Factors associated with the participation of children with complex communication needs.
Clarke MT., Newton C., Griffiths T., Price K., Lysley A., Petrides KV.
The aim of this study was to conduct a preliminary analysis of relations between child and environmental variables, including factors related to communication aid provision, and participation in informal everyday activities in a sample of children with complex communication needs. Ninety-seven caregivers of children provided with communication aids responded to a questionnaire survey. Child variables assessed were level of ability, trait emotional self-efficacy, and competence in communication aid use. Environmental variables assessed were the impact of childhood disability on the family, family socio-economic category, perceived reliability of electronic communication aids provided to children, and ease of use of the aid. The outcome measure was the intensity of child participation in informal activities. Significant correlations were observed between participation scores and the following variables: child age, level of ability, trait emotional self-efficacy, and family impact of childhood disability. Regression analyses highlighted trait emotional self-efficacy and, to a lesser degree, family impact of childhood disability as the strongest potential predictors of participation. While aspects of child personality may be difficult to disentangle from behaviours related to disability type or developmental age, this research highlights a clinical requirement to assess systematically child behaviours relating to their general emotional functioning.