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EFFECTS OF AN AQUATIC PROGRAM
ON THE SPATIAL AWARENESS OF A PERSON WHO IS BLIND
HEE SUN JUN
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE INT EXERCISE AND SPORT SCIENCES
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Hee Sun Jun
First and foremost, I would like to thank my parents, as well as my sister and
extended family for their support throughout my academic experience. They always
encouraged me to pursue my aspirations and cheered me up whenever I was in difficult
times. I also thank my life-long friends for their words of encouragement throughout all
Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge and thank my committee members,
Dr. Christine B. Stopka, Dr. John R. Todorovich, Dr. Ron Siders, for their guidance and
support for this proj ect. I express my deepest gratitude to Dr. Stopka, my committee
chair, who has shown great understanding and support allowing me to work in my unique
way. She was always patient and willing to answer my questions during my graduate
Finally, I would like to thank Gyula and Sharon for their true friendship. Without
them, it would have been impossible to finish my study in United states. I hope that I
have impacted their lives in the same way as they have mine.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENT S ................. ................. iii........ ....
LIST OF TABLES ................ ..............vi. .......... ....
AB STRAC T ................ .............. vii
1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............1.......... ......
1.1 Statement of the Problem and Purpose of the Study ................. ............. .......2
1.2 Research Hypothesis............... ...............
1.3 Definition of Terms .............. ...............3.....
1.4 Significance .............. ...............4.....
2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................. ...............5............ ...
2.1 General Understanding of Visual Impairments ................... ................
2.2 The Characteristics of Persons with Visual Impairments ................. ................ .7
2.3 The Possible Explanations of The Reason Why People with Blindness Lack
Spatial Awareness ............... ... .............. ......... .............1
2.4 The Importance of Having Proper Body Image ............... .......... .............1
2.5 The Effects of the Deficiency of Body Image and Spatial Awareness................13
2.6 Comparison of Body Image and Spatial Awareness Between Persons with
Visual Impairments and Sighted Persons .............. .......... .............1
2.7 Improving Awareness and Developing Visual Imagery for Persons with
Visual Impairments .................. ..... ........ ... ........... ...................1
2.8 The Relationship between the Cognitive Mapping Skill and the Spatial
Awareness .................. ........... ....... ......... ....... ..............2
2.9 The Importance of Developing Spatial Awareness of the Persons with Visual
Im pairm ents .............. ...............21....
3 MATERIALS AND METHODS .............. ...............24....
3.1 Participant ............... ...............24....
3.2 M material s .............. ...............24....
3.3 Procedure ..................... .. ..... .............2
3.3.1 Wayfinding Skill Task............... ...............24..
3.3.2 Aquatic Program............... ...............25
3.4 D esign ............... ...............27....
3.5 Data Analysis............... ...............27
4 RE SULT S AND DI SCU SSION ............... ..............3
4.1. Body Im age........................ .... ...............3
4. 1.1 First Meaning of the "Body Image" ............... .......... ................ ...32
4. 1.2 Second and Third Meanings of the "Body Image" ............ ...................34
4. 1.2. 1 "Free Crawl" without the arm stroke .............. .....................3
4. 1.2.2 "Back Crawl" without the arm stroke .............. ....................3
4.2 Hearing Awareness and Tactual Awareness............... ...............4
4.2.1 Importance of the Hearing Awareness ................. ......... ................41
4.2.2 Change in Hearing Awareness .............. ...............42....
4.3 Self-Confidence .............. ...............43....
4.4 Spatial Awareness................. .... .... ...........4
4.4.1 First Part of Session from Lesson 4-16 .............. ...............45....
4.4.2 Second Part of the Session from 8-16 .............. ...............47....
4.4.3 Wayfinding Skill Task............... ...............48..
5 CONCLUSION, APPLICATIONS, AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS ........................50
5.1 Conclusion .................. .... .._.... ...............50.....
5.2 Applications and Future Directions ...._._._.. .... .._.... ...._._... .........5
A INTERVIEW GUIDE............... ...............54.
B WAY FINDING SKILL TASK ROUTE .............. ...............55....
C AQUATIC PROGRAM............... ...............56
LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............67................
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............74....
LIST OF TABLES
4-1 Number of errors made in completing the way finding before the aquatic
program .............. ...............48....
4-2 Number of errors made in completing the way finding after the aquatic
program .............. ...............48....
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in
Exercise and Sport Sciences
EFFECTS OF AN AQUATIC PROGRAM,
ON THE SPATIAL AWARENESS OF A PERSON WHO IS BLIND
Hee Sun Jun
Chair: Christine Stopka
Major Department: Exercise and Sport Sciences
The purpose of my study was to see whether an aquatic program can improve
spatial awareness in a person who is blind. The aquatic program was conducted for 8
weeks. Aquatics skills taught included "the modified free crawl" and "the modified back
crawl." Detailed notes were taken during and after each aquatic session to evaluate any
change in performance and perceived ability. Interviews were also conducted, after the
program was completed, to determine if a difference was occurred in the way the
participant feels about his own spatial awareness. In addition, The Wayfinding Skill Task
was administered before and after the aquatic program to see whether there was an
improvement in the spatial awareness of participant. Notes were taken on the number of
errors made during The Wayfinding Skill Task.
These observation notes were analyzed using the constant comparative method of
qualitative analysis. The data from The Wayfinding Skill Task, which was the number of
errors made while walking the route, were summarized and compared for each trial.
Results of this study indicate that the spatial awareness of the person who is blind
was improved after the aquatic program by showing the enhancement of body image,
hearing awareness, self-confidence. In addition, it was shown that the sense of distance
and direction became more instinctive than before the aquatic program.
Implications for future studies are discussed and the following two topics were
suggested. To measure the primary differences of an aquatic program upon children who
are blind, versus adults who are blind and To compare the various differences of the
effects of an aquatic program upon people who were born blind, versus those who
became blind later in life
It is often assumed that the spatial senses (vision, hearing and the tactual senses)
operate as distinct and independent modalities, and moreover, that vision is crucial to the
development of spatial abilities (Jones, 1975). Therefore, one can conclude that people
with visual impairments need to expend a specific effort to develop proper spatial
awareness. Many studies have indicated that various kinds of spatial task training can
affect spatial awareness of in people who are visually impaired, or blind. However, there
are few studies using physical activity as a strategy, which can improve this ability even
though according to Krebs (1979), concepts of spatial movement are most meaningful
when experienced through physical and tactile activity.
The following two studies show exercise can help develop the spatial concepts of
people with visual impairments. The first study was conducted by Chin (1988). This
study indicated that a program of instruction in dance movement can enhance the spatial
awareness of visually impaired elementary-school students. Sixteen visually impaired
students were randomly assigned to two groups. The Hill Performance Test of Selected
Positional Concepts was administered before and after the dance program to estimate the
spatial awareness of the subj ects. Eight students participated in traditional physical
education and received no dance instruction. Eight students received dance instruction in
addition to traditional physical education. The dance program was given to the students
for 20 hours over a period of 10 weeks. One group met after school on Monday and
Wednesday for an hour each day. The second group met on Tuesday and Friday for an
hour each day. For 10 weeks, the students alternated the Monday-Wednesday, Tuesday-
Friday schedules. This procedure was utilized to control for any effects associated with
participation on a certain day of the week. The dance program included body warm-up
techniques, exercises based on dance techniques, locomotor movements across the dance
floor, short dance combinations, and one three-minute dance routine. No significant
difference was found between two groups with respect to the mean pretest scores on the
Hill test. However, a Scheffe analysis of variance revealed significant difference between
the pretest and posttest scores of the group that received dance instruction. Krebs (1979)
also show that a Hatha Yoga exercise program, which emphasized body image and
spatial/movement concepts, proper posture and relaxation techniques, was able to get
positive effect on improving the body image and spatial awareness. The Hatha Yoga
program for visually impaired students was administered for 6 weeks and consisted of 12
exercises that have been selected, sequenced, and adapted to meet special needs.
1.1 Statement of the Problem and Purpose of the Studv
Although physical activity is effective in improving the spatial awareness in a
person who is blind, there are few studies tried to enhance this ability using physical
activity as a strategy. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the
improvement of spatial awareness in a person who is blind using the aquatic program,
which emphasizes the body image and spatial /movement concepts.
1.2 Research Hypothesis
The research hypothesis is that the aquatic program can contribute to the
improvement of spatial awareness in a person who is blind.
1.3 Definition of Terms
The following terms will be frequently referred to throughout the text, which
should be considered according to the following definitions:
Body image: refers to ideas and feelings that individuals have about their bodies
and the relationship of their body parts (Eichstaedt & Kalakian, 1987). In addition, the
term body image is used in at least three ways, and in combinations of the three, and it is
necessary to provide some perspective on the uses of the term. Hapeman (1967) used the
term to refer to a child' s knowledge of the parts of his body and of the relationships
among those parts( for example, the fingers are connected to the hand). A second use of
the term is as represented by Garry and Ascarelli (1969). They wrote about "awareness of
body position which is awareness of the spatial relationships of parts of the body to its
axes, and of the body as a whole to other bodies." This use differs from that of Hapeman
in that it refers to external space, not just to the body. A third level of meaning is
characteristic of the psychoanalytic literature, and it has to do with the differentiation of
the ego from the external world. This use is similar to the second use, but it carries a
somewhat stronger implication of a developmental process (Warren, 1977).
Spatial awareness: is the internalization of our own location in space as well as
object localization (Martin, 2002). If we see this term more in detail, the spatial
awareness refers to the ability to work within one's own space and the ability to organize
people and objects in relation to one's own body. In other words, spatial awareness is a
knowing where you are in relationship to other obj ects in your surroundings and how that
relationship will change in the near future as you and objects around you change
positions (Lisa, 2000).
The investigation of the benefits of aquatic program on the spatial awareness in a
person who is blind is of critical significance, since this has not been investigated by
many researchers. It is ultimately expected that a person who is blind is able to get more
confidence, freedom and independence to move around having proper spatial concepts
through the aquatic program.
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
2.1 General Understanding of Visual Impairments
When one thinks about visual impairments and blindness, one might imagine
someone who sees nothing at all and must use adaptive techniques for tasks that typically
require vision, such as for reading or a cane to detect obj ects when traveling. It is often
surprising to learn that most individuals with legal blindness have some usable vision and
that most students who have visual impairments are print readers.
Two different definitions describe visual impairment. The legal definition of
blindness is based on a clinical measurement of visual acuity. Acuity is determined by
having the individual read the letters on a chart, each line of which is composed of letters
written with a certain size of print. The ability to read the 20 line from a distance of 20
feet is typical, and a person who can read at that line is said to have 20/20 acuity.
