An Evaluation of Special Olympics Pilot Implementation of Project Unify in Five Countries.

Sandra Dowling, David Hassan, Roy McConkey

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract

Project Unify is a strategy developed by Special Olympics to bring together youth with and without intellectual disabilities through a range of sports and awareness raising activities. The aim of the programme is to encourage the routine acceptance and inclusion of young people with intellectual disabilities, to challenge negative attitudes towards them and to develop confidence, advocacy and leadership skills amongst young people who take part in the programme. Originally conceived as a school based programme and implemented in the USA over the past five years, the expansion of the programme into Europe and India will see it move beyond school based activities to also include SO programmes and sports clubs as it’s base, whilst continuing to work closely with schools. This report describes an evaluation of the pilot implementation of Special Olympics’ Project Unify, which was undertaken by a team from the Regional Research Collaborating Centre for Special Olympics Europe Eurasia based at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. Over an 18-month period Project Unify was piloted in four European countries Serbia, Italy, Romania and Austria and also in India. The evaluation ran in parallel with the pilot and concluded in June 2013. The overarching aim of the evaluation was to assess the impact of Special Olympics’ Project Unify in promoting positive attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities, encouraging leadership skills amongst participants as well as promoting social inclusion and developing opportunities for advocacy amongst people with intellectual disabilities.
LanguageEnglish
Number of pages66
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013

Fingerprint

disability
evaluation
inclusion
leadership
school
sports club
India
regional research
Serbia
Romania
Austria
Sports
Italy
acceptance
confidence

