Improving body functions through participation in community activities among young people with physical disabilities
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AIM: To examine the impact of engagement in a self-chosen community-based activity on three relevant body functions (motor, cognitive, and affective) as well as on the performance of the selected activity. METHOD: An individual-based interrupted time series design with multiple baselines was used. Seven young people (four males, three females) aged 15 to 25 years (median 18y; interquartile range 17-20y) with physical disabilities participated in an 8-week community activity of choice (e.g. swimming, playing piano). Change in three relevant body functions, underpinning the specific chosen activity, including motor (e.g. Functional Reach Test, Trunk Impairment Scale, dynamometers), cognitive and affective (Behavior Assessment System for Children), as well as activity performance (Canadian Occupational Performance Measure) were measured repeatedly, providing individual outcome trajectories. Linear and mixed-effects models were used. RESULTS: Significant improvements in at least one aspect of motor function (6 out of 6), cognition (3 out of 3), affect (5 out of 7), and performance (7 out of 7) were observed. Specifically, the intervention had a moderate to large effect on hyperactivity (1.45, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0-1.9) with a smaller effect on anxiety (0.21, 95% CI 0.10-0.32) and inadequacy (0.21, 95% CI 0.02-0.39). Concurrently, a notable effect size for activity performance (4.61, 95% CI 0.76-8.46) was observed. Average change across motor outcomes was substantial (3.7 SDs from baseline), yet non-significant. INTERPERTATION: Findings provide initial evidence of the benefits resulting from participation-based interventions, emphasizing the merit of meaningful 'real-life' young people-engaging therapy. WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS: Participation-based interventions can impact body-function level outcomes. Significant improvements in the performance of chosen activities were observed. Significant improvements were also seen in cognitive and affective body functions. Improvements in motor-related outcomes were substantial but not statistically significant.
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