Individuals who can read only the top line from 20 feet, where the print size is 200 (the
big E), when using both eyes and wearing their glasses, have 20/200 acuity: these people
are legally blind. People are also legally blind if their field of vision (the area around
them that they can visually detect when looking straight ahead) is less than 20 degrees
(normal is 160 degrees), even if their visual acuity is normal. These individuals have
The legal definition of blindness, as established by federal law in 1935 (Kuestler,
1976), is an arbitrary clinical measure that is used to determine eligibility for special
government allowances, such as an extra income tax deduction, specialized j ob training,
and eligibility for certain support services such as Talking Book Program. Many state,
local, and private agencies also use legal blindness as their eligibility requirement. A
person who is legally blind may have a great deal of useful vision: The legal definition of
blindness is imply an eligibility standard; it does not provide meaningful information
about the way in which a person experiences and learns about the world (Huebner, 2000).
How a person experiences and learns about the world is however, at the core of the
definition of visual impairment in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA). IDEA defines visual disability (including blindness) as "an impairment in vision
that, even with correction, adversely affects a child's educational performance. The term
includes both partial sight and blindness." Key to this definition is that the student has
some kind of disorder of the visual system that interferes with learning.
Student with visual impairments represent a wide range of visual abilities.
Educators classify these students by their ability to use their vision of their tendency or
need to use tactile means for learning (Lewis & Allman, 2000b).
Low vision: describes individuals who can generally read print, although they may
depend on optical aids, such as magnifying lenses, to see better. A few read both and
print; all rely primarily on vision for learning. Individuals with low vision may or may
not be legally blind.
Functionally blind: describes individuals who typically use for efficient reading
and writing. They may rely on their ability to use functional vision for other tasks, such
as moving through the environment or sorting items by color. Thus, they use their limited
vision to supplement the combination of tactual and auditory learning methods.
Totally blind: describes those individuals who do not receive meaningful input
through the visual sense. These individuals use tactual and auditory means to learn about
their environment. Generally, they are able to read.
These broad categories are only minimally useful. Every individuals with visual
impairment uses differently and in a way that is difficult to predict.
2.2 The Characteristics of Persons with Visual Impairments
Individuals with visual impairments are, of course, individuals first; therefore, the
array of their personality characteristics, intellectual abilities, educational aptitudes, and
physical abilities is in general similar to that of the population as a whole. However,
young children with limited vision may experience delays in certain areas of
Persons who either lose their vision or have severely restricted vision prior to age 5
have little remembered visual imagery on which to draw when learning, which affects the
formation of certain concepts (Lowenfeld, 1980). In addition to the age of onset, the
degree of the impairment and the presence of additional impairments affect the
development of intellectual, physical, language, and social abilities. The degree of
functional vision students have affects their use of visual information that can be used in
conjunction with other sensory input in all areas of learning. The presence of such
additional impairments as hearing loss, mental retardation, communication disorders,
learning disabilities, or physical disorders further complicates the learning process for
that individual. It has been suggested that more than one-half of all children with visual
impairments, including those not yet old enough to attend school, have additional
developmental handicaps (Gearheart, Mullen, & Gearheart, 1992).
The total development of an individual depends on a complex interaction of various
domains: motor, cognitive, communicative, and social. At different ages or
developmental stages one domain may dominate the others, but all are continuously
present. Because of this complex interaction, it is misleading to discuss separately the
effects of impaired vision on the development of the various domains and their
relationship to learning. However, for the purpose of conveying the impact low vision or
blindness can have on spatial awareness, we will consider "Motor" and "Cognitive"
domains and the manner in which they may be affected.
Motor: Ver young infants use si ht to become aware of and develop interest in
their environment. They observe, look at, and reach toward objects, developing neck
muscles and head control; they later learn to creep or walk toward those obj ects that
arouse their curiosity. Infants without sight or with severely restricted vision depend
more on audible or tactile cues to stimulate their curiosity or arouse their interest. If
parents and teachers are aware of the increased need for such stimulation and provide it,
they can help develop early motor abilities. Nonetheless, young children with visual
impairments usually lag somewhat behind their sighted peers in motor development
(Ferrell, 1986; Fraiburg, 1977). Young children with vision disorders are also less aware
of their position in the environment and their relationship to it, which inhibits their
development in creeping, standing, and walking. Unless specific stimulation activities are
provided, they may not adequately develop body awareness and physical coordination
and will tend to move hesitantly in their environment.
Eye/hand coordination and fine motor muscles may also be slower to develop,
resulting in a delayed mastery of eating utensils, buttons and zippers, and later -
computers or writers. Early planned experiences can ameliorate the effects of reduced
vision on these skills.
Congenitally blind children seem to be more susceptible to poor muscle tone,
obesity, poor awareness of the body's position in space, and general lack of physical
fitness. Factors such as these can lead to developmental problems with posture, overall
coordination, and walking patterns (Hill, Rosen, Correa, & Langley, 1984). Perceptual-
motor skills in relation to form identification, spatial relations, and perceptual-motor
integration may also be compromised, especially in congenitally blind children.
However, they may be as skilled as their sighted peers in areas more dependent on other
senses such as in discrimination of weight, texture, and sound if sufficient
experiences have been provided. Millar (1981) suggests that such abilities may be
developed and enhanced until the child's mental images are similar to those of sighted
children. The belief that persons with visual disorders develop a "sixth sense" or have
extraordinary sensory compensation has little validity. The skills that seem to be
heightened or strengthened more likely reflect past training for example, in listening or
in paying more attention to cues that sighted persons regard as irrelevant (Telford &
The establishment of one' s position in space and position relative to other obj ects
in the environment- and mobility self-generated movement from one fixed position to
another in the environment are both delayed, but these skills can be learned by
individuals with visual disorders. Orientation is a continuous process. For example, as we
begin to move from one place to another, we visually scan the environment with little
conscious awareness. We may note a table obstructing our path to the door, the width of
the door relative to our body size, the steps down from the door, the width of the space
between the porch railings near the steps, and similar factors. As each step is taken we
reestablish our position in relation to those factors. Once they are passed, they are no
longer of concern. In contrast, if we travel from the porch to the street, we may encounter
moving obj ects such as neighborhood pets, automobiles, or other persons, and we must
assess their position relative to us after each step. This is why we say that orientation to
the environment is continuous.
Self-generated movement occurs simultaneously with orientation but requires
additional skills. Proper heel-and-toe gait, control of the body's center of gravity, and
upright posture are some of the skills exercised in locomotion or mobility. The
combination of orientation and mobility allows an individual to move about
independently; these skills must be learned by individuals with vision disorders.
Cognitive: Cognitive development includes the formation of concepts, obj ects
permanence, cause and effect, spatial relationships, classification, and conservation.
According to Tuttle (1984), blindness itself does not impair an individual's ability to
intellectually manipulate sensory information and develop conceptual information, but
rather is the result of impoverished interaction with the environment, which decreases the
amount of sensory data received. Vision plays an important role in cognitive
development that cannot be fully compensated for by hearing or touch. Concepts related
to distance or height beyond arm's length are difficult to develop without sight. Hearing
may provide some clues to location such as the distance of an approaching car, but the
various sizes and shapes of cars, trucks, and vans cannot be fully developed without
sight. Vision allows for the perception of the whole: the total car, van, or truck, its
various parts (sunroof, wheels, bumper, hood ornament), and the relationship of the parts
to each other as well as to whole.
2.3 The Possible Explanations of The Reason Why People with Blindness Lack Spatial
Youngsters with visually impairment share the same delight in, and have the same
need to, use movement freely and imaginatively as do their sighted peers. Without
movement, the child' s world is limited to the length of their arms (Leong, 1996). To
travel efficiently, the individual needs proper spatial and body awareness. However,
children with visually impairments have a greater need for assistance in developing body
and spatial awareness, "since they cannot imitate through seeing what others do and must
have a safe environment in order to experience free and vigorous action" (Duggar, 1968,
p.29). Research on the development of spatial cognition in blind preschoolers has also
been limited. Hapemans (1967), Hill (1983, 1986), and Hill and Blash (1981) noted that
blind preschoolers may have difficulty acquiring body image, understanding spatial
concepts, and learning about the environment because of their limited experience with the
Hill (1980) also says that vision is an important perceptual system in developing
awareness of obj ects and one' s own body, including its parts, relationships, movements,
and functions. Besides that, it has been estimated that as much as 60 percent of the
information presented to humans arrives through the visual pathway (Zeevi & Kronauer,
1975) and as much as 50 percent of the nerve fibers entering the brain originate in the
eyes (Weiskrantz, 1972). Another possible explanation for the lack of spatial awareness is
that congenitally blind subj ects do not have visual imagery, while sighted subj ects do
have and use visual imagery (Drever, 1955; Mckinney, 1964). The presumed use of
visual imagery by the sighted can therefore be implicated as the critical factor responsible
for the superior performance of sighted subj ects relative to congenitally blind subj ects on
a variety of spatial tasks (Marmor & Zaback, 1976; Millar, 1975; Worchel, 1951).
Furthermore, Garry and Ascarelli (1969) found that children with visually
impairments seemed to be unaware of, or at least unconcerned about, the upright position
and the top, bottom, left, right, and back of objects. That is, with position, both relative
Therefore, they claim that body image and spatial awareness must be specifically
taught to the children with visual impairments.
2.4 The Importance of Havinn Proper Bodv Imane
Several investigators have reported attempts to produce better body image through
training. Turner and Siegel (1969) described the use of a life-size mannequin for training
and implied some success in its use, although no obj ective evaluation of improvement of
body image was reported. Walker (1973) presented a structured set of lessons in body
image training to groups of kindergarten and early elementary grade blind children. The
body image test developed by Cratty and Sams (1968) was used for evaluation. The
results for the kindergarten children indicated that the program was effective in
improving the body-image of kindergarten-age blind children (Walker, 1973).
Cratty and Sams (1968) presented perhaps the best justification for body image
training, arguing that a well developed body image forms a basis from which the child
can learn to structure external of space. In other words, body image can become an
effective basis for the development of good spatial relations abilities.
2.5 The Effects of the Deficiency of Body Image and Spatial Awareness
The deficiency of body image and spatial awareness can also result in motor
development delay of visually impaired child.
Several investigators have studied the acquisition of motor and spatial abilities in
the first year of blind children' s lives. The motor development of blind infants in the first
few months of life is not very different from that of the sighted infants. However, Ferrell
(1986), Fraiberg (1977), and Griffin (1981), pointed out some problems in the
development of postural control and body rotations in blind infants. In later motor
development, differences between blind and sighted infants are important; The locomotor
abilities of visually impaired infants- creeping, crawling, and walking are considerably
delayed (Ferrell, 1986; Fraiberg, 1977; Griffin, 1981; Norris, Spauliding, & Brodie,
1957). For example, Fraiberg found that her subj ects crawled at an average age of 13
months and walked at an average age of 19months. In addition, studies have found that
congenitally blind children and adults are deficient in particular areas of motor
development. For example, blind individuals scored significantly below sighted norms in
various tests that require balance (Myler, 1936).
