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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2010 Feb;52(2):167-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2009.03393.x. Epub 2009 Dec 1.

Leisure activity preferences for 6- to 12-year-old children with cerebral palsy.

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School of Physical & Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



The objective was to describe leisure activity preferences of children with cerebral palsy (CP) and their relationship to participation. Factors associated with greater interest in leisure activities were identified.


Fifty-five school-aged children (36 males, 19 females; mean age 9 y 11 mo; range 6 y 1 mo-12 y 11 mo) with CP (Gross Motor Function Classification System [GMFCS]) level I 62%, level II 22%, level III-IV 16%; 33.3% hemiplegia, 29.6% diplegia, 25.9% quadriplegia, 11.2% other) who could complete the Preferences for Activities of Children (PAC) were recruited.


Social and recreational activities were most preferred, and self-improvement activities were least preferred. Younger age, higher motivation, and IQ predicted interest in active-physical activities (r(2)=0.39). Negative reaction to failure was associated with less preference for social activities (r(2)=0.16), whereas increased prosocial behaviours were related to greater preference for recreational (r(2)=0.13) and self-improvement activities; the latter is also predicted by older age (r(2)=0.24). Interest in skill-based activities was greater in females and in children who were highly motivated, younger, and had greater motor limitations (r(2)=0.51). The findings suggest that personal factors and functional abilities influence leisure activity preferences. High preference for certain activities was not always associated with involvement in these activities.


Determination of preferences is inherent to child-centred practice and should, therefore, be part of the evaluation process. Rehabilitation strategies can minimize barriers to leisure participation, such as fear of failure, low motivation, or environmental obstacles.

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