Determinants of ‘Participation’ for Preschool Children with Physical Disabilities---A Longitudinal Study

Project: National Science and Technology CouncilNational Science and Technology Council Academic Grants

Project Details


Participation is fundamental for the development of cognitive, motor, and social skills for preschool children (2-6 years of age). Participation is defined as “involvement in life situations” by the World Health Organization, International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) and its Children & Youth version (ICF-CY). Successful participation in family and community life is an ultimate outcome of early intervention. Research showed that children with physical disabilities participated less in physical activities, prefer quiet recreations, and involved in less social interaction than their peers with typical development. Participation restrictions of children with physical disabilities may be related to child, family, and environmental factors. Identification of the child, family, and environmental determinants of participation is important for planning effective intervention strategies. Preschool year is a sensitive period of development and critical time of early intervention. There is no longitudinal follow-up study that investigate the change in participation (i.e. increase or decrease with age) of preschool children with physical disabilities, and no study compare the differences in participation change between children with and without physical disabilities. In addition, little is known about the determinants of change in participation. There is an urgent need for a study investigating the child, family, and environmental characteristics that together affect participation of preschool children with physical disabilities. The aims of this study are to characterize change in participation over a 2-year period and identify differences in change in participation between children with and without physical disabilities, and to identify child, family, and environmental determinants of change in participation. We propose a three-year research project. In the first year we will recruit a total of 290 children 2-4 years with (n=145) and without (n=145) physical disabilities. In the second to third year, we will follow-up the child/parents one year and two years after the first interview. Parents are interviewed with measures including child’s participation, child’s body functions, family functioning, and environmental characteristics. All measures that will be used for interview have been translated and validated. This study is innovative as we will use a longitudinal design to determine change in participation and associated determinants. This study will reveal the changing trajectory of participation of children with and without disabilities, and identify relevant determinants that facilitate or hinder the change in participation. Determinants identified in this study will guide the development and implementation of effective participation-based interventions, provide family supports, and optimize environmental resources. We believe that the results will contribute to the early development and intervention effects for preschool children with physical disabilities.

Project IDs

Project ID:PC10501-2040
External Project ID:MOST104-2314-B182-022-MY3
Effective start/end date01/08/1631/07/17


  • participation
  • determinants
  • physical disabilities
  • preschool
  • longitudinal study


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