What is KidsAction Coaching?

KidsAction Coaching was developed after observing many physical activity programs and following extensive discussions with hundreds of coaches and families to determine what needs are not being met and what new approaches could be developed to give more opportunities for coaches and families, and organizations to help the development of children with neurodevelopmental and/or intellectual disabilities (NDID).

KidsAction Coaching is not aimed at changing existing physical activity programs but rather bringing to the attention of coaches and parents a certain number of features we’ve identified and offer that may enhance the existing benefits of these already excellent programs. For example, we have identified ways to better include parents in the physical activity of their children through easy organization of home-based activities. Below is a full list of the key features, or as we refer to them, our ‘Core Components’.

Core Components of KidsAction Coaching:

  • An existing community-based physical activity program
  • Personalized, child-centered coaching
  • Home-based activity component
  • Social networking for children and families
  • Evaluation of all components
  • An Indigenous cultural lens

Creating Opportunities

For children, regular physical activity can reduce depression and anxiety, and increase social integration, self-esteem, overall health, and quality of life.

Our team’s previous research found that attending physical activity programs was beneficial for both children with neurodevelopmental and/or intellectual disabilities (NDID) and their families by providing more opportunities for more physical activity and social interaction. Our studies also identified a number of gaps in current physical activity programs, such as minimal parental involvement and limited evaluation of improvement following participation in physical activity program.

These benefits are more challenging for children with neurodevelopmental or intellectual disabilities and their families to obtain, because of the physical, emotional, economic, and accessibility constraints they face in participating in mainstream programs. The KidsAction Coaching approach aims to break down these barriers in partnership with existing physical activity programs in the community.

The KidsAction Coaching approach responds to these gaps by offering a program that is personalized, encourages goal-directed coaching for children, involves family members in physical activities with their children, and supports the development of family social networks.

KidsAction Coaching provides numerous resources that can help children practice their assigned physical activities. Resources have been developed for parents to help take part in home-based physical activities, bringing personalized activities with goals into your own home setting. Resources have been developed for coaches to better assess and understand the physical abilities of children with NDID and assign appropriate activities. These resources can be found in our Training & Resources section.

Skill Building For All

KidsAction Coaching was developed by researchers at the University of British Columbia to help children succeed in their physical activity programs, and to provide families and coaches with more knowledge and tools to help children improve their motor skills through targeted activities and goals. Our aims are to improve the learning, engagement, and health outcomes of children with neurodevelopmental and/or intellectual disabilities (NDID) and their families.

Achieving these aims is especially important for children with NDID, as it allows a child at any skill level to get involved, gain motor abilities, and feel successful. KidsAction Coaching ensures that every child is included, that coaches are properly equipped and trained, and that families have opportunities to be involved. The KidsAction Coaching approach has proven to be adaptable and relevant for a wide variety of children, coaches, and physical activity sites.

KidsAction allows parents, caregivers, and other family members to support the child’s physical activity goals at home. Based on our research, KidsAction is expected to improve children’s self-perception, cognition, executive functions, and mental wellness, as well as increase participation in daily life activities, and enhance social integration for both children and parents/caregivers.

Goal-directed and Personalized Coaching

KidsAction Coaching employs goal-directed and personalized coaching to focus on each child within an activity program. Here are the steps involved in the home-based physical activity plan:

  1. At the start of the program, coaches assess motor skills.
  2. Coaches then develop a physical activity plan for practice at home based on the child’s needs and preferences.
  3. Coaches work with the family to set realistic goals for their child.
  4. Children can practice the targeted activities at home and track progress towards their goals.
  5. Coaches monitor progress and re-assess motor skills to help them adjust goals and activities as needed.

KidsAction Coaching aims to involve families in the process, helping both children and those close to them see and work towards improvements together. Families are provided with print and/or online resources (personal physical activity list, training videos/pictures, and a reward system) to guide regular home practice.