Coaching parents to enable children's participation: an approach for working with parents and their children

Aust Occup Ther J. 2009 Feb;56(1):16-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1630.2008.00736.x.


In this paper, Occupational Performance Coaching (OPC) is presented as a means whereby occupational therapists can support parents in achieving goals for themselves and their children. OPC is a coaching intervention that assists parents to recognise and implement social and physical environment changes that support more successful occupational performance for themselves and their children. OPC utilises collaborative problem-solving within a coaching relationship in which parents are guided towards identifying and implementing effective, autonomous solutions to occupational performance dilemmas. OPC is described in relation to the principles of contemporary practice; in particular that intervention is both family- and occupation-centred, and leads, as directly as possible, to the enablement of children's participation at home and in the community. Tentative empirical support for coaching parents draws on the supporting evidence for similar interventions in cognate disciplines. The unique features of OPC, namely, overt collaborative analysis of performance with parents and parent-initiated solution finding, are highlighted and their potential contributions to interventions currently employed by therapists are outlined. Recommendations are advanced as to how further research can support the adoption of this intervention strategy.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Disabled Children / rehabilitation*
  • Family*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*
  • Parents*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Professional-Patient Relations