Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Education

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Hagstrom, Fran

Committee Member/Reader

Frazier, Kimberly

Committee Member/Second Reader

Aslin, Larry



This project investigated the importance and impact of physical activity on the lives of individuals with special needs. Two three-person focus groups, one composed of individuals involved in the Special Olympics and one of individuals not involved in the Special Olympics, participated in the study. Data was collected by videotaping each group’s process during a 20-minute self-directed session that included assigning roles and responsibilities in order to answer 10 semi-structured interview questions. Approach to assigning roles, organization of the process, and answers to the interview questions were analyzed and member checked. This study found that individuals involved in the Special Olympics displayed more speaking turns, episodes of problem solving, and engagement in self and group regulation for task completion. Answers to the interview questions reflected heightened awareness of eating good food and being physically active. This suggests that participation in team activities may create an awareness of social processes that extend beyond sports.