Active play in children with intellectual disabilities


Active play programmes run in all Glasgow mainstream primary schools and have been shown to positively impact physical and social development. However, active play is not implemented in any additional support for learning (ASL) schools. We previously conducted a feasibility study that demonstrated that it was possible to implement an active play programme in two ASL schools. We now need to better understand the feasibility of implementing an active play programme in a greater number of schools.

What we will do
This study will investigate the feasibility of a cluster randomised controlled trial of an active play intervention in children with intellectual disabilities.

We aim to recruit eight ASL schools (N=4 control, N=4 intervention) and 10-15 children with intellectual disabilities per school. Active play will be delivered for one hour per week for 15 weeks, consisting of progressive sessions focussing on structured and free play.

Physical activity and sedentary behaviour levels, fundamental movement skills, mental health, quality of life, and anthropometric data will be measured pre- and post-intervention. We will also conduct a health economics assessment and process evaluation.

This project is the first to investigate active play in children with intellectual disabilities and will have important implications for this field of research.

For further information on this research, please contact Arlene McGarty

Page updated February 2023