Duehl (1979) noted that visually impaired persons have problems in balance,
compared to sighted individuals, and indicated that weakness in the development of
large-muscle control and balance results in poor body posture, gait and locomotion, as
well as a lack of coordination. In addition, it has been also observed that young blind
children have motor problems, such as the lack or trunk and pelvic rotation, use of
shuffling gait patterns, limited arm swing, dependence on a wide base of support for
stability (Adelson & Fraiberg, 1976; Anthony & Gense, 1987; C. Brown & Bour, 1986;
Campbell, 1970; Cratty, 1971; Eichorn & Vigaroso, 1967; Warren, 1976).
2.6 Comparison of Body Image and Spatial Awareness Between Persons with Visual
Impairments and Sighted Persons
It is more evident that the visually impaired children have the deficiency of the
proper body image and spatial awareness when we compare the spatial concepts ability of
the visually impaired with the sighted. There are some studies, which try to show the
difference in the spatial concepts of the blind and sighted people in order to estimate the
effects of loss or absence of vision.
The studies of spatial mapping skills in blind and sighted persons are typically
selected to show the difference. Bigelow (1991) reports 15-month study of the spatial
mapping skills of totally blind, visually impaired, and normally sighted children. The
children were asked to point to familiar locations in four areas in and around their homes.
The blind children never mastered all the conditions; the visually impaired children
mastered them, but one of them did so over a year after the sighted children did so; and
sighted children easily mastered all the conditions. The results suggest that blindness
interferes with the development of spatial knowledge in which Euclidean directions
between locations are known.
There are also a number of studies comparing sighted and blind subj ects on spatial
tasks, sighted and late blind subj ects have typically performed more accurately than
congenitally blind subj ects. For example, Rieser, Lockman, and Pick (1976) asked
sighted, late blind, and congenitally blind adults to make comparative distance estimates
among locations in a highly familiar large-scale environment. The three groups
performed with equivalent accuracy when comparing functional distances. However,
congenitally blind subj ects were less accurate than the other two groups on direct
distance estimates. In another study Casey (1978) found that congenitally blind young
adults were unable to construct a table-top model of their school campus as well as
partially sighted students. Most of the congenitally blind subjects constructed separate,
piecemeal sets of obj ects while partially sighted subj ects constructed more holistic and
organized models. (Herman, 1983)
Moreover, numerous studies have assessed the performance of spatial tasks among
congenitally blind, adventitiously blind, and sighted persons. Cleaves and Royal (1979)
asked subj ects to learn a maze with right-angle turns by following it with their fingers
and then to point directly from the start to locations within it (such as the goal or first
turn), with the maze imagined either in its learned orientation or rotated. These
researchers found that the congenitally blind subj ects had a higher amount of spatial
errors, and the degree of error was correlated with the duration of their blindness.
However, Brambring (1976) discovered that congenitally blind subj ects were less subj ect
to distortions from feeling the legs of a right triangle, when estimating the length of the
hypotenuse, than were sighted or adventitiously blind subj ects. He concluded that persons
who are congenitally blind clearly have spatial imagery. Whereas the studies just
described dealt with knowledge about spatial layout that was not explored directly,
Dodds and Clard-Carter (1983) found that their subj ects who were congenitally blind
were at a disadvantage even in replicating previous movements between vertices of a felt
triangle, after a retention interval of several seconds.
2.7 Improvinn Awareness and Developinn Visual Imanery for Persons with Visual
Several studies have indicated the ability of people who are blind to update the
positions of felt obj ects after a change in the subj ects' relative position or orientation.
Heller and Kennedy (1990) used a version of the Piagetian three-mountain task, which
requires participants to identify or draw raised pictures of three obj ects from novel
vantage points after having felt them from an initial location. They found that the
congenitally blind subj ects performed nearly as accurately as, although more slowly than,
the sighted and adventitiously blind subj ects. In an analogy to a locomotor task of Rieser,
Guth, and Hill (1986) discussed later, Hollins and Kelly (1988) and Barber and Lederman
(1988) had subj ects learn the locations of obj ects on a table relative to one location and
then point to them from a new location after imagined or real movement. If the position
was updated during the real movement, the subj ects' performance should have been
better than with the imagined one. Hollins and Kelley found that when asked to replace,
rather than point to, obj ects after walking to the new location, the blind subj ects had a
substantial ability to update. Barber and Lederman asked congenitally blind;
adventitiously blind; and blindfolded, sighted subj ects to move their fingers to a new
location and point from it or to imagine that they were pointing from the new location.
They concluded that all three groups performed similarly and had fewer errors in the
movement condition than in the imagination condition.
Blind individuals' imagery ability was assessed by Kerr (1983), using a variety of
tasks devised for sighted subj ects. With regard to "mental scanning" between locations
after memorizing the layout on a tabletop, Kerr found a strong relation between distance
and scanning time for both the blind and the sighted subj ects, although the blind subj ects
were slower. Two other verbal tasks indicated strong evidence of imagery. First, like the
sighted subj ects, the blind subj ects took less time to verify physical features in an image
when the imagined obj ect was large than when it was small. Second, in a recall task with
obj ect names, the blind subj ects had higher cued recall when they initially imagined the
cue and target objects to be spatially contiguous; in this task, the blind and sighted
subjects' levels of recall were similar, although the latter reported forming the images
Although it is common to find that blind subj ects perform more slowly or at a
higher error rate than do sighted subj ects on tabletop tasks, blind subj ects show patterns
that are indicative of spatial understanding and imagery capability on a wide range of
tasks. Passini, Proulx, and Rainville (1990) observed that their congenitally blind subjects
outperformed their sighted and adventitiously blind subj ects on wayfinding tasks in a
labyrinthian layout. Landau, Spelke, and Gleitman (1984) reported that a congenitally
blind child could take shortcuts between familiar locations within a room.
Even though it is hard to develop proper spatial awareness for visually impaired
and blind people, there are still some possibilities. In other words, in the cases of the
blind, greater difficulty would be experienced in acquiring the needed information, but it
may be possible to develop a holistic conceptualization of a space if the proper training
techniques have been used (Casey, 1978).
Landau, Gleitman, and Spelke (1981, 1985) conducted longitudinal research on the
development of spatial cognition in a blind girl. From age 3 to 4, the girl had acquired
adequate perceptual control over her locomotion and began to demonstrate important
spatial abilities. Several mobility studies have in fact shown that the blind may have
adequate spatial abilities. Leonard & Newman (1967) found that the blind boys could
follow a two detour problems en route. Clearly the blind matched ordinary criteria for
spatial orientation abilities and the difficulties which they may sometimes have in spatial
perception and orientation may be due to a lack of adequate experience rather than to a
lack of vision. Support for the experiential hypothesis comes from Gomulicki's (1961)
study of sighted and blind children in the age range 5-15years using both a stylus and a
life-size maze. Though performance in both mazes was initially inferior in the blind, they
had surpassed the sighted level of performance by 15 years. If the blind develop spatial
orientation skills more slowly than the sighted, there is no evidence that they cannot
develop such skills (Jones, 1975).
Ochaita and Huertas'(1993) study also shows the evidence, which the people with
visual impairments can improve their spatial awareness. They tested the ability of 17year
olds with visual impairments to learn a route between seven landmarks placed in a public
square. The participants were given one guided experience along the route and then three
or four trials in which they walked the route on their own. At the end of the trials, they
were asked to make a scale model of the layout of the landmarks and give verbal
estimates of the distances between them. The participants were accurate at making the
model and estimating the distances. This finding suggests that visually impaired
adolescents are capable of learning a route and its configuration after several repeated
Espinosa, Ungar, Ochaita, Blades, and Spencer (1998) conducted two studies of
route learning in real environments. In one study, visually impaired adults walked 1.2km
route through an unfamiliar suburban area. After one guided experience, they had two
trials in which they walked the route on their own, and the number of times they deviated
from the route was noted. By the second trial, the participants' performance was very
good, with less than one error per route. In the second study, Espinosa et al. (1998) asked
visually impaired adults to walk a 2km route through the Madrid city center. The
participants had one guided experience of the route and then retraced it on their own in
three subsequent trials. By the last trial, they made only two deviations from the route.
The studies by Ochaita and Huertas (1993) and Espinosa et al. (1998) showed that
visually impaired participants can learn routes through real environments effectively.
Another study was conducted by Passini and Proulx (1988) compared how totally
blind and sighted people learned a 250-meter route along corridors on two floors of a
university building. The participants given two guided experiences along the route and
then walked it on their own. Overall, the totally blind group made four times as many
errors and hesitations as did the sighted group when walking the route on their own.
Nevertheless, a third of them retraced the route without error, and a third was able to
make a completely accurate map of the route. This finding indicates that some people
who are totally blind can learn routes in large environments as effectively as can sighted
people. However, the participants in Passini and Proulx's study retraced the route only
once on their own, so they had no opportunity for further learning. These studies all
suggest that route learning by visually impaired people in large environments can be
effective, but as was pointed out, there are limitations to all the studies.
To overcome these limitations, the authors conducted two studies of route learning
in which the performance of visually impaired groups was compared to a control group of
sighted participants over several learning trials. The first study (Jacobson, Kitchin,
Garling, Golledge, & Blades, 1998) was carried out in Belfast, Ireland, where groups of
participants who were totally blind or sighted or had low vision learned a novel 1.6km
route that included up to 16choice points (e.g., left turns, and road crossings). The
participants were guided along the route once by the experimenter. During the course of
this guided experience, they were not given any information about the route or advice
about how to learn it. They were just told that they would be expected to retrace the route
another three times on their own. These were the three trials. During each trial, the
participants' accuracy at each choice point was noted. And the participants' knowledge of
the route was tested by asking them to point between places on the route, give a verbal
description of it, and make a "model" of the route using magnetic pieces on a metal
board. The study found that the participants who were blind or had low vision took
slightly longer than the sighted participants to learn the routes, but by the third trial, all
the groups could retrace the route almost without error. Furthermore, by the third trial,
there was no difference in accuracy between the performance of the sighted and the two
visually impaired groups on any of the three spatial tests (verbalizing, pointing, or
In the second study (Golledge, Jacobson, Kitchin, & Blades, 2000), the authors
repeated the procedure of the Belfast experiment in Santa Barbara, Califomnia, and the
pattern of results in Santa Barbara was the same as was found in Belfast. They therefore
concluded that in real-world contexts, people who are visually impaired can leamn novel
environments quickly and effectively and that they need only one or two additional
experiences (more than sighted people) to acquire sufficient route information for
independent travel. The findings of Jacobson et al. (1998) and Golledge et al. (2000)
support the results of Ochita and Huertas (1993) and Espinosa et al. (1998) that people
who are visually impaired can leamn routes successfully.
Therefore, the reason why the totally blind participants in Passini and Proulx's
(1988) study did not perform as well (compared to the sighted participants) as did the
visually impaired participants is perhaps because the participants in Passini and Proulx's
study were given only one trial on their own. As the authors found, participants who are
visually impaired may require one or two additional trials to reach the same level as do
sighted people. Nonetheless, the authors emphasize that only a small amount of
additional experience is needed and that visually impaired people have the potential to
learn new environments quickly.
