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Child Care Health Dev. 2014 Nov;40(6):787-96. doi: 10.1111/cch.12097. Epub 2013 Aug 13.

Parents' experiences with physical and occupational therapy for their young child with cerebral palsy: a mixed studies review.

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Brain Center Rudolf Magnus and Center of Excellence for Rehabilitation Medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht and De Hoogstraat Rehabilitation, Utrecht, the Netherlands; Partner of NetChild, Network for Childhood Disability Research in the Netherlands, Utrecht, the Netherlands.


Understanding the experiences of parents with their child's intervention might help meet the needs of parents and, subsequently get them engaged in their child's intervention. As parents' early beliefs regarding their child's intervention has consequences for treatment participation, it is important to understand these parental perspectives. The aim of this mixed studies review was to give an overview of the experiences and related factors of parents of young children (0-5 years of age) with cerebral palsy in relation to the physical and/or occupational therapy of their child in a rehabilitation setting. The literature was searched systematically for qualitative and quantitative studies published between January 1990 and July 2011. Inclusion criteria were (1) the study population consisted of parents of children with cerebral palsy, with at least 25% of children under the age of five; (2) children had received physical and/or occupational therapy in a rehabilitation setting; and (3) the experiences of the parents with their child's therapy were addressed. Data were synthesized with the framework synthesis method resulting in a conceptual framework describing the factors that are related to the parents' experiences with their child's interventions. A total of 13 studies (eight qualitative and five quantitative) were included and evaluated. Parents expressed various aspects in context, process and outcomes when asked about their experiences with their child's intervention. They had different needs over time and needed time to build a collaborative relationship with their child's therapists. The proposed framework acknowledges the various aspects in context, process and outcomes that parents reported when asked about their experiences. Knowing this, the importance of the broader context of the child in a family should be acknowledged; realizing the impact that the demands of daily life, supports and resources provided to parents, attitudes in the community and culture have on parental experiences.


cerebral palsy; family-centred care; mixed studies review; occupational therapy; parents; physical therapy

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