Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Britain works to develop testing system to classify Paralympic athletes with intellectual disabilities

From UKPA:

British academics are working to create a computerised testing system to help classify athletes with a learning disability, it has been announced.

The London 2012 Paralympics will be the first time athletes with an intellectual disability have been allowed to compete at an international multi-disability sports event since the 2000 Sydney Paralympics.

Loughborough University researchers led by Dr Stephan Bandelow have so far developed an automated touch screen test. They are currently working with sports scientists in analysing data taken from 700 athletes who used the system during competition and training.

Dr Bandelow said: "The programme tests reaction times, reasoning abilities, memory and concentration and is designed to measure problems with information processing that are prevalent amongst individuals with a learning disability.

"We also aim to develop sport-specific testing for sports including athletics, swimming and table tennis, based on the cognitive demands associated with each discipline."

Medical records, IQ tests and in-competition assessments in addition to psychometric testing will also be used as part of the developing process, a Loughborough spokesman said.