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Phys Occup Ther Pediatr. 2012 May;32(2):167-79. doi: 10.3109/01942638.2011.631100. Epub 2011 Nov 30.

Social participation of adolescents with cerebral palsy: trade-offs and choices.

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School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


This article reports on the findings of a qualitative study about the experiences and perceptions of adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP) in relation to social participation. A phenomenological approach was used to interview 10 adolescents with CP, 17 to 20 years of age, selected using purposeful sampling. An iterative process of data collection and analysis resulted in four themes about social participation. The themes of experience, barriers, and supports, and tradeoffs supported the current view of participation as a dynamic interaction between person and environment. The fourth theme of making choices described the unique challenges facing adolescents with CP in terms of deciding what was most important and meaningful to them now and in their future. Health care professionals can support adolescents as they develop the capacity to make their own decisions during the transition to adult living by ensuring that assessments and interventions address social participation.

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