Reference: S. Evseev (2018) Adaptive physical education and adaptive sports within the mental health-care system, International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, 11:1, 109-112, DOI: 10.1080/17542863.2017.1394419
By: Alex X. Martinez
Adapted physical education (APE) and adapted sports (AS) might be considered groundbreaking milestones in the modern age. Consequently, these social institutions might be fairly new for some countries, such as Russia. In order to successfully facilitate and implement APE and AS, institutions need to have a clear understanding of how these disciplines can provide benefits to health. The purpose of this paper is to examine the fundamental nature, history, current condition, and potential of APE and AS within the mental health care system.
In 1995, the first department of Theory and Methods of Adaptive Physical Education (TiMAFK) opened in Russia at a higher educational institution. Consequently, this was the first time that the term “adaptive physical education” was mentioned at the Russian Federation. In addition to successfully creating the TiMAFK, teachers created a set of standards for students being awarded adaptive physical education titles.
The success of therapeutic physical education (physical therapy) and adaptive sports used in the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers was well recognized. Specialists developing the theory and methods of APE realized that there was a need to focus on the effectiveness of APE for the functioning of the human body as a whole in order to improve health including mental health. Other than physical form benefits, APE and AS can provide opportunities for interaction, interconnection, and relationships among people which are meaningful interactions to preserve mental health.
The current focus of APE and AS should be centered on biomedical rehabilitation, promotion, and rehabilitation and development of physical capabilities of people with disabilities as well as the prevention of comorbidities from forced sedentarism. On a higher level, the focus should be about facilitating the social adaptation and integration of persons with disabilities in modern society and about the protection of their mental health and improvement of their quality of life (QOL). QOL is directly affected by the degree of satisfaction of a particular individual with the implementation of his or her life plans, the level of fulfillment of his or her needs, and the resources provided by the society.
The ideology of the Paralympic movement shows how AS benefit individuals with disabilities in mental health aspects by combining rehabilitation and elements of sports as a social institution. In addition to the social spirit of Paralympic sports, they offer opportunities to humanize a society by spreading ideas of Olympism based on the rules of fair play.
Here are some of the features of the adapted (Paralympic) sports from the perspective of their potential in the system for mental health care:
- Adapted sports make it possible to meet the needs of individuals in terms of self-actualization and to maximize fulfillment of their potential.
- Participation in adapted sports has a positive influence on the training of a person’s mental qualities, abilities, and mental culture as a whole.
- Adapted sports play a significant role in developing behavior that is based on democratic norms and principles and in the formation of tolerance.
- AS provides opportunities for socialization to a population that experiences limitations to socialization due to existent barriers.
- The history of AS gives many examples of the moral behavior of athletes in the spirit of fair play. This is very important when educating children and young people.
This paper briefly explained the historical events that preceded the inclusion of APE and AS to improve QOL and mental health of people with disabilities. There is evidence to support that APE and AS practices are a great way to provide opportunities for social interactions and interconnections that can benefit the body as a whole including mental health. There is a need to make these programs available for all and to provide opportunities to educate professionals to ensure effective implementation. The dissemination of information about the benefits of APE and AS programs for mental health is valuable for countries that have not fully embraced these disciplines or countries seeking to improve their population’s mental health status.