Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
City of Edinburgh Council
National Health Service Lothian
To investigate associations between participation-related constructs and participation frequency and involvement in inclusive schools.
In this cross-sectional study, teachers of children with additional support needs, including intellectual disability, autism, and learning difficulties, completed measures. Participation-related constructs were measured using the School Participation Questionnaire; participation frequency and involvement were measured using the Participation and Environment Measure for Children and Youth. A series of multilevel linear mixed-effects regression models with maximum likelihood estimates and bootstrap confidence intervals with p-values were obtained. Final models included participation-related constructs and participation, controlling for demographic and diagnostic confounders (including age, sex, language, level of school support, and autism).
Six hundred and eighty-eight children (448 [65.1 %] males; mean age 8 years 7 months [range 4 years 10 months – 12 years 13 months, standard deviation 2 years 1 months]) were assessed by 252 teachers. Across a series of models, participation-related constructs were consistently associated with more intensive participation (competence, environment, identity p < 0.001; symptoms p = 0.007), independent of confounders. More frequent participation remained associated with three of four participation-related constructs (competence, identity p < 0.001; environment p = 0.021). Age (p = 0.046), language (p = 0.002), and level of school support (p = 0.039) also remained significantly associated with frequency of participation.
Children with additional support needs in inclusive schools may have several participation barriers. Policies and interventions to improve participation are needed.
What this paper adds:
Across a series of models, participation-related constructs were associated with frequency and intensity of participation. Only participation-related constructs were associated with participation intensity. Demographic and diagnostic variables were associated with frequency, not intensity, of participation. Teacher assessment is valid for assessment of participation and participation-related constructs.
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