Title page for ETD etd-08202008-155351

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author de Swardt, Junita
Email junita.deswardt@vodamail.co.za
URN etd-08202008-155351
Document Title Leisure functioning of learners with learning and physical disabilities : a case study at an ELSEN school in the Tshwane area
Degree Master of Arts
Department Biokinetics, Sport and Leisure Sciences
Advisor Name Title
Prof A E Goslin Co-Supervisor
Dr J G U Van Wyk Supervisor
  • learners
  • education
  • leisure functioning
  • physical disabilities
  • learning disabilities
  • lifelong participation
  • special education needs.
Date 2008-04-21
Availability unrestricted

Nationally and internationally the integration of people with disabilities into mainstream society is gaining attention. Leisure and sport play important roles in this integration process. Few services and opportunities, however, exist for people with disabilities to participate equally in society. It seems that recreation providers focus primarily on recreation programs for able-bodied people in communities. These inequalities are realized. It is also documented in the National Sport and Recreation Act (1998) that the development of sport and recreation opportunities for people with disabilities is important.

Due to the numerous health benefits of leisure participation, lifelong participation needs to be encouraged when leisure opportunities are developed and implemented in communities. It is important that people with disabilities derive maximum benefit from sport and recreation involvement to ensure continued participation throughout the lifespan.

Individuals derive maximum benefits from sport and recreation activity involvement when they perceive freedom during these activities. These activities range from athletics and soccer to chess and art. “Perceived freedom” is the central indicator of leisure functioning. Freedom can only be experienced when the learners with physical and learning disabilities experience satisfactory levels of leisure competence, control during leisure activities, needs satisfaction and depth of involvement as components of leisure functioning.

The following hypothesis was formulated for the study: “Leisure functioning of learners with learning and physical disabilities does not contribute to an independent leisure lifestyle”.

The aims of this study were to determine the following components of leisure functioning through the use of the standardised Leisure Diagnostic Battery (LDB):

  • leisure competence of learners;
  • being able to control the process and outcomes of leisure participation ;
  • needs satisfaction and
  • depth of involvement in leisure activities.

Data collected in this study were processed by means of quantitative research. Research methods included an external environmental analysis (literature reviews), an internal environmental analysis (internal policies and programs and interview), and a questionnaire. The questionnaire was administered to a sample of learners (38%) with physical and learning disabilities at an ELSEN (Education for Learners with Special Education Needs) School in Tshwane.

It was found that learners at the ELSEN School had an 85% (63.73/75) leisure functioning rate. The learners with learning disabilities had a slightly higher leisure functioning rate of 85.32% (63.99/75) than the learners with physical disabilities with an 84.27% (63.2/75) rate.

The high level of leisure functioning indicated that the learners perceived high levels of freedom during their leisure participation at the school. The formulated hypothesis could therefore not be accepted. The leisure functioning of the learners are high and should therefore contribute to an independent leisure lifestyle.

In order to utilize the full potential of the leisure activities at the school the following aspects are suggested for further research:

  • In order to increase leisure participation at the school, constraints hindering participation need to be determined.
  • Assessment of a broader base of learners (including all the grades) would be recommended for further planning of programs and activities.

© University of Pretoria 2007


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