Developing physical activity interventions for children with a visual impairment: lessons from the First Steps initiative

Jennifer Scally*, Rhiannon Lord

*Corresponding author for this work

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Children with a visual impairment are less active than their sighted peers. Yet they are born with the potential to match their sighted peers’ motor skill competency and levels of physical fitness. Environmental barriers are one of the main causes of inequities. This paper provides insight on these issues, drawing upon a physical activity intervention called ‘First Steps’, a British Blind Sport initiative that aimed to get more children with a visual impairment more active.

Physical activity packs were delivered to 53 children aged 5-15 years old with a visual impairment. Of these participants, 62% had additional impairments or medical conditions. A mixed-methods approach was used to gather participants’ experiences of physical activity prior to receiving this pack and canvas opinion on how the pack changed their activity levels.

The findings revealed inequitable experiences of physical activity. The First Steps pack made considerable progress in developing children’s physical activity levels. Participants’ motor skills, social interactions and confidence improved. Organisations working with this population might look to adopt a similar concept. Recommendations for those wishing to do so are provided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-123
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Visual Impairment
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


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