Aleksandra Djuric-Zdravkovic, Biljana Milanović-Dobrota, Ana Wagner-Jakab

DOI Number
First page
Last page


The aim of this paper is to examine the effect of socio-demographic factors, children’s motor skills and parents’ physical activity on the physical activity of preschool children with intellectual disabilities. The research sample included 47 children with intellectual disabilities, as well as 47 parents. For the examination of socio-demographic variables, a questionnaire was created, which included information about parents and children. The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale was used to assess adaptive behaviour in the domain of motor skills. For assessing the children’s gross motor skills, the Test of Gross Motor Development was used, and the Family Lifestyle Survey was used for the assessment of the physical activity of parents, and children with intellectual disabilities. The results show that the majority of children with intellectual disabilities partake in some physical activity for at least 20 minutes, one to four times a week. Multiple linear regression analysis found that the independent variables explained 11.2% of the variance in children’s physical activity. Gross motor skills represented the strongest individual contribution to the physical activity of children with intellectual disabilities.


physical activity, motor skills, intellectual disability, parents, preschool period

Full Text:



American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. (DSM-5). Washington: American Psychiatric Association.

Bartlo, P., & Klein, P. J. (2011). Physical activity benefits and needs in adults with intellectual disabilities: systematic review of the literature. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 116(3), 220-232.

Bull, F. C., Al-Ansari, S. S., Biddle, S., Borodulin, K., Buman, M. P., Cardon, G., ... & Willumsen, J. F. (2020). World Health Organization 2020 guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 54(24), 1451-1462.

Cervantes, P., Shalev, R., & Donnelly, L. (2019). Defnition and diagnosis. In J. Matson (Ed.). Handbook of intellectual disabilities (pp. 45-59). Springer.

Colley, R. C., Janssen, I., & Tremblay, M. S. (2012). Daily step target to measure adherence to physical activity guidelines in children. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 44(5), 977-982.

Collins, K., & Staples, K. (2017). The role of physical activity in improving physical fitness in children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 69, 49-60.

Diaz, K. M. (2020). Physical inactivity among parents of children with and without Down syndrome: The National Health Interview Survey. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 64(1), 38-44.

Dishion, T. J., & Kavanagh, K. (2003). Intervening in adolescent problem behavior: A family-centered approach. NY: Guilford Press.

Djuric-Zdravkovic, A., Perovic, D., Milanovic-Dobrota, B., Japundza-Milisavljevic, M. (2021). Gross motor skills in children with cerebral palsy and intellectual disability. Physikalische Medizin, Rehabilitationsmedizin, Kurortmedizin, 31(01), 44-51

Đurić-Zdravković, A. (2020). Pedagogija osoba s poremećajem intelektualnog razvoja. [Pedagogy of persons with intellectual developmental disorder] Beograd: Univerzitet u Beogradu – Fakultet za specijalnu edukaciju i rehabilitaciju.

Đurić-Zdravković, A., Japundža-Milisavljević, M., Maksimović, I., Roknić, A. (2021). Kliničke i kognitivne karakteristike Angelmanovog sindroma [Clinical and cognitive characteristics of Angelman syndrome]. Specijalna edukacija i rehabilitacija, 20(2), 127-144.

Hamilton, S., Hankey, C. R., Miller, S., Boyle, S., & Melville, C. A. (2007). A review of weight loss interventions for adults with intellectual disabilities. Obesity Reviews, 8(4), 339-345.

Hartman, E., Smith, J., Westendorp, M., & Visscher, C. (2015). Development of physical fitness in children with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 59(5), 439-449.

Haveman, M., Heller, T., Lee, L., Maaskant, M., Shooshtari, S., & Strydom, A. (2010). Major health risks in aging persons with intellectual disabilities: An overview of recent studies. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 7(1), 59-69.

Heller, T., McCubbin, J. A., Drum, C., & Peterson, J. (2011). Physical activity and nutrition health promotion interventions: what is working for people with intellectual disabilities? Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 49(1), 26-36.

Hilgenkamp, T. I., van Wijck, R., & Evenhuis, H. M. (2012). Low physical fitness levels in older adults with ID: Results of the HA-ID study. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 33(4), 1048-1058.[pii]10.1016/j.ridd.2012.01.013

Hinckson, E. A., & Curtis, A. (2013a). Measuring physical activity in children and youth living with intellectual disabilities: A systematic review. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 34(1), 72-86.

Hinckson, E. A., Dickinson, A., Water, T., Sands, M., & Penman, L. (2013b). Physical activity, dietary habits and overall health in overweight and obese children and youth with intellectual disability or autism. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 34(4), 1170-1178.

Joosten, A. V., & Bundy, A. C. (2010). Sensory processing and stereotypical and repetitive behaviour in children with autism and intellectual disability. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 57(6), 366-372.

Loprinzi, P. D., Cardinal, B. J., Loprinzi, K. L., & Lee, H. (2012). Benefits and environmental determinants of physical activity in children and adolescents. Obesity Facts, 5(4), 597-610.[pii]10.1159/000342

McGarty, A. M., Downs, S. J., Melville, C. A., & Harris, L. (2017). A systematic review and meta-analysis of interventions to increase physical activity in children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 62(4), 312- 329.

Memari, A. H., Ghaheri, B., Ziaee, V., Kordi, R., Hafizi, S. & Moshayedi, P. (2012).

Physical activity in children and adolescents with autism assessed by triaxial

accelerometry. Pediatric Obesity, 8(2), 150-158.

Ninković, S., Jurišin, S. M., & Malčić, B. (2019). Neighbourhood safety and phisical activity of preschool children in Serbia: Moderating role of a child’s gender and parents’ age. ТEME – Journal for Social Sciences, XLIII(2), 309-326.

Njelesani, J., Leckie, K., Drummond, J., & Cameron, D. (2015). Parental perceptions of barriers to physical activity in children with developmental disabilities living in Trinidad and Tobago. Disability and Rehabilitation, 37(4), 290-295.

Petrović, J., Momčilović, V., & Pelemiš, V. (2023). Gender as a determinant of parents and children’s attitudes toward the inclusion of sports branches into the elementary school curriculum. ТEME – Journal for Social Sciences, XLVI(4), 851-867.

Pravilnik o bližim uputstvima za utvrđivanje prava na individualni obrazovni plan, njegovu primenu i vrednovanje [Regulation on detailed instructions for determining the right to an individual educational plan, its application and evaluation]. Službeni glasnik Republike Srbije, br. 74/18. (2018).

Rimmer, J. H., Chen, M. D., McCubbin, J. A., Drum, C., & Peterson, J. (2010). Exercise intervention research on persons with disabilities: what we know and where we need to go. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 89(3), 249-263.

Sparrow, S. S., Cicchetti, D. V., & Saulnier, C. A. (2016). Vineland adaptive behavior scales, (Vineland-3) (3rd ed.). Bloomington, MN: Pearson.

Ulrich, D. A. (2016). Test of Gross Motor Development (3rd ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Westendorp, M., Houwen, S., Hartman, E., & Visscher, C. (2011). Are gross motor skills and sports participation related in children with intellectual disabilities? Research in Developmental Disabilities, 32(3), 1147-1153.

World Health Organization (WHO) (2018). International Classification of Diseases for Mortality and Morbidity Statistics. Eleventh Revision (ICD 11). Geneva: WHO.

Wouters, M., Evenhuis, H. M., & Hilgenkamp, T. I. (2019). Physical activity levels of children and adolescents with moderate‐to‐severe intellectual disability. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 32(1), 131-142.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

© University of Niš, Serbia
Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND
Print ISSN: 0353-7919
Online ISSN: 1820-7804