2.8 The Relationship between the Cognitive Mapping Skill and the Spatial Awareness
Although very little effort has been directed toward developing a theoretical
framework for using and interpreting cognitive maps, the environmental mapping
exercise appears to be one which is capable of providing a great deal of information
about the spatial constructs and abilities of blind individuals. Cognitive mapping involves
knowing the spatial relations among obj ects or landmarks and one' s position in space in
relation to the relevant obj ects or landmarks (Bigelow, 1991). The current philosophy in
the field of environmental cognition contends that human spatial behavior is largely a
function of the nature and quality of the internal cognitive map used by the individual
(Downs & Stea, 1977). Cognitive mapping abilities may therefore serve as reliable
predictors of spatial behavior. Those individuals capable of producing an accurate and
well-organized map of a large environmental setting might be expected to have superior
orientation in that environment (Casey, 1978).
2.9 The Importance of Developinn Spatial Awareness of the Persons with Visual
It is necessary for visually impaired and blind people to develop proper spatial
awareness enhancing their quality of life since they can have freedom of movement and
the ability to move with confidence (Chin, 1988). There are several benefits they can get
from improved mobility. Mobility means movement within and between environments.
Mobility within environments refers to a person moving about in one environment, such
as a school, workplace, home, store, or other public area. Mobility between environment
s refers to a person moving from one environment to another, such as from home to
school, work, or a shopping center. Increasing a student' s mobility within the
environment increases the likelihood that he or she will achieve successful educational
outcomes. The student's ability to maneuver about and locate specific areas within an
environment increases the student' s competencies and independence in that particular
setting, improving the chances that the student will be successful there (McGregor,
Attention to student mobility is an important educational goal for a second reason.
Increasing mobility between environments has a positive effect on student self-
determination. The ability to make choices that are meaningful is self-determination.
Research over the past two decades indicates that individuals, disabled or not, tend to
participate more in and receive greater benefit from activities in which they exercise
choice and control. Dattilo and Rusch (1985) found that students with disabilities
engaged in a leisure activity more when given the choice of participation than when the
choice was eliminated.
Then, how does mobility increase self-determination? In a study of self-
determined adults with disabilities conducted by West, et al. (1995), availability of
transportation and independent mobility in the community were maj or factors in
promoting self-determination. Having a means of accessing different environments
increased individuals' range of options for work, socialization, recreation, and housing.
As they approach the transition to adult life, students who are dependent on family or
social service agencies for transportation will be functionally limited in the jobs and
housing options that are available to them, as well as the friends with whom they can
socialize and the types of social, community, and recreational outlets they can enj oy as
In a conclusion, as children who are blind begin to master the environment and
adequately move within it, they often grow cognitively and physically. Their motivation
to move and explore further increases; their greater motivation, in turn, ensures the
continued expansion of their learning, control, and independence (Galloway, 1981).
Therefore, they must be free to explore and experiment within the environment.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The participant of the study is a male who is 50 years old. He has total blindness,
which means an inability to recognize a strong light shown directly into the eye.
Interview participant also consented to reading their transcribed interviews for accuracy.
Though not required for participation, he was asked if he would participate in the review
of data analysis drafts to strengthen the credibility of the research Eindings.These
observations served as a means to triangulate data and increase the credibility of the
research Eindings. A University of Florida Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved
consent form was signed by the participant to obtain permission for observation.
An interview guide of questions was used by the researcher (Appendix A). Because
a semi-structured interview format was used, this interview guide serves as a basic
checklist during the interview to make sure that all relevant topics are covered. By nature
of the qualitative interview process, participant responses lead to further, spontaneous
questions of inquiry or clarification that were not specified on the guide. A tape recorder
was used to record the entire interview process.
3.3.1 Wavfindinn Skill Task
the way finding was designed based on a previous study titled, "The effect of
spatial tasks on visually impaired peoples' wayfinding abilities." This instrument was
administered before and after the aquatic program to determine if there were any changes
in the spatial awareness of the participant. The route was designed through the campus of
the University of Florida, and it followed a path between several buildings.
The participant was guided along the route solely by verbal instructions, then he is
guided back to the start of the route and asked to retrace the route by himself. The
researcher would follow him to maintain his safety.
While walking the route the experimenter made notes about the location and the
type of the errors made by the participants for each segments of the route (i.e., from
Weimer Hall to the Infirmary building, from the Infirmary building to the Tower, from
the Tower to the Weimer Hall). To code the errors, the experimenters identified 30 choice
points along the route where the participants had to decide whether to go straight, to turn,
or to stop. At each choice point, the participants' actions were classified in one of the four
categories: Successful navigation (scored 1); a hesitation or deviation from the route that
was self-corrected and followed by successful navigation (scored 2); a deviation from the
route that needed guidance or reminder for successful navigation (scored 3); or being lost,
when the participants said they were lost or failed to find their way after repeated
guidance (scored 4). Thus, a higher score represented more errors and poorer
3.3.2 Aquatic Pronram
The aquatic program was conducted twice per week, for eight weeks at the
researcher' s apartment pool. The time selected was decided based on a similarly titled
"The effects of instruction in dance and movement on the spatial awareness." However, it
was reduced since the participant in this study is an adult compared to children in dance
movement study and it is expected that he can follow and learn the instruction during the
aquatic program more easily than children. The researcher was certified as an "Instructor
of Adapted Aquatics," as a "Teacher of Adapted Aquatics," and as a "Water Safety
Instructor." A certified lifeguard accompanied every lesson for safety. The daily lesson
plan was completed prior to beginning of the study by the investigator, each lesson lasts
50 minutes. Explicit verbal directions and physical assistance are accompanied all
movements until the participant can totally understood them.
The aquatic program consisted of two parts. Several physical activities, which can
help develop body image and spatial awareness, were administered to participant in the
first part of the program. Basically, these activities were taken from the book, which is
"Adapted Physical Activity, Recreation and Sport"(Claudine Sherrill, 1997) and "The
Hill Performance Test of Selected Positional Concepts; since both were originally
designed to test the spatial awareness of children with visual impairments, appropriate
adaptations were made to account for the participant' s age. The second part of program
consisted of teaching the actual swimming skills, i.e., "the modified free crawl", and "the
modified back crawl."
Each skill was evaluated according to the performance standards, as described in
the "Water Safety Instructor's manual (WSI)."
There are two reasons why the researcher chose the aquatic program to improve
spatial awareness. First of all, water allows for more freedom to perform the first part of
the program, as the environments is safe and confined. Second, swimming can help
increase body awareness and understanding of how body parts function. It is helpful in
increasing awareness of both sides of the body and how they work together (laterality)
and directionality (awareness of the body in relation to obj ects), and in increasing the
ability to cross the midline by making 90 degree turns while swimming prone, as
described in AdaptedAquatics Programnming by Lepore, Gayle, and Stevens (1998).
The researcher took the notes about the performance of the participant during the
aquatic program and after the each session. In addition, semi-structured interviews were
conducted with the participant after finishing all of the programs, which were the
"Aquatic program" and "Wayfinding Skill Task". The quality of the data is rooted in the
interviewer' s accurate interpretation and understanding of the interviewee's words. It was
necessary for the interviewer to frequently ask for clarification or expansion of the
interviewee's responses in order to gain an accurate understanding.
The research design of this study will be a holistic, single-case design (Patton,
1980) since this study represents a unique case, which is about the person who is blind
and focuses on the global effect of the aquatic program.
3.5 Data Analysis
The results from the pre and post "Wayfinding Skill Task" tests were compared to
each other, in the number of errors made while walking the route. Tape-recorded
interviews were transcribed by the researcher and the participant was given a copy of his
interview to review for accuracy. Hand written observational notes were rewritten more
clearly for precision. Interview and observation data were analyzed using the constant
comparative method of qualitative analysis (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). This method is
determined "generate and plausibly suggest many categories, properties, and hypotheses
about general problems" (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, p 104)
Using this constant comparative method, data were continually analyzed and
reanalyzed for emerging conceptual categories, sub-components of categories, and
interrelationships of categories and concepts. A brief outline is provided below, but a
description of this method is more fully detailed in Glaser and Strauss (1967) and Straus
and Corbin (1998).
The first step of the constant comparative method is the breakdown of text into
discrete areas of similar data concepts. These similar content areas are then grouped into
categories. With each interview analysis, data is analyzed as to its fit into existing
categories and also for the existence of new categories. If new categories are formed,
previous interviews are reanalyzed for data fitting the new conceptual category. Second,
categories are analyzed for various properties that are comprised within them. Data were
reanalyzed for comparison of the incident to the properties within the category. This
allows for the deeper inspection of motives or perspectives that give rise to the general
In the analysis of data for this study, each interview was read line-by-line and
tentative nodes (discrete categories) of data content were developed. Observational data
transcripts were analyzed in the same manner as interview transcripts. As each interview
was read, data was assessed and placed into existing categories, if appropriate, or new
nodes were developed for data that did not fit existing nodes. The process of establishing
data under existing nodes, establishing new nodes and reviewing previously coded
interviews for newly developed nodes continued until all interviews had been coded.
Once this phase had been completed, the nodes were analyzed and grouped together for
Once information was grouped under similar content categories, it was re-examined
for broader thematic content. The similar content groups were then re-grouped together
under the appropriate thematic area. The data within each similar content area was then
reanalyzed for fit within the theme.
Throughout the analysis process, each piece of supporting data within the nodes
was constantly reexamined for fit and appropriateness within the node and similar content
area where it is placed. Even in the last thematic stages of analysis, new concepts
emerged from the data, requiring the researcher to start back at the beginning process of
line-by-line inspection of each interview and working through the entire analysis process
As prescribed by Glaser and Strauss (1967) for this method of analysis, data were
analyzed until saturation was reached. Saturation is the point at which data properties and
categories have become rich with description and depth, and the addition of further data
only serves to further illustrate what is already well established.
Final results of this research are presented within the framework of the four themes
that emerged from the interview and observational data, which are body image, the
hearing and tactual awareness, self-confidence, and spatial awareness.
Trustworthiness and Credibility: Two constructs of great importance in qualitative
study are trustworthiness and credibility.
Trustworthiness: The first construct, trustworthiness, is the extent to which the
researcher' s interpretations correctly reflect the phenomenon being studied. Glesne and
Peshkin (1992) point out that time is an essential factor in developing trustworthy
research results. The more time a researcher spends in the environment being studied, the
more opportunities there are to observe a wide range of interactions and events. It gives a
broader view of the participant' s world and the events that shape his or her perceptions
Time spent with interview participants building relationships lends to more honest
and comprehensive dialogue once the interview process has begun. Creating an interview
atmosphere that is unrushed and relaxed allows participants to feel comfortable
expanding on thoughts or ideas and fosters confidence that the interviewer is interested in
what they have to share. Likewise, investment of time in the interview process helps to
ensure that the interviewer is not ignoring possible topics for exploration or clarification
for the sake of time constraints. In this study, participant was given copies of the
interview format at least one week prior to his scheduled interview. This allowed him to
think about the topics and formulate some of his thoughts prior to the interview.
