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Participation of Children with and without Disabilities in Social, Recreational and Leisure Activities

Background  One method of promoting children’s friendship development is through activity participation with peers. However, children with disabilities seem to engage in fewer of these activities, and when they do participate often do so primarily with adults.

Materials and Methods  This study compared activity participation and friendship in typically developing (TD) children (= 90), children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD; = 65), and children with an intellectual disability (= 30) between the ages of 5 and 17 years. Parents completed a questionnaire about their child’s participation in social, recreational and leisure activities.

Results  The TD children participated in significantly more social and recreational activities and had more friends than the children with disabilities. Notable differences emerged among groups in the percentage of activities the children participated in with peers, parents and/or other adults. Some significant differences were noted between the ASD and intellectual disability groups.

Conclusions  Research concerning activity participation should continue to take into account not only whether children are engaging in activities, but explore more precisely ‘with whom’ these activities are occurring.

 

Participation of Children with and without Disabilities in Social, Recreational and Leisure Activities

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