A qualitative evaluation of an aerobic exercise program for young people with cerebral palsy in specialist schools Academic Article uri icon


  • To explore the perceived effects of an aerobic exercise program delivered in specialist schools for young people with cerebral palsy with high support needs.In-depth interviews were completed with 8 students with cerebral palsy, 10 parents, 8 teachers and 7 physiotherapists. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and independently coded by two researchers. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis.Two themes emerged: one about program impact and the second about influential design features. Exercise was perceived as important, and participants indicated that the program had resulted in positive physical (e.g., improved ease of mobility, fitness and stamina) and psychosocial (e.g., happiness, social experience, challenge) impacts. The school setting, program staff and student attitudes were key features of the program.These data converge with those from a randomized controlled trial and attribute physical and psychosocial benefits to a specialist school-based exercise program for young people with cerebral palsy.

publication date

  • 2017