Date of Award

Summer 8-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Kinesiology and Nutrition

Committee Chair

Dr. Melissa Thompson

Committee Chair School

Kinesiology and Nutrition

Committee Member 2

Dr. Joann P. Judge

Committee Member 2 School

Kinesiology and Nutrition

Committee Member 3

Dr. Stephanie McCoy

Committee Member 3 School

Kinesiology and Nutrition

Committee Member 4

Dr. Nancy Speed

Committee Member 4 School

Kinesiology and Nutrition


Children with language disorders have a unique blend of impairments related to communication, memory (Gray et al., 2019; Montgomery et al., 2019), executive functioning (Kapa & Plante, 2015), motor skills (Hill, 2001), imitation, gestures (Wray et al., 2017), and reaching early motor milestones (Diepeveen et al., 2018). These deficits may negatively affect learning motor skills in physical education (PE). Instructional adaptations to overcome these learning impairments in PE has not been greatly explored in the literature. Nor has teachers’ level of self-efficacy in providing adaptations to children with language disorders. The purpose of this study was to examine instructional adaptations PE teachers use to teach motor skills to children with language disorders and the impact of teacher self-efficacy on the selection of these adaptations.

Participants included current PE teachers (N = 105) across the United States. A mixed methods design was implemented for the purpose of this study. Quantitative data included the Scale for Instructional Adaptations in Physical Education– Language Disorders, the Physical Educators’ Self-Efficacy Toward Including Students with Disabilities- Language Disorders, and educational experiences. Qualitative data included focus group discussions to understand perceptions of instructional adaptations. Data were analyzed using a descriptive analysis, isolation of themes, and merging the data to a single interpretation.

Four themes emerged from the interpretation:

  1. Teachers expressed challenges when teaching children with language disorders, such as communicating information and the range of language disorders and multiple disorders.
  2. Teachers used multisensory instruction such as visuals, adapted verbal instructions, and verbal expressions from the students.
  3. Teachers progressed through instruction by allowing more process time and by breaking down instruction into a task analysis.
  4. Teachers learned to adapt their instruction through a combination of trial-and-error, from other professionals in the school, and through professional development and conferences.

Regression analyses were completed to determine if self-efficacy and educational experiences predicted use of instructional adaptations. The model was statistically significant, R2 = .227, F(7, 87) = 3.655, p = .002, with a medium effect size f2 = .293. Self-efficacy positively predicted instructional adaptations, r = .120, p < .001, and years of teaching experience negatively predicted instructional adaptations, r = -.013, p = .001. There is a need to support self-efficacy in PE teachers for the vital role self-efficacy plays on instructional adaptations.