School placement and participation of Chilean young people with cerebral palsy

People with Cerebral Palsy (CP) face barriers to participate in social and educational environments. This study focuses on the contribution of school placement, controlling by motor functionality and receptive vocabulary, over several domains of participation. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 123 preadolescents and adolescents with CP, from both special and regular school systems of Chile. A quantitative approach was employed using standardised instruments (i.e. Life habits questionnaire, Gross Motor Function Classification System - Expanded and Revised, and Picture Vocabulary Test - Revised). Results suggest that preadolescents' participation is significantly predicted by motor functionality and receptive language in all domains of participation, but for interpersonal relationship and community. For adolescents, school placement explained a significant amount of the variance for mobility, responsibility, and community participation, besides the variability explained by motor functionality and receptive language. Attending special schools exerts a negative influence on some participation domains, including mobility, responsibility, community life and recreation. Our findings support the importance of considering inclusive educational programmes as a critical aspect to improve wellbeing of people with CP, while also furthering their rights of participation.

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