Special and inclusive education systems for disabled children: health technology application potential



PhD, Professor K.N. Dementiev1
Dr.Sc.Psych., Associate Professor O.V. Zashchirinskaya2
PhD, Associate Professor O.V. Pristav3
1Saint Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering, St. Petersburg
2Saint Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg
3Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, St. Petersburg

Keywords: adaptive physical education, children with impairments, accessible environment, fitness technology, comprehensive rehabilitation, compensatory adjustment, special and inclusive education.

Relevance of the study. It is a matter of common knowledge and concern that the numbers of children experiencing different health disorders are on the rise, with the proportion of mentally retarded children reported to grow from 3% to 5% for the last few years [1]. In the context of the accessible environment establishment program, the above negative trends may be countered, among other things, by the initiatives to bring back to life the positive experience of the Soviet rehabilitation and abilitation school with modern tools and facilitating conditions for the latter being established to mobilize the adaptation potential of the partially impaired and operable analyzers to form a necessary motor area for children with impairments so as to take full advantage of the potential resources of the modern adaptive physical education system.

Importance of the initiatives to form the facilitating motor area for success of the corrective works and compensatory realignments with due regard to the actual physical and mental developmental pathologies triggered by organic affections of the central nervous system of varied etiology – have always been given a top priority by the leading specialists in psychology, physiology, physical education and health service [3].

The Federal Government Decree on the rehabilitation and abilitation program for people with impairments in the context of the growing number of such children sets forth necessary conditions for the initiatives to integrate the innovative physical developmental forms into the traditional physical education curriculum of the existing special and inclusive education system. However, the ongoing process to secure the rights for due physical education and sport services in the special and inclusive education system takes place on methodologically indefinite grounds so far in fact, and the problem is still addressed rather in the theoretical interpretation format than in the practical implementation dimension. When it comes to the situation analysis, there are still many outstanding practical technological issues including, among other things, the ones related to the activity coordination within the team of relevant specialists, including pathologists, physicians, psychologists, adaptive physical education specialists etc. to effectively mobilize the available resources of modern physical education in application to the children with impairments diagnosed with mental deficiency.

Objective of the study was to assess the potential benefits of the fitness technologies in the special and inclusive education process in application to mentally retarded children.

Study results and discussion. Based on an integrated theoretical study of the potential resource of the health-improvement and correctional methods available in the national physical education system to overcome and offset the physical underdevelopment in the children with impairments [1-3], we have developed a model educational and institutional system to tailor the fitness technologies in different forms of physical practices for mentally retarded children. The proposed model designed to integrate the fitness technologies in the standard physical education curriculum opens up promising ways to help mobilize the compensatory potential and optimize the socialization process of children and adolescents in need of special education services (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Frame model of the institutional and educational arrangements for fitness technology application in mentally retarded children’s physical development process

Model institutional arrangements for the special and inclusive education of children with impairments are the following:

  1. The fitness technology based physical practices are to be designed with due tutorial services being provided to the children with impairments in the motor skills mastering process, with potential contribution of families and/or volunteers to the process, conditional on their prior training for the service; and
  2. Progress control and self-control system to rate success of the physical development and motor skills mastering process with the relevant process monitoring arrangements to secure due cooperation of the relevant specialists in the therapeutic and correctional actions, with potential contribution from families of the children.
  3. Model educational arrangements for the special and inclusive physical education of the children with impairments are the following:
  4.  Individualized (to the maximum possible degree) fitness programs tailored to the nosological, psychophysical and intellectual traits of the trainees;
  5. Prudent combinations of the applicable fitness technologies both in the specific training process and across different motor activity development methods and formats;
  6. Service of competent physical education teachers knowledgeable and skillful in the mentally retarded children’s training methods including the fitness-technology-based methods; and
  7. Due infrastructure plus the relevant financial and technical provisions for the training process designed to apply the fitness technologies to the mentally retarded children.

Furthermore, due emphasis will be made in the mentally retarded children training process on the necessary limitations on the applicable static physical practices and strength exercises; and generally the practices that imply high physical loads applied for a long time. This condition is dictated by the general etymology of the disease that requires the mentally retarded children being never exposed to high loads that may result in fatigue, blood circulation/ respiration disorders and heavy stresses on the vestibular apparatus that expose the children to high health risks.

