Date of this Version
Lieberman, L.J.; Ericson, K.; Perreault, M.; Beach, P.;Williams, K. “You Feel a Sense of Accomplishment”: Outdoor Adventure Experiences of Youths with Visual Impairments during a One-Week Sports Camp. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20, 5584. https://doi.org/10.3390/ ijerph20085584
There are many cognitive, physical, and social–emotional benefits for youths from participating in outdoor adventure activities. However, youths with visual impairments are not given the same opportunities to participate in outdoor adventure activities as their peers without disabilities. The purpose of this study was to examine the outdoor adventure experiences of youths with visual impairments participating in a week-long sports camp. Thirty-seven youths with visual impairment (ages 9–19 years) attending a one-week sports camp participated in this study. Participants engaged in a variety of outdoor adventure activities throughout the week of camp (e.g., sailing, hiking, rock climbing, biking, kayaking). Participants provided written accounts about their outdoor adventure experiences and were observed throughout the week during each activity to examine instructional strategies and task modifications. Additionally, 10 randomly chosen athletes, their one-on-one coaches, and five outdoor recreation specialists participated in focus group interviews. The data analysis revealed three major themes: (1) Benefits, (2) Support, and (3) Barriers. The subthemes of benefits were enjoyment, independence, and relationships; the subthemes of support were instructional strategies and task modifications; and subthemes for barriers were fear and anxiety, exclusion and low expectations, and lack of equipment. These findings support the inclusion of youths with visual impairments in all outdoor adventure programming with appropriate instruction and modification.