Physical Activity for youth who are blind or visually impaired

Dates:2006 - 2008
Funder:E.A. Baker Applied Research Grant.
Contact:Research Administration Coordinator, CNIB Research, Tel: 416-486-2500 x7727, Email:

An exploration of the literature reveals that while there is extensive research examining physical activity among people with mobility disabilities, there is a dearth of research conducted on physical activity among people living with vision loss. What research there is indicates that the physical activity level in this population is low compared not only with the general population, but also compared with those with other disabilities.

Given the lack of research (and particularly Canadian-based research) on which to base a narrowly-focused research question, we propose to conduct an exploratory study to:

  1. Assess physical activity levels of youth with vision loss, compare these levels to those in the general population and explore how they differ by age, gender, vision level, and type of school (special vs. mainstream) attended;
  2. Explore the forms of leisure activities in people with vision loss engage (and conversely identify leisure activities in which they do not engage) and how these types of activity differ from those of the general population;
  3. Explore the barriers to physical activity people with vision loss perceive and experience; and
  4. Learn more about the relationship between physical activity levels and the vocational, social and leisure pursuits of youth, and their involvement in activities of daily living.

We propose to focus on youth in two cohorts: ages 15-21 and ages 22-30. We plan to interview youth and where relevant, their parents and teachers. Participants will be asked in standardized surveys to report on their physical activity levels, the forms of leisure activities in which they engage and the types of barriers they encounter.

Identifying the forms of and barriers to physical activity will assist in the identification of more specific research questions to be addressed in a larger study.