Experiences of Swedish children with disabilities: activities and social support in daily life

Scand J Occup Ther. 2010;17(2):130-9. doi: 10.1080/11038120903114386.


Aim: The purpose of this study was to describe experiences of everyday activities and social support in daily life in children with disabilities.

Method: Interviews were conducted with 33 children (14 girls and 19 boys, aged 7-13 years) with physical, intellectual, or neuro-psychiatric disability. Interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

Results: In many ways, the children described themselves as being like any other child or adolescent. Their narratives showed that they had developed strategies to cope with the consequences of their disability, both socially and in the performance of daily activities. The children received social support in everyday activities, mainly from their family and close friends. Meeting other children with the same disability supported opportunities for identification. However, their experiences of everyday activities were in many cases associated with sadness, especially when they could not participate in activities with their peers.

Conclusions: According to the children's statements, it is important for people close to these children, both habilitation staff and others, to take responsibility for improving emotional, informative, and instrumental support in order to enable the children to perform and participate in everyday activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology*
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Disabled Children*
  • Female
  • Grief
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases
  • Social Support*
  • Sweden