

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190638054.001.0001

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Intellectual Impairment

Intellectual Impairment

(p.429) 40 Intellectual Impairment
Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology

Jeffrey J. Martin

Oxford University Press

Athletes with intellectual impairments (II) are starting to attract more research attention. With their reinstatement into the Paralympics, along with the Special Olympics in the United States, athletes with II are also garnering more public attention. This chapter reviews research on athletes with II, in three areas. First is the psychosocial dynamics of sport participation. For instance, it appears that many athletes with II have difficulty maintaining motivation, yet they possess task and ego-type goals like all athletes. Psychological skills for performance enhancement are then discussed. Goal setting, for example, is an excellent tool for helping athletes with their motivation. The last area covered is research on support personnel. A defining feature of athletes with II is their reduced cognitive and functional abilities, communication limitations, and slower ability to develop sport skills. Some athletes might take substantial time to learn psychological skills, whereas other athletes may pick up various skills quite readily. Similarly, coaches may need more patience for athletes whose attention wanders or are easily distracted.

Keywords:   Special Olympics, Paralympics, intellectual impairment, exercise, psychosocial dynamics, communication limitations, support personnel

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