After-School Recreation and Families of Children with Down syndrome: A Qualitative Study
Keywords:Down syndrome, early childhood, family recreation, family systems theory
Recreational activities support the growth and development of young children with Down syndrome. However, research has indicated that families of children with disabilities, including Down syndrome, experience barriers in achieving optimal family recreation. The purpose of this study was to examine the type and nature of recreational activities in which families of young children with Down syndrome engage during the weekday afternoon hours (after school). The study was guided by family systems theory. Utilizing naturalistic inquiry methodology, we conducted interviews with three parents, and collected additional qualitative data from 13 families via a self-administered questionnaire. All participants had a child with Down syndrome between the ages of 18 months and 6 years who attended an early intervention preschool designed specifically for children with Down syndrome. Findings indicated that families’ characteristics impacted their recreation decisions, and that families sought a balance in accomplishing recreation and other commitments. Additionally, families experienced recreation in inclusive settings within their natural environment, and they held high expectations for their child and family recreational participation.
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