Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health






7081 (1-17)


Physical education (PE) is an important part of school education worldwide, and at the same time, almost the only subject that explicitly deals with body and movement. PE is therefore of elementary importance in the upbringing of young people. This also applies to children with visual impairments. However, existing findings on participation and belonging in PE as well as on physical and motor development reveal that this group of children and adolescents is noticeably disadvantaged in this respect. Against this background, this paper aims to explore fundamental barriers and challenges across different types of schools, types of schooling, and countries from the perspective of visually impaired children. The qualitative interview study with 22 children with visual impairments at different types of schools in three countries (Austria, Germany, USA) reveals that none of the respondents could escape the power of social distinctions and related problematic and existing hierarchies. Hence, ideas of normality and associated values remain the main challenge for all of them. However, the type-forming analysis provides important insight across settings on how visually impaired children differ on this, allowing for greater sensitivity to the concerns of children with visual impairments.


© 2023 by the authors.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

Data Availability

Article states: "Data is unavailable due to privacy or ethical restrictions."

Original Publication Citation

Ruin, S., Haegele, J. A., Giese, M., & Baumgärtner, J. (2023). Barriers and challenges for visually impaired students in PE - An interview study with students in Austria, Germany, and the USA. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(22), 1-17, Article 7081.


0000-0002-8580-4782 (Haegele)