The use of multiple data sources is another method of increasing the
trustworthiness of research results. The utilization of more than one type of data
collection is called "triangulation" (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992, p. 24). Triangulation
methods were implemented in this research project by two ways. One is by the collection
of data through interview as well as observations of participant and another one is by the
collecting the data through some kind of qualitative methods with quantitative methods.
Credibility: The second construct of importance, credibility, is essentially the
degree to which your research findings can be verified by some other means (Glesne &
Peshkin, 1992). Steps to enhance credibility allows the researcher to avoid misconstrued
research findings due to personal bias, assumptions, or simply misinterpreting data. To
ensure credibility of this research project, the researcher employed the following methods
suggested by Lincoln and Guba (1985):
Interview participant shared in the interpretive process on two levels. First, he
reviewed his own interview transcripts for accuracy of content. Second, he was asked to
review the final working draft of the research. As outlined by Glesne and Peshkin (1992),
the review of the drafts provides an opportunity for participants to "(1) verify that you
have reflected the insider' s perspectives; (2) inform you of sections that, if published,
could be problematic for either personal or political reasons, and (3) help you to develop
new ideas and interpretations." (p. 147)
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The improvements in spatial awareness of people who are blind can not be easily
isolated and addressed with only one point of view because spatial awareness of those
persons seems to be a function of a interacting factors. Thus, multiple factors, which
measure increased spatial awareness, such as the improvement of the cognitive mapping
skill or the perception of the direction or the distance, are developed not only instinct, but
by various kinds of physical and mental awareness. The factors contributing to the
enhancement of spatial awareness appeared to develop out of primarily three realms:
body image, the various kinds of awareness and the psychological aspect. Before we
examine each category, it has to be acknowledged that the participant in this study
already had a well-developed body image and spatial awareness, more than the researcher
4.1. Bodv Imane
As it is defined before, the term body image is used in three ways. Therefore, the
improvement of the body image has to be demonstrated according to each level.
4.1.1 First Meaninn of the "Bodv Imane"
First, Hapeman (1967) used the term to refer to a child' s knowledge of his body
parts and of the relationships among those parts (for example, the fingers are connected
to the hand). Wherefore, in this study, the first part of the beginning sessions 1, 2 and 3 is
designed to reinforce this level of body image by asking the participant to move various
body parts in relationship to each other. It appeared that the participant already knew
where his body parts are placed and how they are related to each other from the very first
Lesson 1 (Appendix C).
* The participant responded perfectly to the instructions given for the first part of the
session. It was apparent that he understood the relationship between the body parts
and he was able to display good coordination.
* After performing the jelly fish float several times, he progressed to the next task,
which was the "tuck float." Even though he seemed to understand how to do this
task, it seemed a little clumsy because he could not hold the mid-shin tightly
enough towards the chest. As he repeated doing the "tuck float," his body grew
more adjusted and finally he accomplished doing the "tuck float" correctly.
Lesson 2. (Appendix C).
* First, he went through the first part of the session and he responds to all questions
almost perfectly. What I want to see by doing this part today is whether he has an
ability to move various body parts in relationship to each other to demonstrate
Lesson 3. (Appendix C).
* First, he went through the first part of the session and this part assesses the
participant' s ability to demonstrate the positional relationship between selected
body parts and their movements. He also answered to all questions almost perfectly
From these sessions, it became evident that the participant already has a well-
developed perception of the first level body image, so he was next asked to complete the
question, in various ways to train him in order to develop a more defined body image.
This gave him more time to think about a different way to respond to the question, if
there is more than one way, then he is to explain to me the different ways. As expected,
he was also able to perform the required task in several ways.
Lesson 2. (Appendix C).
* The only question that he took his time answering was "Can you put your feet
above your head?." First, he responded to my question by asking for physical
assistance to support him for balance. Then, for his next attempts, he kicked his
foot forward high enough to be at head level. He was then asked to do this task in
another way in the water and he responded quickly, apparently what he was being
asked to do. He submerged his body, so he didn't have to kick his leg upward.
Lesson 3. (Appendix C).
*The only question he was asked him to try in another way was "Can you put your
hands underneath your abdomen?" He responded to this question by placing his
hands facing upward below the hip underneath the abdomen, in standing position.
When he was asked him to accomplish this task in another way in the water, he
floated on his chest and placed his hands underneath his abdomen.
As a result, the first level of body image training in the aquatic program was only
able to reinforce this concept, but was not able to improve this ability significantly in this
study. However, it is assumed that it is because of the maturity of the participant rather
than the accountability of the program. This will be discussed later.
4. 1.2 Second and Third Meanings of the "Body Image"
A second use of the term is as represented by Siegel and Murphy (1970), who
defined body image as the mental "picture" one has of one' s body in space. In addition, a
third level of meaning is that Mills (1970) defined body image as a knowledge of body
parts, how the parts relate to each other, how the parts may be utilized both individually
and collectively for purposeful activity, and how the parts relate to the child's spatial
environment." When the body image is used at these two levels, there is an improvement
of this concept throughout the aquatic program. Originally, there was only one task the
participant needed to accomplish, which was the "back crawl." However, the program
had to be modified because of two reasons. First, it seemed too difficult to teach him how
to float on his back in the first few sessions. Therefore, the researcher decided to have the
participant to learn the "free crawl" (also referred to as the "free style" or "crawl stroke")
in order to see if it is easier to teach him to float on his stomach rather than his back.
Secondly, it became impossible for the participant to master the "free crawl" because he
was not able to use his arms freely due to an injury to his left shoulder. Finally, the
researcher decided to teach the participant how to do the "free crawl" without the arm
stroke and the "back crawl" without the arm stroke. Therefore, the progress will be
shown according to each task.
4. 1.2. 1 "Free Crawl" without the arm stroke
It is required for the participant to master the "flutter kick," the "free crawl arm
stroke," and the "breathing" skills in turn to perform the "free crawl" properly. It became
clear that there was a gradual progression in mastering it. The participant was not only
getting coordinated and adjusted to perform the task, he was also able to picture in his
mind how to do it successfully. As a result, the following is a summary of the progress of
the participant doing the "flutter kick," the "free crawl arm stroke," and the "breathing"
skills he accomplished throughout the aquatic program.
"Flutter Kick": To begin, the participant's ability to do the "flutter kick" at the start
of the program was that he had a tendency to move his lower body and also moving his
legs in a bicycling motion, which are the skills expected to level 3 (Ref, WSI) in
accomplishing the "free crawl kick." Next, after showing him how to use his legs, by
demonstrating with the researcher' s body as an example, he sill had a tendency to bend
his legs too much, but no longer used his lower body. In analysis, his legs were working
independently instead of together in a synchronized motion. After repeating this exercise
several sessions, the participant gradually mastered the process.
Lesson 3. (Appendix C).
*Then, he was asked to learn how to do the "flutter kick." After it was explained to
him, he was asked to try to do it on his own. He had a tendency to be moving his
whole lower body while kicking. Therefore, his body was swaying side to side
(laterally) and he was barely able to proceed swimming forward.
* After practicing the "flutter kick" several times, he no longer swayed side to side
(laterally), but still, his legs were moved in a bicycling motion rather than up and
Lesson 4. (Appendix C).
* Next, he was asked to try to master the "flutter kick" by being explained of the
problems that prevented him from doing it well. Then he began to practice the new
instruction. As a result, he was using his legs wrong, whereby he was using his hips
rather than his legs in a cycling motion. He explained he felt stiff and
uncomfortable. Therefore, he was asked to feel the researcher' s legs and notice how
they moved when the skills were performed. After he examined these movements,
he said that the kick seemed similar to a frog or a fish. It was probably helpful for
him to picture how to kick more clearly because he could perform better after
examining the motion of my feet. When he did the kick properly I had him
remember what he did with his body, so he could repeat it again. He said that he
was able to feel his body floating while he was kicking with slightly straightened
legs in a mildly rapid motion, so he said he was not feeling tense anymore.
Lesson 5. (Appendix C).
* The session began by practicing the "flutter kick," but his performance showed that
he was hot doing as well as he did previously. He bent the legs too much and
moved them too slowly, which appeared that they were working independently
instead of working together. Therefore, the kicking motion did not give him the
necessary force to move forward.
* After correcting his mistake and practicing his kicks several times, it seemed that
his body was appearing to adjust to the "flutter kick" properly whereby he was able
to go forward efficiently and in a straight line without any supports.
Lesson 8-9. (Appendix C).
* When he appeared to accomplish kicking well holding onto the pool, he was then
asked to hold onto the researcher's hands while trying to do the same the "flutter
kick." In the process, he proceeded to move in a straight line. Next, he was asked to
do the "flutter kick" with the kickboards. He had a tendency to move slightly
diagonally approximately 60 degrees either to the right or left on different attempts
doing the "flutter kick" with the kickboards. He was asked, "Why is it that you are
going in a straight line when I am holding onto your hands and you appeared to go
diagonally when you are holding onto the kickboards." He said, "When I am
holding onto your hands and I am not concentrating on what I am feeling and I am
focused on my leg movement whereby I am able to go forward. When I am holding
onto the kickboards, I am preoccupied trying to feel and hold onto the kickboard
rather than concentrating on my proper kick movement."
Lesson 10-11. (Appendix C).
* First, he was asked to use the kickboard to do the "flutter kick" by himself. His
performance was good because his legs were working rhythmically along with
proper speed and movement. Next, he was asked to repeat this exercise several
times and he appeared like he was figuring out how to move his legs.
Lesson 12-13. (Appendix C).
* Afterwards, he was asked to do the "flutter kick" on his stomach in seeing how
well he performs it. His body appeared to perform it rhythmically after practicing it
twice. This was a great improvement in comparison with the past performances,
thus revealing the difficulty of learning this in a very short period of time.
Lesson 14-16. (Appendix C).
* Next, he was asked how he feels now doing the "flutter kick." He explained that he
now can feel the difference of the body and he can sense himself moving faster
when using his legs correctly in deeper water.
As it shown, he was also able to move his legs continuously in a synchronized
motion. These performances are required to level 6 (Ref. WSI), which is the final step to
accomplish the "free crawl kick."
In a summary, the participant' s performance in doing the "flutter kick" was
progressed from level 3 to level 6.
"Free Crawl Arm Stroke" and "Breathinn": In the beginning session, before
learning about the participant's injured arm, his arm stroke was bending too much and
having a tendency to drag on the surface when pulling back. Also, he had a tendency to
move his upper body too much to the right or left when extending forward with the arm.
