Objective: To get a deeper understanding into how adults with cerebral palsy experience living with a disability and how they manage daily life.
Design: Interviews with open-ended questions were carried out. They were analysed by one person according to the Empirical Phenomenological Psychological method (EPP).Setting and subjects : Twenty-two community-living adults (35—68 years) with cerebral palsy from five counties in Sweden participated. All had mobility problems and all had cognitive abilities making it possible to carry on a conversation.
Results: The varied experiences resulted in themes including (1) perceptions of living with a disability and (2) strategies used for managing the described perceptions. The perceptions were: a dys-appearing body, a not-appearing body, difference, being in-between, normality, restricted autonomy and autonomy. The strategies were: to fight one's way, to plan, to get used to it, to hide and to give one's all.
Conclusion: These interviews expressed heterogeneity in lived experiences showing the importance for professionals to meet people with cerebral palsy as individual subjects in relation to functional problems, self-image and autonomy together with seeing the consequences of different coping strategies.
Sage Journals online , 2007. Vol. 21, no 5, 432-441 p.