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Phys Occup Ther Pediatr. 2011 Aug;31(3):275-87. doi: 10.3109/01942638.2011.565866. Epub 2011 Apr 13.

Exploring issues of participation among adolescents with cerebral palsy: what's important to them?

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CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, Institute for Applied Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to determine what participation issues are important to adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP). Two hundred and three adolescents with CP (mean age 16.0 ± 1.8 years) were assessed using the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM). This was done through semistructured interviews by trained physical and occupational therapists. Adolescents responded either directly (n = 144) or through a parent or a caregiver (n = 59) if they were unable to communicate. Issues were extracted from completed questionnaires and coded under three COPM categories (self-care, productivity, and leisure) and 16 subcategories. There was no association between the total number of issues identified and gender (p = .99), age (p = .88), type of respondent (adolescents versus parent) (p = .27), Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) level (p = .93), or 66-item Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM-66) score (p = .45). The issues identified most frequently were related to active leisure (identified by 57% of participants), mobility (55%), school (48%), and socialization (44%). Interventions aimed at improving participation among adolescents with physical disabilities, such as CP, should be directed towards these four key areas. Health care professionals should also recognize and consider the interaction of person and environment when addressing issues related to participation.

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