Research & Practice

Virtual health assessment for athletes with intellectual disabilities

Individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) face unique challenges in the era of remote interaction brought on by COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions. In the context of health assessment, Special Olympics Washington recently converted their in-person athletic events to an entirely virtual format. As a result of having facets of these events condensed into a more centralized, virtual location, the outdated nature of some health assessment materials became apparent, highlighting the need for implementation of more up-to-date content. Of particular importance was the replacement of content that utilized a non-evidence-based weight normative approach to health with updated, literature-supported weight-inclusive (i.e., non-weight-focused) principles. This project presents some of the techniques used for effective conversion of in-person group health promotion and health assessment to a virtual platform via Zoom integration and polling, as well as some of the limitations of remote interaction in a population with inherent communication barriers. The methods of implementation of weight inclusivity principles into virtual materials as well as through staff and coach training are also outlined, including a detailed in-service training plan as well as distributable materials for athletes with ID and their support network.

Materials Available

Project Type(s): MPH Practicum, PH Concentration Poster

Author(s): Emahlea Jackson

Program(s): Master of Public Health, RDN Training

Year: 2021