Keywords

  • Project Unify
  • Special Olympics
  • Sport
  • Intellectual Disability

Cite this

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title = "An Evaluation of Special Olympics Pilot Implementation of Project Unify in Five Countries.",
abstract = "Project Unify is a strategy developed by Special Olympics to bring together youth with and without intellectual disabilities through a range of sports and awareness raising activities. The aim of the programme is to encourage the routine acceptance and inclusion of young people with intellectual disabilities, to challenge negative attitudes towards them and to develop confidence, advocacy and leadership skills amongst young people who take part in the programme. Originally conceived as a school based programme and implemented in the USA over the past five years, the expansion of the programme into Europe and India will see it move beyond school based activities to also include SO programmes and sports clubs as it’s base, whilst continuing to work closely with schools. This report describes an evaluation of the pilot implementation of Special Olympics’ Project Unify, which was undertaken by a team from the Regional Research Collaborating Centre for Special Olympics Europe Eurasia based at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. Over an 18-month period Project Unify was piloted in four European countries Serbia, Italy, Romania and Austria and also in India. The evaluation ran in parallel with the pilot and concluded in June 2013. The overarching aim of the evaluation was to assess the impact of Special Olympics’ Project Unify in promoting positive attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities, encouraging leadership skills amongst participants as well as promoting social inclusion and developing opportunities for advocacy amongst people with intellectual disabilities.",
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note = "Reference text: Abells, D. Burbidge, Julia. & Minnes, P (2008) Involvement of Adolescents with Intellectual Disabilities in Social and Recreational Activities. Journal of Developmental Disabilities Volume 14, 2 pp 88-94 Aitchison, C. (2003) From leisure and disability to disability leisure: Developing data, definitions and discourses. Disability and Society 18, pp. 955-969. Acton, I.I. & Zarbatany, I. (1998) Interaction and performance within cooperative groups: Effects on non-handicapped students’ attitudes to mentally retarded peers. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 93, 16-23. Akrami.N, Ekehammar.B, Claesson.M & Sonnander.K., (2006) Classical and modern prejudice: Attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities. 27pp.605-617 Antonak, R. & Linveh, II. (2000) Measurement of Attitudes towards persons with intellectual disabilities. Disability and Rehabilitation, 39, pp. 211-224 Berry, J. & Dalal, A. (1996) Disability Attitudes Beliefs and Behviours: Report on an international project in community based rehabilitation. Report submitted to International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation. Brennan, C., Linehan, C., O’Doherty, S., O’Malley, E., O’Rathaile, C., Roberts, W., Shanon, S., Weldon, F., & Wolfe, M., (2012) The Anti-Bullying Research Project. National Institute of Intellectual Disability, Trinity College Dublin. Buysse, V., Goldman, B. D., & Skinner, M. L. (2002). Setting effects on friendship formation among young children withand without disabilities. Exceptional Children, 68, 503–517. Cummins, R.A. & Lau, L.D. (2003) Community Integration or Community Exposure? A review and discussion in relation to people with intellectual disability. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 16, pp 145-157. Dattilo, J. (2002) Inclusive leisure services (2nd ed.), Venture, State College, PA Dattilo, J., Hoge, G. and Malley, S. M. (1996) Interviewing people with mental retardation: Validity and reliability strategies. Therapeutic Recreation Journal 30 , pp. 163-178 Dowling, S., Menke, S., McConkey,R., & Hassan, D., (2013) Sport and Disability: The Special Olympics Youth Unified Sports Programme. In: Hassan, D. & Lusted, J, (eds) Managing Sport: Social and Cultural Perspectives. London: Routledge. Driver, B. Brown, P. and Peterson, G. L. (1991) Benefits of leisure. Venture, State College, PA. Duvdevany, I., & Arar, E. (2004). Leisure activities, friendships, and quality of life of persons with intellectual disability: Foster homes vs. community residential settings. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 27, 4, pp 289-296. Eiginbroad, T. & Retish, P. (1988) Work experience employers attitudes regarding the employability of special education students. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 11, pp15-25 European Commission (2009) White Paper on Sport: the Societal Role of Sport. Brussels, Author. Evans, I. M., Salisbury, C. L., Palombaro, M. M., Berryman, J.,& Hollowood, T. M. (1992). Peer interactions and social acceptance of elementary-age children with severe disabilities in an inclusive school. Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 17, pp205–212. Galambos, L. Lee, R. , Rahn, P. and Williams, B. (1994) The ADA: Getting beyond the door. Parks and Recreation 29, pp. 67-71. Geisthardt C. L., Brotherson M. J. & Cook C. C. (2002) Friendships of children with disabilities in the home environment. