University Of Tasmania

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Participation in community leisure programs: experiences and perspectives of children with developmental difficulties and their parents

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 15:48 authored by Fernandez, Y, Ziviani, J, Monica CuskellyMonica Cuskelly, Colquhoun, R, Jones, F
Children with developmental disabilities participate in more solitary, sedentary, and home-based leisure activities than active physical pursuits or community-based activities. Clinical experience suggests that children with less well-recognized developmental difficulties also have compromised leisure experiences; however, this has not been fully investigated. This study engaged 20 school-age children with developmental difficulties in a community-based circus program, designed in collaboration with occupational therapists. The program included activities such as trampolining, trapeze, and acrobatics. Semi-structured interviews with children and parents explored children's leisure experiences both at circus and more broadly. Qualitative content analysis revealed that friendships, having fun, and being physically active were highly valued aspects of leisure. The coaching style and “just right” level of challenge within programs were identified as central to children's engagement and sense of competence. Participating in a supported leisure program such as circus appeared to promote children's engagement in community leisure, at least in the short term.


Publication title

Leisure Sciences: An Interdisciplinary Journal








Faculty of Education


Taylor & Francis Inc

Place of publication

325 Chestnut St, Suite 800, Philadelphia, USA, Pa, 19106

Rights statement

Copyright © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Disability and functional capacity