Play experiences of children with restricted mobility
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This study used a phenomenological approach to examine the characteristics of play and perceptions of play experiences of children with restricted mobility. Ten children between six and 12 years of age, with restricted mobility, participated in the study. Participants were interviewed at their homes and observed while playing in their natural play settings. Participants had feelings of being 'different', 'left out' and 'left behind' in play. They had fewer opportunities, compared to their typically developing peers, to engage in free play. This gave rise to boredom, loneliness, frustration and anger. Participants demonstrated poorly developed occupational competence, and ability to cope with anxiety, frustration and failure. Poor self-confidence and self-imposed and external constraints lead to restricted play resulting in inactivity, social isolation and feelings of being different, and further influencing play. Occupational therapy intervention can prevent or interrupt this vicious circle and facilitate healthy and adaptive responses in these children.