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities 37, pp 235–252. Gething, L. (1994) The interaction with disabled persons scale. Journal of Social Behaviour and Personality, 9. pp23-42. Gilmore, L. Campbell, J. & Cuskelly, M. (2003) Developmental expectations, personality stereotypes and attitudes towards inclusive education: Community teacher views of Down Syndrome. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 50, pp 65-76. Guralnick M. J., Gottman J. M. & Hammon M. A. (1996) Effects of social setting on the friendship formation of young children differing in developmental status. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 17, pp 625–651. Hall, L. J., & McGregor, J. A. (2000). A follow-up study of the relationships of children with disabilities in an inclusive school. Journal of Special Education, 34, pp 114–126. Hall, L. J., & Strickett, T. (2002). Peer relationships of preadolescent students with disabilities who attend a separate school. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 37, pp 399–409. Harada, C.M., Siperstein, G.N. Parker, R.C. & Lenox, D., (2011) Promoting Social Inclusion for People with Intellectual Disabilities through sport: Special Olympics International global sport initiatives and strategies. Sport in Society. 14(9). International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities. (2001) The Edinburgh Principles. Clifton Park, New York. Kersh,J., (2011) Attitudes to People with Intellectual Disabilities: Current Status and new Directions. In: Hodapp, R.M. (ed) International Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities, Vol 14. Oxford: Academic Press. King, G., Law, M., King, S., Rosenbaum, P., Kertoy, M. K., & Young, N. L. (2003). A conceptual model of the factors affecting the recreation and leisure participation of children with disabilities. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 23(1), 63-90. McConkey. R, Dowling. S, Hassan, D. & Menke, S., (2012) Promoting Social Inclusion through Unified Sports for youth with Intellectual Disabilities: a five-nation study. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. McConkey,R. & McCormack, B. (1983) Breaking Barriers: Educating people about disability. London: Souvenir Press. McGill, J. (1996) Developing leisure identities Brampton Caledon Community Living , Toronto Norins. J, Harada. C, & Brecklinghaus. S, (2007) Inclusion of young people with intellectual disabilities in Europe through Special Olympics Unified Sports. Washington DC, Special Olympics International. Novak, A. (1993) Friendships and community connections between people with and without developmental disabilities. Baltimore: Brookes. Orsmond, G., I., Krauss, M. W., & Seltzer, M.M. (2004). Peer relationships and social and recreational activities among adolescents and adults with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 343, pp245-256 O’Toole, B. & McConkey, R. (1995) Innovationsin Developing Countries for people with intellectual disabilities. Chorley Lancs, Lisieux hall Publications. Parker, R., (2012) Project Unify 2011-2012: Final Evaluation Report. Special Olympics Global Collaborating Centre; University of Massachusetts, Boston. Parmenter, T. (2001) Intellectuals disabilities – Quo Vadis. In: Albrecht, G. Seelman, K. & Bury M. (eds) Handbook of Disability pp 267-296. London: Sage. Patterson, I & Pegg, S (2009) Serious leisure and people with intellectual disabilities: benefits and opportunities. Leisure Studies, 28, 4 pp. 387 - 402 Prescott, G. E. (1994) Leisure as a vocational option for people with disabilities. Leisure Options: The Australian Journal of Leisure and Recreation 4 , pp. 18-23. Priestly, M. (1998) Constructions and creations, materialism and disability theory. Disability and Society, 13, pp 75-94 Rees. L, Spreen. O, & Harnadek. M, (1991) Do attitudes towards persons with handicaps really shift over time? Comparison between 1975 and 1988. Mental Retardation, 29 pp 81-86 Schwartz. C, & Armony-Sivan. R, (2001) Students attitudes to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the community. Disability & Society, 16, pp 403-413. Shank, J. W., Coyle, C. P. , Boyd, R. and Kinney, W. B. (1996) A classification scheme of therapeutic recreation research grounded in the rehabilitative sciences. Therapeutic Recreation Journal 30:(3) , pp. 179-197 Siperstein, G.N. Norins, J. Corbin, S. & Shriver, T. (2003) Multinational Study of Attitudes towards Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, General Findings and calls to Action, Washington DC, Special Olympics International. Tak-fai Lau, J. & Cheung, C. (1999) Discriminatory attitudes towards people with intellectual disability or mental health difficulty. International Social Work, 42, pp 431-444 Tregaskis, C. (2000) Interviewing non-disabled people about their disability related attitudes: Seeking methodologies. Disability and Society, 15, pp 343-353 United Nations (2006) Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. New York, Geneva; UN. Wolfensberger, W. (2000) A brief overview of the principles of social role valorization. Mental Retardation, 38, pp 105-124. Yuker, H. & Block, J. (1986) Research with the Attitude Towards Disabled Persons Scales; 1960-1985. Hampstead.",
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An Evaluation of Special Olympics Pilot Implementation of Project Unify in Five Countries. / Dowling, Sandra; Hassan, David; McConkey, Roy.

