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Viviene Temple, Phd

I am a professor in the School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.

Inclusive Physical Activity

We know that children need specific tools in order to be active (i.e., movement skills), as well as access to environments that support their participation in physical activity. My work focuses on optimizing participation in physical activity by children, particularly children with special needs. One approach that I take is to evaluate existing community programs with the intention of sharing information about, and encouraging the use of, effective approaches to fostering the development of movement skills and engagement in physical activity. This research has included the evaluation of community-based programs for children with special needs participating in indoor rock climbing, bicycle riding, dragon boating, and inclusive equestrian vaulting and therapeutic riding. I also develop and evaluate new programs. In recent years these programs have included the Healthy Opportunities for Preschoolers program; as well as programs for youth with intellectual disabilities such as the InclusionWorks! for a Healthy Lifestyle program and the Team Up for Fitness program.


I am the Program Lead of the BA (Recreation and Health Education) Program offered by the School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education.

My current teaching responsibilities include:

EPHE 200 – Introduction to Professional Pratice

Introduces workplace professional practice expectations and provides learners with the opportunity to develop professional skills, using computer applications to search for information, collecting, storing and analyzing data, creating professional communications and writing professional reports.

EPHE 350 – Children and Youth with Special Needs in Physical Activities

An introduction to the development, implementation, and assessment of inclusive physical activity programs for learners with disabilities.

EPHE 445 – Developmental and Adaptive Physical Activity

In this course we discuss the philosophical bases of inclusion and relevant theories, concepts, and models. We explore the process of inclusion, universal design, and how person-related factors interact with contextual factors to influence participation.


My research focuses on understanding the levels and determinants of obesity and physical activity participation among persons with intellectual disability. I am working with colleagues on secondary analyses of body mass index and waist circumference data from the Health Promotion database of Special Olympics International.

I recently began a national evaluation of the Active Start (2-6 years) and FUNdamentals (7-12 years) programs for Special Olympics Canada.

I am currently evaluating outcomes of inclusive equestrian vaulting and therapeutic riding.

Community engagement

My research focuses on optimizing participation in physical activity by children, particularly children with disabilities. One approach that I take is to evaluate existing community programs with the intention of sharing information about effective approaches with the community. This research has included the evaluation of community-based indoor rock climbing and dragon boating programs and currently, adapted equestrian vaulting. The adapted equestrian adapted vaulting program evaluation was initiated by the Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association.

Recent publications

Temple, V. A. & Field, S. C. (in press). Evaluation of the Special Olympics Canada Coaching Young Athletes Training: Part A. PALAESTRA, Scheduled for June 2023 (Volume 37, Issue 2).

Temple, V. A. & Field, S. C. (in press). Evaluation of the Special Olympics Canada Coaching Young Athletes Training: Part B How’s it going? A study of Active Start and FUNdamentals program implementation. PALAESTRA, Scheduled for September 2023 (Volume 37, Issue 3).

Bouthillier, S. A., Achtem, E., Meldrum, J., & Temple, V. A. (in press). Social connectedness through therapeutic riding: A case study. Horses in Education and Therapy International.

Lloyd, M., Temple, V. A., Foley, J. T., Yeatman, S., Lunsky, Y., Huang, A., & Balogh, R. (2022). Young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who participate in Special Olympics are less likely to be diagnosed with depression. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

Lefeaux, V., Stuart-Hill, L., Sangret, H., Vipond, D., Nordquist, A., Busch, R., & Temple, V. A. (2022). The concurrent and predictive validity of a tool to measure strength engagement during inclusive equestrian vaulting. European Journal of Adapted Physical Activity, 15(5).

Lloyd, M., Dobranowski, K., Cheng, S. Y., Temple, V. A., Foley, J. T., Lunsky, Y., Lin, E., & Balogh, R. (2022). Matching Special Olympics registration data with administrative health databases: Feasibility and health status differences in children and youth with IDD. Disability and Health Journal.

Temple, V. A. (2022). COVID-19 pandemic and individuals with intellectual disability: Special Olympics as an example of organizational responses and challenges. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 39(3), 285–302.

Temple, V. A., Rintala, P., Zeitz, S., Lloyd, M., & Foley, J. T. (2022). Age and sex-based differences in functional strength of adults participating in Special Olympics. European Journal of Adapted Physical Activity, 15(5), 1–15.

