Children with neurodevelopmental disorders and disabilities (NDD/D) may experience barriers or restrictions to participation in activities. We examined the extent to which this is a problem for children in particular NDD/D subgroups.


We analysed the 2006 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey children data set (5–14y) collected by Statistics Canada (n = 7072 and weighted n = 340 340), having identified the following NDD/D subgroups (weighted n = 77 470; 69.1% males and 30.9% females): gross or gross and fine motor (Motor+), communication/cognition/learning (CCL), social interaction, neurosensory (vision or vision and hearing), and psychological. We used logistic regression to assess differences in participation in supervised and unsupervised physical activities, educational activities, and social/recreational activities.


Participation in some school-based activities differed significantly among children in the NDD/D subgroups (p<0.01). Participation in supervised and unsupervised physical activity was lowest for the Motor+ and social interaction subgroups, and highest for the neurosensory and CCL subgroups. Participation for the psychological subgroup was mostly in the intermediate range. In contrast, participation in educational activities was lowest for the social interaction and psychological subgroups, and higher for the other groups.


Given the importance of participation to child health and well-being, these differences in participation in various in-school activities highlight an area of need regarding policies/programmes to support subgroups of children with NDD/D.