The impact of participation on body functions among youth with physical disabilities: A pragmatic individual-based study

Funding Details
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Grant type: Project Grant - Priority Announcement: Musculoskeletal, Skin and Oral Health: Clinical Research - Musculoskeletal Health
  • Years: 2019/20 to 2020/21
  • Total Funding: $108,589
Principle Investigator(s)

No partner organizations found.

Project Summary

Youth with physical disabilities experience greater limitations to participation in community-based activities than do their average-developing peers, which can result in poor health outcomes. Emerging treatment approaches aimed at improving activity and participation have shifted from focusing only on impaired body functions towards the performance of functionally meaningful activities within the youth's natural environment. It is unclear; however, whether targeting intervention at the activity/participation level can simultaneously result in improvement of personal functional skills (e.g., reaching) and body functions (e.g., range of motion, balance) - components known to worsen with age and, thus, important to address and maintain within the rehabilitation process. Our team has partnered with key community-based stakeholders including youth, clinicians and policy-makers, and together we plan to examine whether engaging in an 8-week self-chosen community-based activity (e.g., sledge hockey, boccia) can lead to a significant improvement in three key body functions: motor, cognitive and affective. Thirty youth with physical disabilities will take part in the study and engage in an activity program of their choice. Changes in their body functions (e.g., movement, attention, mood) will be measured multiple times before, during and after engagement in the chosen activity/program. Findings of this study can guide clinicians, families and policy-makers to select effective approaches that not only promote participation but also facilitate additional motor and mental benefits from one single intervention. Such treatment approaches may also reduce the burden on the healthcare system as well as on the youth and families. Moreover, findings can advance our understanding of methods for testing complex and unique 'real-life' individual-based interventions that are highly relevant to practice.

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