Physical activity experiences of young adults attending a college for neurodiverse learners



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Neurodiversity is a term used to describe a broad spectrum of learning differences (LD) including attention deficit hyper-activity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Asperger’s Syndrome, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, and other social, psychological, or processing differences (Griffin & Pollack, 2009). Neurodiversity is not a diagnosis but is instead a concept inspired by the idea that the long-standing cultural norms that define disability limit our understanding of the vastness of human experience (Shapiro, 1994). Defined under neurodiversity, these conditions are not disorders, but are differences in experiencing and processing physical, social, and cultural environments (Griffin & Pollack, 2009). The larger neurotypical cultural environment limits access and promotes stigmatization of neurodiverse individuals (Griffin & Pollack, 2009), which creates challenges for people who identify as having a neurodiversity. These challenges contribute to low physical activity (PA) participation, and negative perceptions of health, wellness, and quality of life among neurodiverse individuals (Hamm & Yun, 2017; Smith et al., 2019; Yang et al., 2013). Transition to college can exacerbate barriers to PA for neurodiverse young adults. To date, very little research exists on the PA experiences of neurodiverse young adults attending Institutions of higher education (IHE). A few IHEs designed for neurodiverse learners are unique institutions that utilize evidence-based strategies to promote academic and personal success which can have an influence on PA participation in this population. The purpose of this study is to explore PA experiences of neurodiverse young adults and factors that contribute to participation in PA.



Health Sciences, Education, Education, Higher