2013. 66 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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N1 - Reference text: Abells, D. Burbidge, Julia. & Minnes, P (2008) Involvement of Adolescents with Intellectual Disabilities in Social and Recreational Activities. Journal of Developmental Disabilities Volume 14, 2 pp 88-94 Aitchison, C. (2003) From leisure and disability to disability leisure: Developing data, definitions and discourses. Disability and Society 18, pp. 955-969. Acton, I.I. & Zarbatany, I. (1998) Interaction and performance within cooperative groups: Effects on non-handicapped students’ attitudes to mentally retarded peers. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 93, 16-23. Akrami.N, Ekehammar.B, Claesson.M & Sonnander.K., (2006) Classical and modern prejudice: Attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities. 27pp.605-617 Antonak, R. & Linveh, II. (2000) Measurement of Attitudes towards persons with intellectual disabilities. Disability and Rehabilitation, 39, pp. 211-224 Berry, J. & Dalal, A. (1996) Disability Attitudes Beliefs and Behviours: Report on an international project in community based rehabilitation. Report submitted to International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation. Brennan, C., Linehan, C., O’Doherty, S., O’Malley, E., O’Rathaile, C., Roberts, W., Shanon, S., Weldon, F., & Wolfe, M., (2012) The Anti-Bullying Research Project. National Institute of Intellectual Disability, Trinity College Dublin. Buysse, V., Goldman, B. D., & Skinner, M. L. (2002). Setting effects on friendship formation among young children withand without disabilities. Exceptional Children, 68, 503–517. Cummins, R.A. & Lau, L.D. (2003) Community Integration or Community Exposure? A review and discussion in relation to people with intellectual disability. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 16, pp 145-157. Dattilo, J. (2002) Inclusive leisure services (2nd ed.), Venture, State College, PA Dattilo, J., Hoge, G. and Malley, S. M. (1996) Interviewing people with mental retardation: Validity and reliability strategies. Therapeutic Recreation Journal 30 , pp. 163-178 Dowling, S., Menke, S., McConkey,R., & Hassan, D., (2013) Sport and Disability: The Special Olympics Youth Unified Sports Programme. In: Hassan, D. & Lusted, J, (eds) Managing Sport: Social and Cultural Perspectives. London: Routledge. Driver, B. Brown, P. and Peterson, G. L. (1991) Benefits of leisure. Venture, State College, PA. Duvdevany, I., & Arar, E. (2004). Leisure activities, friendships, and quality of life of persons with intellectual disability: Foster homes vs. community residential settings. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 27, 4, pp 289-296. Eiginbroad, T. & Retish, P. (1988) Work experience employers attitudes regarding the employability of special education students. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 11, pp15-25 European Commission (2009) White Paper on Sport: the Societal Role of Sport. Brussels, Author. Evans, I. M., Salisbury, C. L., Palombaro, M. M., Berryman, J.,& Hollowood, T. M. (1992). Peer interactions and social acceptance of elementary-age children with severe disabilities in an inclusive school. Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 17, pp205–212. Galambos, L. Lee, R. , Rahn, P. and Williams, B. (1994) The ADA: Getting beyond the door. Parks and Recreation 29, pp. 67-71. Geisthardt C. L., Brotherson M. J. & Cook C. C. (2002) Friendships of children with disabilities in the home environment. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities 37, pp 235–252. Gething, L. (1994) The interaction with disabled persons scale. Journal of Social Behaviour and Personality, 9. pp23-42. Gilmore, L. Campbell, J. & Cuskelly, M. (2003) Developmental expectations, personality stereotypes and attitudes towards inclusive education: Community teacher views of Down Syndrome. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 50, pp 65-76. Guralnick M. J., Gottman J. M. & Hammon M. A. (1996) Effects of social setting on the friendship formation of young children differing in developmental status. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 17, pp 625–651. Hall, L. J., & McGregor, J. A. (2000). A follow-up study of the relationships of children with disabilities in an inclusive school. Journal of Special Education, 34, pp 114–126. Hall, L. J., & Strickett, T. (2002). Peer relationships of preadolescent students with disabilities who attend a separate school. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 37, pp 399–409. Harada, C.M., Siperstein, G.N. Parker, R.C. & Lenox, D., (2011) Promoting Social Inclusion for People with Intellectual Disabilities through sport: Special Olympics International global sport initiatives and strategies. Sport in Society. 14(9). International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities. (2001) The Edinburgh Principles. Clifton Park, New York. Kersh,J., (2011) Attitudes to People with Intellectual Disabilities: Current Status and new Directions. In: Hodapp, R.M. (ed) International Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities, Vol 14. Oxford: Academic Press. King, G., Law, M., King, S., Rosenbaum, P., Kertoy, M. K., & Young, N. L. (2003). A conceptual model of the factors affecting the recreation and leisure participation of children with disabilities. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 23(1), 63-90. McConkey. R, Dowling. S, Hassan, D. & Menke, S., (2012) Promoting Social Inclusion through Unified Sports for youth with Intellectual Disabilities: a five-nation study. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. McConkey,R. & McCormack, B. (1983) Breaking Barriers: Educating people about disability. London: Souvenir Press. McGill, J. (1996) Developing leisure identities Brampton Caledon Community Living , Toronto Norins. J, Harada. C, & Brecklinghaus. S, (2007) Inclusion of young people with intellectual disabilities in Europe through Special Olympics Unified Sports. Washington DC, Special Olympics International. Novak, A. (1993) Friendships and community connections between people with and without developmental disabilities. Baltimore: Brookes. Orsmond, G., I., Krauss, M. W., & Seltzer, M.M. (2004). Peer relationships and social and recreational activities among adolescents and adults with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 343, pp245-256 O’Toole, B. & McConkey, R. (1995) Innovationsin Developing Countries for people with intellectual disabilities. Chorley Lancs, Lisieux hall Publications. Parker, R., (2012) Project Unify 2011-2012: Final Evaluation Report. Special Olympics Global Collaborating Centre; University of Massachusetts, Boston. Parmenter, T. (2001) Intellectuals disabilities – Quo Vadis. In: Albrecht, G. Seelman, K. & Bury M. (eds) Handbook of Disability pp 267-296. London: Sage. Patterson, I & Pegg, S (2009) Serious leisure and people with intellectual disabilities: benefits and opportunities. Leisure Studies, 28, 4 pp. 387 - 402 Prescott, G. E. (1994) Leisure as a vocational option for people with disabilities. Leisure Options: The Australian Journal of Leisure and Recreation 4 , pp. 18-23. Priestly, M. (1998) Constructions and creations, materialism and disability theory. Disability and Society, 13, pp 75-94 Rees. L, Spreen. O, & Harnadek. M, (1991) Do attitudes towards persons with handicaps really shift over time? Comparison between 1975 and 1988. Mental Retardation, 29 pp 81-86 Schwartz. C, & Armony-Sivan. R, (2001) Students attitudes to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the community. Disability & Society, 16, pp 403-413. Shank, J. W., Coyle, C. P. , Boyd, R. and Kinney, W. B. (1996) A classification scheme of therapeutic recreation research grounded in the rehabilitative sciences. Therapeutic Recreation Journal 30:(3) , pp. 179-197 Siperstein, G.N. Norins, J. Corbin, S. & Shriver, T. (2003) Multinational Study of Attitudes towards Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, General Findings and calls to Action, Washington DC, Special Olympics International. Tak-fai Lau, J. & Cheung, C. (1999) Discriminatory attitudes towards people with intellectual disability or mental health difficulty. International Social Work, 42, pp 431-444 Tregaskis, C. (2000) Interviewing non-disabled people about their disability related attitudes: Seeking methodologies. Disability and Society, 15, pp 343-353 United Nations (2006) Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. New York, Geneva; UN. Wolfensberger, W. (2000) A brief overview of the principles of social role valorization. Mental Retardation, 38, pp 105-124. Yuker, H. & Block, J. (1986) Research with the Attitude Towards Disabled Persons Scales; 1960-1985. Hampstead.

