Parents' actions, challenges, and needs while enabling participation of children with a physical disability: a scoping review

Barbara Piskur*, Anna J. H. M. Beurskens, Marian J. Jongmans, Marjolijn Ketelaar, Meghan Norton, Christina A. Frings, Helena Hemmingsson, Rob J. E. M. Smeets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Pediatric rehabilitation considers Family-centered service (FCS) as a way to increase participation of children with a physical disability in daily life. An important principal is that parents greatly contribute to their child's participation at school, at home, and in the community. However, it is unclear what kind of information is available from literature about what parents actually do to support their child's participation and what problems and needs they experience? Hence, the aim of this study was to provide an overview of the actions, challenges, and needs of parents in enabling participation of their child with a physical disability that is neurological and non-progressive in nature. Methods: Scoping review with extensive literature search (September 2011) and a thematic analysis to synthesize findings. Results: Fourteen relevant articles revealed two major themes: 'parents enable and support performance of meaningful activities' and 'parents enable, change and use the environment'. Each theme holds a number of actions (e. g. choosing the right type of meaningful activities for facilitating social contacts) and challenges (e. g. negative attitudes of other people). Less information is available about the needs of parents. Conclusions: This study indicates that parents apply a broad range of strategies to support participation of their children. They experience many challenges, especially as a result of constraints in the social and physical environments. However, this review also shows that little is known about needs of parents in facilitating participation. As Family-centered service (FCS) philosophy is all about the needs of the child and the family, it is essential to further investigate the needs of the parents and to understand if and to what extent they wish to be supported in enabling their child's participation in daily life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177
JournalBmc Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2012


  • Participation
  • Social participation
  • Physical disability
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Scoping review

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