Various stakeholders contribute to the development of healthy physical activity habits in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Parents and stakeholders seek collaborative actions but little is still known about such efforts. The purpose of this study was thus to explore how professionals from different services experience stakeholder collaboration when promoting participation in physical activity for these adolescents.
Five focus group discussions were held with 17 professionals from education, health care, community, and sports organizations, engaged in the promotion of physical activity in adolescents with ASD. The data were analyzed with qualitative content analysis.
The discussions revolved around a central theme: . The professionals though experienced that this collaboration was hampered by the low priority given to physical activity issues within different organizations, by limited resources, lack of knowledge, and unclear roles.
Notwithstanding the professionals’ different roles, all agreed that physical activity issues need to be prioritized and that each stakeholder needs to acknowledge the shared responsibility of collaboration. However, more clear routines for collaboration that include joined efforts but also highlight the organization-specific responsibilities might enhance the collaborative efforts.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONIn-depth understanding of both the adolescents’ needs and the environments in which physical activity is promoted is required if participation in physical activity among adolescents with ASD is to be enhanced.Families and professionals within different organizations need to be supported to collaborate when mapping and meeting the adolescents’ physical activity needs.Issues regarding developing physical activity habits need to be prioritized.Professionals, such as education, health, and community professionals who are important for the promotion of healthy physical activity habits need to be included in multi-stakeholder meetings.