PY - 2013/8/1

Y1 - 2013/8/1

N2 - Project Unify is a strategy developed by Special Olympics to bring together youth with and without intellectual disabilities through a range of sports and awareness raising activities. The aim of the programme is to encourage the routine acceptance and inclusion of young people with intellectual disabilities, to challenge negative attitudes towards them and to develop confidence, advocacy and leadership skills amongst young people who take part in the programme. Originally conceived as a school based programme and implemented in the USA over the past five years, the expansion of the programme into Europe and India will see it move beyond school based activities to also include SO programmes and sports clubs as it’s base, whilst continuing to work closely with schools. This report describes an evaluation of the pilot implementation of Special Olympics’ Project Unify, which was undertaken by a team from the Regional Research Collaborating Centre for Special Olympics Europe Eurasia based at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. Over an 18-month period Project Unify was piloted in four European countries Serbia, Italy, Romania and Austria and also in India. The evaluation ran in parallel with the pilot and concluded in June 2013. The overarching aim of the evaluation was to assess the impact of Special Olympics’ Project Unify in promoting positive attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities, encouraging leadership skills amongst participants as well as promoting social inclusion and developing opportunities for advocacy amongst people with intellectual disabilities.

AB - Project Unify is a strategy developed by Special Olympics to bring together youth with and without intellectual disabilities through a range of sports and awareness raising activities. The aim of the programme is to encourage the routine acceptance and inclusion of young people with intellectual disabilities, to challenge negative attitudes towards them and to develop confidence, advocacy and leadership skills amongst young people who take part in the programme. Originally conceived as a school based programme and implemented in the USA over the past five years, the expansion of the programme into Europe and India will see it move beyond school based activities to also include SO programmes and sports clubs as it’s base, whilst continuing to work closely with schools. This report describes an evaluation of the pilot implementation of Special Olympics’ Project Unify, which was undertaken by a team from the Regional Research Collaborating Centre for Special Olympics Europe Eurasia based at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. Over an 18-month period Project Unify was piloted in four European countries Serbia, Italy, Romania and Austria and also in India. The evaluation ran in parallel with the pilot and concluded in June 2013. The overarching aim of the evaluation was to assess the impact of Special Olympics’ Project Unify in promoting positive attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities, encouraging leadership skills amongst participants as well as promoting social inclusion and developing opportunities for advocacy amongst people with intellectual disabilities.

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KW - Intellectual Disability

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