Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Sonya Girdler

Second Advisor

Helen Leonard

Third Advisor

Jenny Bourke

Abstract

Background. A review of existing literature is necessary to determine the future directions required in research exploring friendships and leisure for school-aged children with Down syndrome. Purpose. This review examines research published in peer-reviewed journals describing participation in friendships and leisure for school-aged children with Down syndrome. The review is guided by the theoretical framework of the World Health Organisation's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF ). Methods. Electronic searches of PubMed, PsychInfo, CINAHL, SportsDiscus and ERIC were conducted using the key terms Down syndrome, leisure and friendships. Keywords identified while using the ICF framework to explore factors impacting on friendship and leisure for school-aged children with Down syndrome were also searched. Relevant studies were critically analysed and discussed. Results. Electronic searches yielded 25 potential studies fulfilling components of the search criteria. Only 8 of these related to friendships and leisure in pa1iicular for this population. Other studies were identified using the keywords identified as impairment and contextual factors for school-aged children with Down syndrome under the ICF theoretical framework. A systematic review was not possible due to the paucity of research describing participation in friendships and leisure for this population. School-aged children with Down syndrome can have as few as no friends and friendships may not be confirmed by all parties eg, the child with Down syndrome, their parents and their designated friend. The most frequently participated in leisure pursuits are television watching, listening to music, playing independently with toys, games, reading and writing, shopping or running errands, going to the movies, or spending times with family members. Parents are instrumental in directing both friendships and leisure experiences for children with Down syndrome. Practice Implications. The majority of relevant studies identified in this review are descriptive, cross-sectional and observational in nature and do not address the ongoing need for the provision and evaluation of social interventions for school-aged children with Down syndrome to ensure a greater quality of life. Additionally, current research on factors of body structure or function, environment, and person affecting participation for school-aged children with Down syndrome does not encompass outcome measures or relate to changes in functional performance or participation. Further research is required to investigate the effect of factors described within the ICF theoretical framework on friendships and leisure for school-aged children with Down syndrome. This research would support the development and delivery of quality and evidence-based leisure programs for school-aged children with Down syndrome.

Background/Aim. The aim of this study was to describe leisure participation for school-aged children with Down syndrome in 2004, and to investigate how impairment and contextual factors classified by the World Health Organisation's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) influence their leisure participation. Methods. Data was collected from the 2004 Down Syndrome Needs, Opinions, & Wishes (NOW) questionnaire. Results. One third of families report one or no friends for their school-aged child with Down syndrome. Cases participated in predominantly solitary and sedentary leisure types. Conclusion. Leisure participation is affected by complex factors both within and external to the child with Down syndrome. Further investigation of the relevance of these factors to leisure may provide more satisfying and meaningful participation in leisure for school-aged children with Down syndrome.

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