It is the structure of mental deficiency; emotional and volitional behavioral disorders; financial and technical conditions of the educational establishment; family situations and actual environmental factors; recommendations of attending physician and psychologist; and practical contributions of families in the therapeutic and correctional operations that will be considered among the key factors to dictate the choice of physical practices and their application schedules and determine the efficiency and success of the corrective program on the whole – and all these factors need to be considered by the physical education specialist in charge of the process. Conditional on the above frame conditions being met, it is the responsible teacher creatively working in direct contact with every child with impairments at the relevant educational establishment that will be reasonably free to choose practical application patterns of the actual fitness-technology-based practices in the actual physical education process.

Conclusions. Having completed a theoretical analysis of the relevant adaptive physical education methods applicable in the special/ inclusive education system, we have developed a frame fitness technology application model presented herein to support a variety of the existing physical development systems for the mentally retarded children; with a top priority given to developing the motor skills and abilities imperative for compensation of the partially deficient and operable analyzers to form the necessary interaction skills in the children to improve their relations with the surrounding people. Reasonable discretion is needed in the actual physical/ mental development and corrective methods applicable in the physical education practices being combined with the relevant psychotherapeutic and medication methods – with due account of the actual typological traits of the subject mentally retarded child. We hope that this study material provides a frame problem-identification background for the further research to advance services of the special education sector.


  1. Antonyuk S.D. Ispol'zovanie sredstv futbola v ozdorovitel'no-korrektsionnoy rabote s detmi s umstvennoy otstalost'yu v strukture spetsial'nykh (korrektsionnyih) uchrezhdeniy VIII vida (Football in health-correction activities with children with mental retardation in structure of VIII type special (correction) institutions) / S.D. Antonyuk, A.A. Ryazanov, A.M. Spichko// Sotsial'no-ekonomicheskie yavleniya i protsessy (Socio-economic phenomena and processes). – 2011. – № 12 (034). – P. 319-321.
  2. Dement'ev K.N. Zdorov'esberegayushchie tekhnologii kak metodologicheskiy orientir psikhologo-pedagogicheskogo soprovozhdeniya obrazovatel'nogo protsessa (Health protection technologies as methodological landmark of psychological and pedagogical support of educational process) / K.N. Dementiev, O.V. Pristav, N.V. Mednikova // "Put' nauki" ("The Way of science") International journal. – 2015. – № 5 (15). – P. 116-117.
  3. Mallaev D.M. Adaptivnaya fizicheskaya kul'tura v sisteme spetsial'nogo i inklyuzivnogo obrazovaniya (Adaptive physical education in special and inclusive education systems) / D.M. Mallaev, G.A. Magomedov // Izvestiya Dagestanskogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo universiteta. Psikhologo-pedagogicheskie nauki (Bulletin of Dagestan state pedagogical university. Psychology and Pedagogics). – 2015. – № 3 (32). – P. 31-36.

Corresponding author: dementevkn2013@yandex.ru

The article presents findings of a theoretical analysis of the fitness technologies potentially applicable in special/ inclusive education process to step up the efficiency of the training process to offset the physical development and motor disorders in mentally retarded children. A model educational and institutional system is proposed to tailor the promising fitness technologies in different forms of physical practices for mentally retarded children with due consideration for the valid legal and regulatory provisions that govern operations of a variety of specialists involved in the therapeutic and correctional process (including physicians, teachers, psychologists, social service personnel etc.). In the context of the integrated action program being implemented to create an accessible environment and equal opportunity environment for people with impairments pursuant to the Federal Government Decree #297 of 15.04.2014, we believe it is appropriate to make an attempt to assess the fitness technologies as a promising resource for the adaptive physical education system that may contribute to the efficiency of the ongoing corrective and physical development activities in the system.
Special emphasis is to be made on the new system of relationship need to be formed for the contributors to the therapeutic and correctional process to implement the modern development strategy and secure progress in the efforts to balance the psychophysical development disorders with due functional compensators in application to the children with impairments, with due consideration for the relevant limitations imposed by the key diagnosis and associating chronic diseases.