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Activities in children with cerebral palsy

A study found that children with cerebral palsy were able to participate in a variety of activities, despite barriers presented.

Children with cerebral palsy (CP) can participate in a range of activities, according to a study published in Disabil Rehabil.

Investigators conducted a study to determine how children with cerebral palsy participate in activities and how their participation is influenced by communicative abilities along with personal and environmental factors. 

Individual interviews were conducted among 13 parents of children aged 4 to 9 years with CP, with themes mapped to domains of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health - Children and Youth Version (ICF-CY).

Activity, participation, and environmental factors made up domains of learning and applying knowledge, communication, mobility, and interpersonal interactions and relationships. Facilitators included being among children, receiving support from family and school, a positive attitude from the child, and a familiar routine.

Barriers included parents’ personal interactions with their children, unknown people and settings, negative feelings toward others, and children’s frustration. These barriers did not prevent children from participating in activities.

Communication and its influence on children wereseen as important by parents, who noted how it affected their children’s relationships, independence, and behavior. Environmental factors which could be changed through intervention were highlighted by barriers and facilitators. Changes to these factors could improve communication and participation.

Early learning tasks, mobility, interactions, and communication were the main activities children participated in. Investigators suggested that intervention aiming to improve activities and participation focus on the impairment, environmental, child, and social factors that impact activities. These include children’s personal characteristics, communication and physical impairments, familiarity of the environment, and the support and attitude of others.

Therapists should also recognize and manage how communication deficits could lead to impacts in children’s behavior, social skills, and independence. These impacts could have a negative influence on children’s activities and participation.

Reference:

Mei C, Reilly S, Reddihough D, Mensah F, Green J, Pennington L,et al. Activities and participation of children with cerebral palsy: parent perspectives. Disabil Rehabil. 2015;37(23):2164-73. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2014.999164