These performances are expected to level 3 (Ref. WSI) in accomplishing the "free crawl
arm stroke." After learning about his arm impairment, future session which used the arm
were canceled and the lessons focused on how he could accomplish a modified sort of
"free crawl," that is, performing the stroke with only the use of his legs.
For the breathing skill, the participant began the program with his tendency of
moving his head side to side instead of rhythmically moving it to the right and then to the
neutral position then to the left and then back to the neutral position. Next, after teaching
the participant to use his head properly corresponding with his breathing, he improved
using his head as directed, but still had a tendency to lift his head looking up facing
forward when breathing. These performances are expected to level 3 (Ref. WSI) in
accomplishing the "free crawl breathing skill." In the final sessions of aquatic program,
he was no longer lift his head to breath and he was able to moving it rhythmically relating
to kick, which is the required skill to level 6 (Ref. WSI).
Lesson 6. (Appendix C).
* First, he was asked to use only one arm stroking the water several times, then
alternate the other arm repeating the motion in a "pitcher like" fashion. In the
process of doing this motion, he had a tendency to bend his arm too much and drag
it on the surface of the water when he brought it back to the original position.
* After practicing the strokes with the corrections added to them, he was able to use
his arm almost successfully to achieve the stroke, but he still had a tendency to
bring his arm back in the bent position.
* Afterwards, he was asked to perform the arm stroke without kicking. It became
apparent that he had a tendency still to kick, which was what was expected. He said
he just automatically did it because he tried to balance his body.
Lesson 7. (Appendix C).
* In analysis, he showed that he was able to picture the arm stroke and head motion
to the one coordinated movement, he illustrated good improvement in comparison
the way he had performed before by using his head and arms randomly and
Lesson 8-9. (Appendix C).
* On further analysis, it was clear that he had a tendency to move his head side to
side, omitting his head from being in the neutral position. Therefore, the practices
began to emphasize the arm stroke and rhythmical breathing, with appropriately
coordinated head movement.
* First, he was asked to hold the researcher's hands while his rhythmical breathing
was carefully observed (by the researcher). He had a tendency to raise his head a
little too high looking forward while he is moving his head side to side. Then he
was asked to do the breathing technique with the kickboard. He moved in a straight
line only when he moved his head side to side, but when he raised his head looking
forward while he is moving his head side to side, he had a tendency move forward
diagonally. Therefore, he was asked to concentrate on keeping his head close to the
water moving his head side to side, not looking forward so that he may feel
confident that he is swimming in a straight line not fearing any longer that he is
moving diagonally. This seemed to help him improve his performance.
4. 1.2.2 "Back Crawl" without the arm stroke
There is a significant progression in doing the "back crawl" because the participant
was not able to float on his back at the start of the program. The most challenging task for
the researcher was to teach the participant to float on his back, which was the required
skill to level 1 (Ref. WSI), which is the first step to accomplish the "back crawl." In
addition, the main problem in performing this task was the participant's psychological
fear of drowning, which will be discussed later. The participant in the early session was
not able to accomplish the performance of the supine-float" properly because of the fear
of drowning. Later in the session, after he had mastered the "flutter kick," he was asked
once again do the "supine-float." He learned how to regulate his breathing while on his
back and was able to position and control his body well enough to stay afloat, while
breathing in proper rhythm. As the sessions progressed, he learned how to master his
ability to float according to his breathing and his ability to kick on his back.
In other words, he was able to master the skill expected to level 6 (Ref. WSI),
which is the Einal step to accomplish the "back crawl."
Lesson 2. (Appendix C).
* At this time, he was not able to perform the "supine float" without kicking, which
meant he could not position his body to stay afloat independently (without kicking).
Lesson 4. (Appendix C).
* Still, whenever he turned on his back, his body appeared to sink just as it did
Lesson 8-9. (Appendix C).
* But with practice, he could now successfully accomplish the "supine float," without
any physical support, or kicking. He was then asked to demonstrate the "supine
float" several times for practice. In analysis, he appeared to float better when he
was holding his breath, but when he tried to breathe he had a tendency to sink.
Thus, he was next asked to try to learn how to do shallow breathing to better
control his body to stay afloat.
Lesson 10-11. (Appendix C).
* When he tried the "supine float" again, and to breathe normally, he was getting
better in regulating his breathing and staying afloat on his back. Finally, with more
practice, he succeeded in mastering the "supine float." When he tried the "supine
float" again, and to breathe normally, he was getting better in regulating his body to
stay afloat according to the breathe.
* Thus, it was determined that he was ready to learn the next stage of the supine
float." So, he was then asked to do the supine float again, but this time by using his
legs just as in the flutter kick, and try to move in a straight line. While in the
process of performing this, it became clear that he had a tendency to bend his legs
too much in a bicycling motion causing him to move in a circular direction.
* As he was doing the supine float, he gradually was regulating his breathing and
trying to kick just as in the flutter kick, but his legs were still moving in a bicycling
motion and his body moving in a circular direction.
Lesson 12-13. (Appendix C).
* He practiced the "supine float" again, and this time with kicking. Before beginning,
he was instructed on how to kick properly. When he was doing the "supine float"
with the kick, he was able to keep his body afloat with the force of kicking. He
appeared to figure out on his own how to use his legs while on his back, whereby
he not only kept his body afloat, but he was able to move in a straight line. This
was a great improvement compared to the last session because he no longer has a
tendency to move in a diagonal direction.
Lesson 14-16. (Appendix C).
* Moreover, it seemed that not only was he able to control his breathing, but also, his
kicking motion was becoming more rhythmical and coordinated. In addition, his
improvement was evidenced by the fact that he no longer took time preparing to
float on his back before kicking; now he was able to instantly go on his back begin
kicking and proceed forward in a straight line. He said that he found out that he can
breathe somewhat normally because he could keep his body afloat on his back
when he was kicking.
In conclusion, the body image of a person who is blind was strengthened after the
aquatic program by achieving all the tasks required (which were the modified "free
crawl" and the modified "back crawl") successfully.
4.2 Hearinn Awareness and Tactual Awareness
The hearing awareness and the tactual awareness for the blind person to be aware
of the world while moving around in it are just as important as vision is to the sighted
4.2.1 Importance of the Hearing Awareness
In this study, the participant spoke often throughout the aquatic program about the
importance of the hearing awareness in order for him to move around in the pool using
some medium, such as the instructor's voice as a reference.
Lesson 12 -13. (Appendix C).
* The participant said he needed my voice as a point of reference in order for him to
proceed in the desired direction perfectly. For example, he asked the researcher to
speak while he was in the process of turning so he could gauge his direction
according to the position of my voice.
* At the end of the session, the participant mentioned that his sense of direction was
impaired by the use of using ear plugs because of his ear infection. He said that he
could have made his degree movements better and paid more attention to what is
around him if he did not have to use ear-plugs. The reason for this is that he said
he uses as point of reference the nature around him, and the air pressure, to inform
him of obj ects near to him. However, the only point of reference he could use at
this time was my voice.
Lesson 14 -16. (Appendix C).
* In the last aquatic session with the participant, he began by repeating navigation
directions just as in the last session. Indeed, in comparison to the previous session,
he responded to all questions more accurately, and evidently he was able to use his
senses more efficiently because there were no other people in the pool creating
di stracti ons.
4.2.2 Change in Hearing Awareness
In addition, he also emphasized changes in his hearing awareness throughout the
aquatic program. For instance, he had to go into a meditated state to tune himself to being
aware of his surroundings, such as listening to the birds, wind blowing the trees, and the
people nearby. As the session progressed, the participant stated that the water allowed
him to be in a more calm state and gradually he was more a tuned to the sounds of
movements of his body in the water and the ability to be aware of the direction while
navigating in the water.
Lesson 1. (Appendix C).
* He performed the "j ellyfish float" exactly the way it was directed and he did it in a
relaxed manner. He also held his breath for about a minute, he said that he was
meditating and listening the surroundings and in the process doing this, his
awareness became more open.
Question: "Has any type of awareness improved through the aquatic program? If
Answer: "I had noticed only the hearing awareness improved. The awareness that I
felt is like a comfortable, relaxing feeling. If you are floating in the water, you have
nothing holding you down, so what happened is that you allowed all your senses to
function. I mean, you got used to paying more attention to the sounds around you,
such as the distant sounds, nearby sounds, and the things that normally you may not
pay attention to before the aquatic program."
To summarize, it appeared that only hearing awareness improved through the
aquatic program, in comparison with tactual ability.
Generally speaking, it is believed that the persons who are blind have a difficulty
moving around in their surrounding because of their lack of self-confidence in their
physical abilities. Apparently, the reason why the blind person does not have the self-
confidence in moving around in their surroundings is that they have limited opportunity
to move around while growing up because of the overprotection of their parents or the
fear of being physically injured.
In this study, the difference in this ability can be seen by observing the progress in
doing the "back crawl." As was mentioned before, the participant had a hard time floating
on his back in the early sessions because of the fear of drowning. However, as a result of
the progress achieved during all of the sessions in learning and practicing the "back
crawl," the participant' s self-confidence improved each time to the point that he was not
only able to perform the skill, but he was also able go into the back crawl instinctively,
no longer fearing that he will sink and drown.
Lesson 2. (Appendix C).
* At first, the participant could not perform the task, thus, his body could not stay up,
rather it was sinking. Even though his back was supported, his body still felt very
tense. So, he was asked to try to relax his body and he replied he was relaxed. After
repeating the "supine float" several times, he said he has a difficulty relaxing his
muscles even though he believed he was relaxed. He stated that it may be because
of his insecurity of not being able to see himself floating on his back. What was
interesting about this session was that he felt insecure only when he was doing this
new skill, the "supine float."
Lesson 3. (Appendix C).
* Despite his back being supported, his body was still very tense.
* After repeating the supine float several times, he said he had difficulty relaxing his
muscles even though he believed he was relaxed. He stated, as before, that it may
be because of his insecurity of not be able to see himself floating on his back.
Lesson 8-9. (Appendix C).
* He was next asked how he was able to successfully to float on his back while
holding his breath, yet not be able to do so when was breathing. He answered,
"When I am holding my breath I am not fearful of having water get into my nose
and I can concentrate better on feeling my body float, but when I am breathing I
can feel my body sinking and I am in fear of the water getting into my nose and
mouth and possibly feeling like I am going to drown."
Lesson 10-11. (Appendix C).
* Afterward, I asked him to do the "supine float." It was evident that he was no
longer reluctant to do the "supine float," despite the fact that in the recent past, he
was hesitant of doing it because of his fear of the drowning. When he tried the
"supine float" again, and breathe normally, he was getting better in regulating his
breathing while staying afloat on his back. Finally, he had succeeded in mastering
the "supine float."
* Afterwards, he proceed to do the supine float again, this time he asked me not to
support his back because he can not concentrate on balancing his body with self-
confidence for the reason he is focused on the reliance of my hands. Therefore, he
said he would rather do it on his own by disciplining his body in obeying his will.
