Date of Award


Document Type

Distinction Project

Degree Name

Allied Health-BS


Health & Sport Sciences


Ann-Catherine Sullivan

First Committee Member

Ann-Catherine Sullivan

Second Committee Member

Shelley Payne


Physical Activity Program, Students with Disabilities, Empowerment

Subject Categories

Cognition and Perception | Disability and Equity in Education | Health and Physical Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The purpose of this study is to (a) identify potential benefits for the students with disabilities taking part in a physical activity program with same-age typical peers on Otterbein University’s campus, and (b) to determine if the program impacts the students with disabilities empowerment. The main question we are seeking is: “How does physical activity with college-age peers affect students with disabilities empowerment on their daily life and living?” Best of Both Worlds (BOBW) is a transition program from high school to employment in the Westerville community for college age students, who are cognitively impaired. The program provides the BOBW students with same-age Otterbein University buddies who encourage the students to use developmentally appropriate daily social skills and become more independent by offering living skills, as well as equipment and a facility in which to exercise. This research focused on the Empowerment theory and how the students’ attitudes change over the course of the semester. Empowerment theory focused on the process of increasing personal power in order to enable individuals, families and communities to improve their situation of feeling like they have a lack of power in their life (Hough, Paisley, 2008). Providing the BOBW students the opportunity of participation and involvement with same-age peers, the program hopes to give a sense of empowerment to BOBW students to make their own decisions and learn for themselves so they don’t feel a lack of power in their lives. Findings from the study determined that the empowerment of the students with disabilities was impacted while participating in Best of Both Worlds physical activity program. In general, the students of the BOBW program had a positive impact on empowerment throughout the semester.

Available for download on Tuesday, April 15, 2025