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Port Adelaide, Australia

Thirumanickam A.,Flinders University | Raghavendra P.,Flinders University | Raghavendra P.,University of South Australia | Olsson C.,Novita Childrens Services | Olsson C.,University of South Australia
AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication | Year: 2011

Social participation becomes particularly important in middle childhood, as it contributes towards the acquisition and development of critical life skills such as developing friendships and a sense of belonging. However, only limited literature is available on the impact of communication difficulties on social participation in middle childhood. This study compared the participation patterns of school-age children with and without physical disabilities and complex communication needs in extracurricular activities. Participants included five children between 69 years of age with moderate-severe physical disability and complex communication needs, and five matched peers. Findings showed that children with physical disability and complex communication needs engaged in activities with reduced variety, lower frequency, fewer partners and in limited venues, but reported higher levels of enjoyment and preference for activity participation, than their matched peers. These children also had fewer same-aged friends, but more paid workers in their social circle. This small-scale descriptive study provides some preliminary evidence about the impact of severe communication difficulties on participation and socialization. © 2011 International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Source

Garrett R.,Novita Childrens Services | Astbrink G.,GSA Information Consultants
Telecommunications Journal of Australia | Year: 2010

An international online database was launched in 2009 by the Mobile Manufacturers Forum on accessibility features on mobile phones for people with disabilities (AMTA 2009). This was a direct result of the development of an Australian Industry Code about information on accessibility features for telephone equipment. This paper outlines the need for phone accessibility information by consumers and describes the complex processes that led to this new service. It examines the code development process and its difficulties. It is an example of the need to consider changing the self-regulatory model to better benefit consumers with disabilities. Source

Parkyn H.,Novita Childrens Services | Coveney J.,Flinders University
Child: Care, Health and Development | Year: 2013

Background/Aim Engagement in peer-based social activities is a normal and important aspect of adolescence. Adolescent boys with muscular dystrophy typically lack opportunities for participation in peer-based recreation and socialization activities. 'MD Mafia' is a group which aims to reduce social isolation and offer social and recreational opportunities for adolescent boys with muscular dystrophy. This research is a qualitative exploration of the value of 'MD Mafia' and seeks to answer the question: 'what does the experience of participating in "MD Mafia", a group for adolescent boys with muscular dystrophy, mean to the boys and their parents'? Methods This research sought the views of the boys who participate in MD Mafia and their parents. The sample included seven boys and four mothers. Data collection methods included creative group activities, specifically chosen to match the participants' age, interests and skills, and online data collection. The theoretical perspective of symbolic interactionism guided the theoretical analysis of the data. Results Analysis of the data provided a description of the meaning and value of 'MD Mafia' from the participants' perspective. MD Mafia has a strong collective identity, which reflects ideals of masculinity and common interests. The group provides much valued opportunity for socialization in a safe and familiar environment, but parents also felt that MD Mafia could offer greater opportunities for skill development by increasing the challenge level of the activities and social environment. The theoretical analysis provides insight into the value of social interactions between participants in a group which has had positive implications for the boys as individuals and for MD Mafia as a group. Conclusions The research supports a group model of service delivery for boys with muscular dystrophy and has implications for the development of the group into the future. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Raghavendra P.,Novita Childrens Services | Raghavendra P.,Flinders University | Raghavendra P.,University of South Australia | Virgo R.,Novita Childrens Services | And 3 more authors.
Developmental Neurorehabilitation | Year: 2011

Objective: To describe and compare the context of participation of children with physical disabilities and complex communication needs (Group CCN) in out-of-school activities with children with physical disabilities only (Group PD) and typically-developing peers (Group TD). Method: A cross-sectional, matched, multi-group design was used. Thirty-nine participants between 10-15 years of age were administered the Children's Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment. Results: Kruskall-Wallis analyses revealed that there were significant differences among the three groups for overall location, enjoyment of the activities and with whom they did the social and self-improvement activities with. Mean trends showed that Group CCN participated in activities closer to home rather than in the community, were restricted in social participation and reported higher levels of enjoyment in activity participation than the other two groups. Conclusions: Group CCN appeared to experience differences in participation when compared to peers with and without disability. © 2011 Informa UK Ltd All rights reserved. Source

Sawyer M.G.,Children | Sawyer M.G.,University of Adelaide | Bittman M.,University of New South Wales | La Greca A.M.,University of Miami | And 7 more authors.
Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology | Year: 2011

Aim: To examine the relationship between maternal mental health problems and the time required by mothers to care for children with cerebral palsy (CP). Method: Cross-sectional study of 158 mothers of children with cerebral palsy (98 males, 60 females; mean age 11y 3mo, range 6-17y). Gross Motor Function Classification System levels of the children were 37% level I, 20% level II, 9% level III, 12% level IV, and 22% level V. Manual Ability Classification System levels were 19% level I, 27% level II, 22% level III, 13% level IV, and 19% level V. Maternal mental health problems were assessed using the General Health Questionnaire. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. A time-diary was used to measure caregiving time. Experience of time pressure was assessed using the Time Crunch Scale. Results: On average, mothers spent 6.0hours per 24hours on weekdays and 8.3hours per 24hours on weekends caring for children with CP. There was a significant positive relationship between maternal psychological problems and both caregiving time required per 24hours (p=0.03) and mothers' experience of time pressure (p<0.001). There was also a significant positive association between maternal depressive symptoms and experience of time pressure (p=0.003). Interpretation: It is important to support mothers to find ways of reducing the real and perceived impact of caregiving. This might include identifying sources of 'respite' support for caregivers, training in stress and time management, and appropriate treatment of mental health problems. © The Authors. Journal compilation © Mac Keith Press 2011. Source

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