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Background: Knowledge of whether children with cerebral palsy (CP) are doing preferred leisure activities has important implications for families and rehabilitation professionals. We examined (a) participation-preference congruence; (b) regional differences in participation-preference congruence; and (c) predictors of whether children were participating in preferred activities.

Methods: The sample (n=236) included 148 boys and 88 girls, 10 to 13 years, living in Victoria (n=110), Ontario (n=80) or Quebec (n=46); GMFCS Level 1: 99(41.9%); Level II/III: 89(37.7%); Level IV/V: 48(20.3%). Participants completed the Children’s Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment and Preferences for Activity of Children. Regional comparisons were performed using one way ANOVAs and exploration of factors influencing participation-preference congruence using multiple linear regression.

Results: Proportion of children Doing Non-Preferred activities in each Activity Type was generally low (2-17%); with only one regional difference. Higher proportions were Not Doing Preferred Active Physical (range: 23.2%-29.1% across regions), Skill-based (range: 21.7%-27.9% across regions) and Social activities (range: 12.8%-14.5% across regions). GMFCS level was the most important predictor associated with Not Doing Preferred activities.

Interpretation: Children with CP did not always participate in preferred Active Physical and Skill-based activities. Understanding discrepancies between preferences and actual involvement may allow families and rehabilitation professionals to address participation barriers.

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access