Lessons for life
Research aims to help people
with intellectual disabilities
BY LIZ KATYNSKI
Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, November / December 2012
Dr. Melanie Gregg is looking for ways to
improve the lives of people with intellectual
disabilities. And she believes athletes with
intellectual disabilities can help.
An associate professor in the Kinesiology
Department at the University of Winnipeg,
Gregg is studying how athletes with
intellectual disabilities cope with the pressure
of playing sports, and how they transfer
those skills to everyday life.
"Some of the skills used by these athletes
include setting goals, managing their
emotions before, during and after an event,
and coping under pressure," she says. "I
looked at whether they were nervous, excited
or fearful of the event they were playing in,
and how they got through that."
In the first phase of her research, Gregg
surveyed athletes with intellectual disabilities
on a range of issues, such as what they liked
or disliked about the pressure of competition
and how they dealt with it.
The next phase in Gregg's study is to ask
those athletes how they use their sportsassociated
skills outside of sports. After this
phase is completed, Gregg says the answers
will be used to form a training method to
teach non-athletes with intellectual disabilities.
"It might be in the form of a workbook
or workshops," says Gregg, adding this
could then be used by schools or health-care
organizations that deal with people with
"For example, an athlete uses imagery to
play a sport. A non-athlete would use the
same technique, imagining something like
how to get to their bus stop, get on the bus
and pay for their ticket, and where to get off
the bus. This imagery or visualization is done
before the trip even starts."
Back to "Research for better health"
Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.
Read the November / December 2012 issue of Wave