Emadirad, E., Temple, B.W.N., Field, S.C., Patti-Jean Naylor, P., & Temple, V. A. (2021). Motor skills and participation in middle childhood: A direct path for boys, a mediated path for girls. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 18(3), 318–324.

Santos, R., Lopes, L., Coelho-e-Silva, M. J., Draper, C., Mota, J., Jidovtseff. B., Clark, C. C.T., Schmidt, M., Morgan, P. J., Duncan, M. J., O’Brien, W., Bentsen, P., D’Hondt, E., Houwen, S., Stratton, G., De Martelaer K., Scheuer. C., Herrmann, C., García-Hermoso, A., Ramírez-Vélez, R., Palmeira, A. L., Gerlach, E., Rosário, R., Issartel, J., Esteban-Cornejo, I., Ruiz, J., Veldman, S. L. C., Zhang, Z., Colella, D., Póvoas, S., Haibach-Beach, P., Pereira, J. R., McGrane, B., Saraiva, J. P., Temple, V. A., Silva, P. M., Sigmund, E., Sousa-Sá, E., Adamakis, M., Moreira, C., Utesch, T., True, L., Cheung, P., Carcamo-Oyarzun, J., Charitou, S., Chillón, P., Robazza, C., Silva, D. R. P., Rodrigo A. L., Mourão-Carvalhal, I., Khodaverdi, Z., Almeida, M., Pereira, B., Prista, A., & Agostinis-Sobrinho, C. (2021). A narrative review of motor competence in children and adolescents: What we know and what we need to find out. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(1).

Stuart-Hill, L., Ryan, P., St.John, L., Rintala, P., & Temple, V. (2020). Heart rate responses during the modified six-minute walk test among Special Olympics athletes. Turkish Journal of Sports Medicine, 56(2), 56-60.

Field, S. C., Crane, J. R., Naylor, P., & Temple, V. A. (2020). A longitudinal examination of the accuracy of perceived physical competence in middle childhood. Journal of Motor Learning and Development, 8(3), 457–474.

Field, S. C., Esposito Bosma, C., & Temple, V. A. (2020). Comparability of the Test of Gross Motor Development – Second edition and the Test of Gross Motor Development – Third edition. Journal of Motor Learning and Development, 8(1), 107-125.

McConnell-Nzunga, J., Weatherson, K.A., Masse, L., Carson, V., Faulkner, G., Lau, E., McKay, H., Temple, V., Wolfenden, L., Naylor, P.J. (2020). Child care setting and its association with policies and practices that promote physical activity and physical literacy in the early years in British Columbia. Journal of Physical Activity & Health, 17(4), 429-434.

McConnell-Nzunga, J., Mâsse, L. C., Buckler, E. J., Carson, V., Faulkner, G. E., Lau, E. Y., Mckay, H. A., Temple, V. A., Wolfenden, L., Naylor, P. (2020). Prevalence and relationships among physical activity policy, environment and practices in licensed childcare centers from a manager and staff perspective. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(3), 1064-1078.

Active Start & FUNdamentals Programs

Special Olympics offers child and youth programs designed to help children with an intellectual disability develop basic motor and sports skills through fun and positive movement experiences. Special Olympics promotes opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, enhance skills and create friendships.

Active Start is a family-centered program targeting children with intellectual disabilities ages 2-6. Through the program, children learn basic motor skills such as walking, running, jumping, and throwing in a fun and safe environment.

Skills developed through the Active Start Program include: physical skill acquisition, physical fitness, social skill development, decision making, knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of physical activity.

FUNdamentals is a continuation of the Active Start Program for athletes ages 7-12 (NB, participation in Active Start prior to registering in FUNdamentals is NOT required). This program transitions from basic movement skills to basic sports skills while maintaining an atmosphere of fun and meaningful interaction. This program also promotes specific sports education, proper nutrition, and social inclusion through participation in positive sports experiences.

Skills developed through the FUNdamentals Program include: development of physical literacy skills, improved fundamental motor skills, participation in a structured physical activity, and increased understanding of game structure.

Active Start and FUNdamentals programs are offered once a week in the early evenings at the University of Victoria during the academic term.

Fundamental Motor Skills

Fundamental motor skills, such as the run, leap, catch and overhand throw, form the building blocks that underpin the learning of more complex movement skills that are essential to a physically active life. Supporting the development of fundamental motor skill competence in children is one way to promote active participation in physical activity throughout the life span.

Are you interested in evaluating your community-based physical activity program?