Lessonl4 -16. (Appendix C).
* At this point, after explaining to the participant how he improved going in a straight
line straightening the directions of his body, he stated that he felt more confident in
regulating the different position of the body in the water.
* He also said that it is not like in the earlier session, which was that he was more
focused on survival because he may end up drowning.
Question: "How is your self-confidence improved not only in the water, but also in
daily life after the aquatic program?"
Answer: "My self-confidence has really only improved in the water rather than
outside of it. I mean, that I had to be consistently aware of my body and how it
reacted in the water until it became instinctive. After the aquatic program my self-
confidence improved dramatically because now, I know what' s happening with my
body and how I can use it in the water."
However, there was no distinct difference in self-confidence to move around on
land because the participant was already accustomed to move around on land near his
house or campus.
Question: "How is your self-confidence improved not only in the water but also in
daily life after the aquatic program?"
Answer: "It doesn't make any difference on the ground because I already have
several years of survival ability. In other words, I already have enough experience
in going to different places around here."
In conclusion, there has been a significant improvement in the participant's self-
confidence to move around in the water environment after completing the aquatic
4.4 Spatial Awareness
As was defined before, spatial awareness is the internalization of our own location
in space as well as obj ect localization (Martin, 2000). If we see this term more in detail,
the spatial awareness refers to the ability to work within one's own space and the ability
to organize people and obj ects in relation to one' s own body.
4.4.1 First Part of Session from Lesson 4-16
In this study, the first part of the sessions from Lessons 4 to 16 were designed to
reinforce this concept (i.e., spatial awareness) by asking the participant to move his body
in relationship to the obj ects or to move each object in relationship to each other. It
appears that the participant could demonstrate proper positional concepts of his body and
the relationship to the obj ects in the space from the beginning of the program. In the
beginning of the program, the participant stated that he had to visualize what he was
asked to do with positioning the obj ects. Later, he said he no longer needed to visualize it
because he knew what was expected of him, therefore he was positioning the obj ects
instinctively without taking any time to think or visualize.
Lesson 4. (Appendix C).
* In the first part of the session, he was asked to change his position in relationship to
mine to see whether he has an ability to move the body in relationship to the
obj ects. He also responded perfectly to all the questions that were posed to him.
Lesson 5. (Appendix C).
* The first part of the session started with him using the rubber tube. Basically, he
was asked him to position the rubber tube in particular direction in order to see
whether he could demonstrate positional concepts by moving the body in
relationship to the obj ects. He accomplished all the tasks perfectly, so he moved
onto the second part of the session.
Lesson 6. (Appendix C).
* In the first part of the session, he was given a rubber tube and he was asked him to
move himself in relation with the tubes. He moved around the tubes freely without
being confused moving to either the right or the left side of the tube and placing it
in position properly as requested.
Lesson 7. (Appendix C).
* Next, he was asked to take two tubes, one large and one small, and place each of
them on the one side of him and the other tube on the other side. This was done in
order to evaluate how he coordinate and determine two different sizes of tubes and
having them being positioned in certain ways to see if he distinguish which tube is
furthest from him or closest to him. He responded to all of these instructions
Lesson 8-9. (Appendix C).
* The session began by analyzing his coordination with three obj ects, the ball, the
rubber tube, and the rubber kickboards. He was asked to examine and compare the
obj ects with each other by having him place them in different orders of position.
Upon analysis he was well coordinated and recognized and placed the obj ects as he
was asked to do.
Lesson 12-13. (Appendix C).
* This session began by testing the participant' s awareness and coordination of
moving his body in the directions that were specified in terms of the degrees rather
than turn in the direction of left or right. He was tested on turning left or right 90
degrees, 180 degrees, 270 degrees, 360 degrees. He responded to all the questions
perfectly. It was assumed that he had no confusion about the direction and has
pretty good instincts about the turning a certain degree specified.
4.4.2 Second Part of the Session from 8-16
In addition, the second part of the sessions from lessons 8 to 16 were also designed
to enhance the spatial awareness by asking the participant to proceed a certain distance
and to change the direction. First, the participant had a tendency to proceed in a diagonal
direction rather than in a straight line at the beginning, but it was gradually getting better
each consecutive session, and at the end of the program he had successfully proceeded in
a straight line. Secondly, the participant was able to measure the distance fairly
accurately, but he had a difficulty to change the direction in a certain degree because he
has a tendency to go either below or above the degree that I had requested.
Lesson 8-9. (Appendix C).
* Next, the participant was asked to do the flutter kick on his own and stop when he
thought he had traveled meters. When he was done, he was asked how far does he
think he went. He said he was not sure, but he thought he might have gone about
meters. He as told he was correct. This exercise was repeated several times having
him swim at different distances. Each time he evaluated the distances that he swam
fairly accurately. He was then asked how it was that he knew so well how far he
had swam. He answered, "I only use my instincts on how far I believe that I have
gone, otherwise, I really do not know." He also explained that he used his own idea
of 'clocking' clock how rapidly and how many times, he was using his legs, so this
way, he could use his instincts and judgments simultaneously.
Lesson 12-13. (Appendix C).
* He as asked to do the "flutter kick" on his stomach, testing him on distances and
directions. For example, my direction was going meters one way, and doing a
90degree right turn, and then proceed another meters. ON each test, the distance,
degrees and direction were modified in order to evaluate his instinctive awareness.
Also, this was done to see if this would help to improve his supine float
* Upon evaluation, he was pretty accurate at measuring the distance, but did not do
very well in gauging the degrees.
Lesson 14-16. (Appendix C).
* Next, he was asked to do the "flutter kick" but without the kickboard, practicing
doing the distances, degrees, and the directions. Upon evaluation, he went either
beyond, or below, the degrees that he was requested to make. For example, when
he was asked to turn 90 degrees, he turned 70, 80 or 100 degrees.
*Afterward, he tried the direction and the distance exercise while performing the
"flutter kick" on his back. He accomplished this task pretty well even though it
was the first time that he tried it.
4.4.3 Wayfinding Skill Task
The purpose of the way finding was to compare the participant' s performance in
completing this task pre and post to the aquatic program, in order to see if there was a
difference measuring the distance and changing the direction. (Tables 1-2)
Table 4-1: Number of errors made in completing the way finding before the aquatic
The first segment The second segment The third segment
Score 1 7 9 7
Score 2 2 4
Score 3 1
Total Score 7 13 18
Total Choices 7 11 12
Mean Score 1 1.18 1.5
The mean error score for each segment was calculated. As is shown, there was no
significant difference in the mean error scores between two trials. However, the
participant became more accurate in carrying out the task after the aquatic program
because the mean error score was close to 1 (reflecting accurate performance at most
Table 4-2: Number of errors made in completing the way finding after the aquatic program
The first segment The second segment The third segment
Score 1 7 13 12
Total Score 7 13 12
Total Choices 7 13 12
Mean Score 1 1 1
choice points). In addition, it appears that when the participant attempted to fulfill the
task for the first time, he had to rely upon prior knowledge to complete the task, but when
he fulfilled the task second time, he was more dependent upon instinct; this seemingly
allowed the participant to enhance his physical awareness.
Question: "Before the aquatic program, what was your sense of direction or
distance like when you were doing the "Wayfinding Skill Task?"
*Was it improved after the aquatic program? If so, how?
Answer: "When I was given the direction at that time, I already had prior
knowledge about the distance of city block. So, I used that prior knowledge as a
reference to fulfill my task. Now, doing that task again, I did not have to depend
upon that knowledge, instead I had to use my instincts. Therefore, I am creating
new landmarks indicating where I am at, and I am traveling out of pleasure rather
than for searching where I have to go to fulfill my task."
CONCLUSION, APPLICATIONS, AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS
This study reveals that the spatial awareness of a person who is blind will improve
after the aquatic program. As stated before, the improvements of the spatial awareness of
people with blindness can not be easily isolated and addressed with only one point of
view because the spatial awareness of those persons seem to be functioning by the result
of the several factors interacting, such as the improvement of the body image and the
various kinds of physical, mental awareness. Therefore, according to this study, the
spatial awareness of a person who is blind is improved because there is an enhancement
of the body image, the hearing awareness, and the self-confidence. Furthermore, the
aquatic program help make the person who is blind more instinctive when he either
moving on land, or in the water.
5.2 Applications and Future Directions
There is a general lack of information available on the spatial awareness of people
who are blind. This seems surprising considering that this ability is an important factor to
provide more freedom to move within, and experience, the environment. In addition,
there were relatively few studies, which try to strengthen the spatial awareness of people
who are blind using a physical activity program. This, too, is surprising considering that
according to Krebs (1979), concepts of spatial movement are most meaningful when
experienced through physical and tactile activity. Indeed, the present study seems to
indicate that there are benefits from physical activity programs to strengthen the spatial
awareness of the people who are blind.
Moreover, another value of this study is the ability of people with blindness to
achieve a physical activity successfully. This is meaningful because to learn how to do a
new physical activity is not only good for their health by doing the activity, but also
giving them more opportunity to socialize in order to elevate their quality of life.
Before launching into the possibilities for future studies, a limitation of this study
has to be addressed. The limitation of this study may be the selection of the participant.
As it was mentioned before, the participant of this study already possessed a heightened
spatial-awareness, more than the researcher had expected because, of the participant' s
maturity and his previous visual memories when sighted. As a result, the effect of the
aquatic program upon the participant must be appreciated in this light.
Therefore, it is not a sufficient basis upon which to make generalized assumptions
about all the people who are blind, despite the belief that this study achieved the goal of
showing the effectiveness of the aquatic program on the spatial awareness of the
participant. As it will be outlined below, there is a great deal of further research needed to
more clearly show the effects of the aquatic program on the spatial awareness upon this
The following passages suggest an implication for future research generated by this
study, which are: (1) To measure the primary differences of an aquatic program upon
children who are blind, versus adults who are blind; (2) To compare the various
differences of the effects of an aquatic program upon people who were born blind, versus
those who became blind later in life.
Question: "Do you think the first part of the session, which required for you to
touch or move your body parts, was helpful for you to improve the knowledge
about your body parts and their relationship?"
Answer: "No, not so much because I was mature enough to know where each body
parts are placed and how they are related to each other. I mean that I am fully
educated and I am so dependent upon my memory or mental ability rather than my
instinctive ability. However, if there were blind children, then they would depend
more upon their senses trying to understand and analyze their own body. Therefore,
you can teach them when you feel your arm is moving this direction, when you feel
your leg is moving this direction, when your body turns this direction, that means
going right or left...etc. But for me, I was able to recall all the memories in my
mind as I remember from my years being sighted."
