Playing Together Growing Together: Parents' Perspectives on the Benefits of Family Recreation in Families That Include Children with a Developmental Disability


  • Jennifer B. Mactavish
  • Stuart J. Schleien


Families, Children with Developmental Disabilities, Recreation, Benefits


This exploratory investigation, grounded in the naturalistic paradigm, employed survey (n = 65) and interview (n = 16) methods to examine the benefits of family recreation in families that include children with a developmental disability. Descriptive statistical analyses were conducted on the quantitative data, while a key theme and constant comparative method were used to analyze the qualitative data. Results of these analyses revealed that family recreation was perceived by parents as a positive means for promoting the overall quality of family life (i.e., unity, satisfaction, health) and for helping its members develop life-long skills (recreation, physical, social) and values. These benefits were considered to be of particular importance for the children with developmental disabilities and families viewed themselves as playing a critical role in ensuring their attainment. As such, family recreation was not only viewed as a beneficial catalyst for skill, interest and self development, but was potentially the most accepting and enduring social and recreation outlet for children with a developmental disability.





Research Papers