What do parents need to enhance participation of their school-aged child with a physical disability? A cross-sectional study in the Netherlands

B. Piskur*, A.J.H.M. Beurskens, M.J. Jongmans, M. Ketelaar, R.J.E.M. Smeets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: The aim was to provide an overview of the number, domains and priority of needs as expressed by parents in supporting participation of their school-aged child with a physical disability. Additionally, this study investigated whether the number of needs within each domain is related to the child's gross motor function level, parent's perceived own general health, family socio-economic status and family type. METHOD: A cross-sectional study with a total of 146 participants (84.9% mothers) who completed a survey including the Family Needs Inventory - Paediatric Rehabilitation, the Gross Motor Function Classification System Family Report Questionnaire, the General Health Questionnaire and a demographic questionnaire. A need has been operationalized as 'a family's, parent's or other family member's expressed desire for information, services and supports related to their family'. Descriptive statistics and correlation analysis were applied. RESULTS: Parents (n = 146; response rate 27%) varied in the number of expressed needs (range 0-124; mean = 35.9; median = 30; SD = 25.6). Highest mean percentage scores were found for the domains 'Laws, regulations and fees' (36%), 'Leisure time' (35.6%) and 'Aids, adaptations, facilities and resources' (33.8%). Seven single needs were expressed by 50% or more of the parents. All domains of needs showed a positive correlation with perceived parental general health. The domains 'Laws, regulations and fees', 'Day care & school', 'Emotional and mental support' and 'Raising my child' correlated negatively with family socio-economic status; and child's gross motor function level correlated positively with the domains 'Aids, adaptations, facilities and resources', 'Practical support at home' and 'Leisure time'. CONCLUSIONS: As parents have a major influence on participation of children with a physical disability, meeting their individual needs should become an objective for service providers and policy makers. Family-centred service might be more effective by putting a greater emphasis on changing the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-92
Number of pages9
JournalChild Care Health and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • children
  • cross-sectional study
  • environment
  • family-centred service
  • family needs
  • physical disability


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