Parents’ Experiences and Perceptions when Classifying their Children with Cerebral Palsy: Recommendations for Service Providers
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AIMS: This study investigated the experiences and perceptions of parents of children with cerebral palsy (CP) when classifying their children using the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS), the Manual Ability Classification System (MACS), and the Communication Function Classification System (CFCS). The second aim was to collate parents' recommendations for service providers on how to interact and communicate with families. METHODS: A purposive sample of seven parents participating in the On Track study was recruited. Semi-structured interviews were conducted orally and were audiotaped, transcribed, and coded openly. A descriptive interpretive approach within a pragmatic perspective was used during analysis. RESULTS: Seven themes encompassing parents' experiences and perspectives reflect a process of increased understanding when classifying their children, with perceptions of utility evident throughout this process. Six recommendations for service providers emerged, including making the child a priority and being a dependable resource. CONCLUSIONS: Knowledge of parents' experiences when using the GMFCS, MACS, and CFCS can provide useful insight for service providers collaborating with parents to classify function in children with CP. Using the recommendations from these parents can facilitate family-provider collaboration for goal setting and intervention planning.
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