Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Graduate Kinesiology


Cathy McKay

Liz Edwards



Background: The Paralympic School Day (PSD) is a program designed to increase student understandings of Paralympic Sport and the experiences of individuals with disabilities. Through, PSD, students experience changed perceptions and an increased awareness about disability and disability sport. The purpose of this study was to examine student experiences in PSD at the elementary level. Methods: This qualitative study utilized a thematic phenomenological approach. Participants included 77 students in grades third through fifth who participated in a PSD event. Data were collected via reflective writing responses. Written materials were analyzed inductively using a three-step process: immersion in the data, bracketing the data, and determining emergent themes. Results: Analysis revealed three themes related to the participants’ experiences during the PSD event. In the first theme, ““First I thought disabled people could do nothing, but after I went to class my whole mind changed...”: Change of perspective though experience, participants described the way the PSD experience supported their changed perspectives. The second theme, “I was sad that he didn’t have legs”: Experiencing negative thoughts, concerned participants’ experiences of negative thoughts related to PSD. The third theme, “It was hard to move sideways on the floor”: Perspectives on skill development, dealt with the participants’ experiences practicing new skills during PSD. Conclusion: The findings of this study revealed that PSD is a valuable tool for positively influencing student perceptions about Parasport and individuals without disabilities knowledge towards individuals with disabilities and parasport.

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