The effect of the aquatic program appears to have its greatest effect upon children
rather than adults. The reason for that is, the more mature the person is, the more familiar
they are about their own body and surroundings. This means that the person attained
knowledge through learning and experience. Therefore, the older the person is, the less
they become dependent upon their spatial awareness. In addition, the aquatic program
similarly appears to have greater impact upon the people who were born blind versus the
people who became blind sometime in their life. The reason is that the people who were
born blind depend solely upon their four senses, whereby are unable to be influenced by
the visual memory because lack of sight. Therefore, it is expected that the spatial
awareness of people who were born blind learn more rapidly to develop their instincts of
awareness rather than knowledge of awareness. Whereby, the people who were not born
blind but became blind later in life learn from visual awareness by creating the visual
picture when being given the direction or the description from the sighted person.
Therefore, that people depend upon their visual memory not allowing their other four
senses to enhance the spatial awareness.
To summarize, the following suggestions for future research are, first, to measure
the primary differences of an aquatic program upon children who are blind, versus adults
who are blind; and second, to compare the various differences of the effects of an aquatic
program upon people who were born blind, versus those who became blind later in life.
1. "Before the aquatic program, how was your awareness of the body?"
"Was it changed after the aquatic program? If so, how?"
2. "Before the aquatic program, what type of awareness (such as, hearing awareness,
tactual awareness) did you use when you were doing the Wayfinding .1/ // Ta~sk?"
3. "Before the aquatic program, what was your sense of direction or distance like
when you were doing the Wayfinding.1////l Ta~sk?"
"Was it improved after the aquatic program? If so, how?"
4. "How is your cognitive mapping skill improved by the aquatic program?"
5. "How is your self-confidence improved not only in doing the Wayfinding.1////l Ta~sk
but also in daily life after the aquatic program?"
WAYFINDING SKILL TASK ROUTE
There was 30 choice points along the route where the participant had to decide
whether to go straight, to cross the road, to turn, or to stop. The route is as follows:
1. The First segment choicese)
The Weimer Hall -Road crossing -Stop -,Turn right -Go straight Stop -
Tumn left- Stop- The Infirmary Building
2. The Second segment choicesc)
The Infirmary Building -Tum right -Go straight -Stop- Road crossing- Go
straight- Stop- Road crossing- Stop- Tumn right -Go straight -Stop- The
3. The Third segment (12 choices)
The Century Tower- Turn right- Go straight- Stop- Turn left- Go straight-
Stop -Turn right -Go straight- Stop ~Tum right- Go straight- Stop- The
1. Instructor stands in water in front of the participant
2. Instructor asks the participant touch participant's body parts.
*Can you raise your right hand?
*Can you touch the head with right hand?
*Can you touch the right shoulder with right hand?
*Can you touch the left side of your body with right hand?
*Can you touch the toes (either right or left feet) with right hand?
*Can you touch the part of your body that is farthest away from your toes?
and shoulder with right hand?
*Can you raise your left hand?
1. Student holds instructor's hands.
2. Instructor exerts a light pressure touch to encourage the up and down
*Can you go down to the chest depth?
*Can you go down to the shoulder depth?
*Can you go down to the head depth?
3. Instructor explains how to do Jellyfish Float and Tuck Float
* Submerge to the neck, take a deep breath of air.
WFlex your knees slightly to raise your feet off the bottom.
* Submerge to the neck, take a deep breath of air.
WFlex your knees slightly to raise your feet off the bottom.
WFlex your hips and knees and hold onto your legs at mid-calf.
1. Instructor stands in water in front of student.
2. Instructor asks the student move his body part.
*Can you put your right hand in front of your face?
*Can you move your left hand to the right side of your body?
*Can you put your right hand behind your back?
*Can you put your left hand behind your left leg?
*Can you put your right foot in back of your left foot?
*Can you move both of your hands toward the middle of your body?
*Can you move both of your knees toward the middle of your body?
*Can you put both of your hands under your head?
*Can you put both of your hands underneath your abdomen?
1. Instructor explains how to do the "Supine Float" and the "Prone Float".
Instructor asks the questions.
*Can you get off the bottom and still keep your face dry?
After talking about this, the instructor explains how their body is supposed
to move to float in back.
*Take a deep breath, lay your head back.
4Lie all the way back.
WAs you float, breathe in and out through your mouth every few seconds.
Instructor asks the questions
*Can you get your feet off the bottom?
After talking about this, the instructor explains how their body supposed
to move to float in front.
WFlex your knees until your shoulders are submerged.
face in the water.
blow some air out through your nose.
2.Instructor explains how to do the "flutter kick" in doing the "front
your calf and foot are still moving upward. For most of the downbeat, keep
your knee slightly flexed. The propulsion occurs when you straighten your
leg. This motion continues through the whole leg, and the feet follow
through. The feet are turned slightly inward. Your foot snaps downward,
completing the motion, as though you were kicking a ball.
* In the upbeat(recovery), raise your leg straight toward the surface with little
or no flexion in your knee, until your heel just breaks the surface. A common
error is to bend the knee and thus pull the heel toward the buttocks. Your leg
must stay straight in the recovery. Your knee is flexed for most of the power
phase, and extends forcefully at the end of the kick.
Participant holds onto pool edge in a front position and practices the
Once the participant gets used to doing the flutter kick, let him do it on his
own while he holds the kickboard.
Once the participant is used to the flutter kick, let him perform it on his
own without support.
1. Instructor asks the questions.
*Can you move so I am facing you?
2. Instructor gives a tube, which is suitable for the participant.
*Can you put yourself in front of the tube?
*Can you put the tube behind you?
*Can you get out of from the tube to the right side of it?
*Can you get into the tube from the left side of the tube?
3. Instructor also gives a smaller tube.
*Can you put yourself between two tubes?
*Can you hold the small tube with right hand and the big one with left
*Can you move the small tube so the big tube is nearer to you?
1. Instructor gives a ball, which is fitted for the participant and light
enough to float.
2. Let the participant try to throw the ball.
3. Instructor explains how to throw the ball
your throwing arm through in an arc over the top of your shoulder.
4. The instructor explains how the participant can do the arm stroke in
doing the "front crawl" in detail and practice a lot out of the water.
5. Instructor emphasizes the way his hand goes, in other words, which
body parts the hand passes.
hand turns 45 degree with the thumb side of the palm towards the bottom.
This is called catching the water and is in preparation for the pull
*The pull movement follows a semicircle with the elbow higher than the hand
and the hand pointing towards the body center and downward. The
semicircle ends in front of the chest at the beginning of the ribcage.
* The push pushes the palm backward through the water underneath the body
at the beginning and at the side of the body at the end of the push. The
movement increases speed throughout the pull push phase until the hand is
the fastest shortly before the end of the push.
* Some time after the beginning of the recovery of the one arm the other arm
begins its pull. The recovery moves the elbow in a semicircle in a vertical
plane in the swimming direction. The lower arm and the hand is completely
relaxed and hangs down from the elbow close to the water surface and close
to the swimmers body.
*The hand enters the water thumb first almost as far forward as possible.
1. Instructor stands in water in front of student.
2. Instructor gives a tube, a kickboard and a ball to the participant.
3. Instructor asks the participant to move tube or kickboard.
*Can you put the kickboard in front of the tube?
*Can you put the ball in back of the kickboard?
*Can you put the ball behind the tube?
*Can you put the ball to the left of the kickboard?
*Can you put the kickboard to the right of the tube?
*Can you put the tube on top of the kickboard?
*Can you put the ball above the kickboard?
*Can you put the tube between the kickboard and the ball?
*Can you put the tube to the right of the ball and kickboard?
*Can you put the ball in the center of the tube?
*Can you put the ball close to the tube and the kickboard far away from the
*Can you make the tube lower than the ball?
*Can you put the kickboard to the left of the ball and tube?
*Can you put the ball in the middle of the tube and the kickboard?
*Can you put the kickboard far away from the ball and the tube next to the ball?
4. Instructor asks the participant to do the flutter kick on his own and stop
when he thinks he proceeds certain distance, which is required.
1. The instructor explains how to breathe in doing the "front crawl".
* Start turning your head to the side as that arm starts its pull.
completely underwater so you are ready to inhale at the next breath.
2. Practice the breathing in correspondence with the arm stroke movement
out side of the pool and then in the water.
3. Once the participant gets used to doing the flutter kick on his back, let
him do it on his own while he holds the kickboard.
1. Instructor asks the student changing the direction.
~Can you make a 90 degree right turn?
~Can you make a 180 degree right turn?
~Can you make a 270 degree right turn?
~Can you make a full right turn?
SSwitch the direction.
2. Instructor asks the participant to change the direction when he thinks he
proceeds the certain distance, which is required.
Participant stands at the start line.
Participant proceeds forward by doing the "flutter kick" and whenever he
thinks he reaches each spot, he needs to stop and to change the direction.
Practice this task changing the degree, the direction and the distance
between the each spot for each trial.
*Make a 90 degree right tumn when you reach the first spot.
*Make a 90 degree left tumn when you reach the second spot.
*Make a 270 degree left tumn when you reach the third spot.
*Make a 180 degree right tumn when you reach the fourth spot.
*Make a 270 degree right tumn when you reach the fifth spot.
*Make a 90 degree right turn when you reach the sixth spot.
*Make a 90 degree left turn when you reach the eighth spot.
1.Instructor explains how to kick in doing the "Back crawl".
*The kick is like the flutter kick used in the front crawl but is a little deeper in
the water. It is a continuous, alternating, up-and-down movement that starts
from your hips. Keep the ankles loose and floppy, your feet slightly pigeon-
toes, and your legs, separated slightly so that your big toes just miss each
other. Most of the propulsive force comes from the upward kick, which is like
punting a football with the tip of your foot. The downward movement of the
sole of your foot against the water also helps propel you.
from the upper surface of your lower leg and foot. Bring your thigh and knee
near the surface, but keep whipping your foot upward until your leg is straight
and your toes reach the surface. Keep your leg nearly straight in the downward
kick. At the end of the downward movement, bend your knee and start your
upward kick. Your thighs should pass each other and your knees should stay
2. Let the participant hold the kickboard lying on his back and practice the
"flutter kick" with the instructor's assists.
3. Once the participant gets used to doing the flutter kick on his back, let
him do it on his own while he holds the kickboard.
4. Once the participant is used to the flutter kick, let him perform it on his
own without support.
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Hee Sun Jun was born in Seoul, South Korea, on July 7, 1978. After graduating
with a B.A. in physical education from Korea University, she relocated to the University
of Florida (U.F) in Gainesville, Florida to pursue a Master of Science degree in exercise
and sport sciences, with a concentration in special physical education. Her
accomplishments during her master' s program include the co-direction of multiple
research, teaching and service programs including a fitness and sport program for
adolescents with mental retardation; a low-intensity, pain-free walking program for
individuals with peripheral vascular disease; serving as an academic secretary and daily
assistant for an individual who is blind; implementing adapted aquatics instruction for
children and youth with physical disabilities in programs held at UF; and teaching
jogging as a graduate assistant in the college of Health and Human Performance. Ms. Jun
hopes to dedicate her life to working people with disabilities and hopes to improve the
quality of their lives.