The Negotiation of Motor In/Capabilities by Two Children with Cerebral Palsy as Experienced by their Carers

Abstract

The study reported in this paper utilised a qualitative approach to investigate the everyday lives of two children with cerebral palsy, as experienced by their carers. Analysis of the data collected through in-depth interviews with the girls’ teachers, mothers and therapists was informed by the reflective lifeworld research approach of Dahlberg et al.. The broader theme identified, negotiating motor in/capabilities, comprised the constituent sub-themes identity and difference, and living motor in/capabilities in a disabling/enabling environment. The phenomenological approach employed revealed that, as experienced by their carers, the two girls, both of whom have quite profound forms of motor impairment, flourish by utilising their bodily and psychosocial resources towards experiencing enhanced autonomy and a sense of mastery. Overall, their respective carers served as resources for each of the girls, providing them with enabling social and physical environments that promote their optimal functioning. Theory-driven intervention efforts to promote social participation and well-being in children with cerebral palsy who have severe motor impairments would benefit from taking into account the nuances and complexities inherent in the everyday experiences of these children.

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