Exploring family activities and child engagement: A study on children with a significant cognitive and motor developmental delay

J Appl Res Intellect Disabil. 2019 Jul;32(4):779-791. doi: 10.1111/jar.12568. Epub 2019 Jan 28.


Background: Everyday activities are an important setting for stimulating child functioning, but are understudied in young children with a significant cognitive and motor developmental delay. Therefore, we aim to characterize their family activities in terms of diversity, frequency, child engagement and family member's presence, compared to typically developing children.

Methods: By asking a parent to fill out an adapted version of the Child Participation in Family Activities questionnaire, the activity pattern of 49 children within the study group and 45 children within the control group were assessed and compared.

Results: Children in the study group generally experience less diverse activities (with an additional lower frequency of out-of-home activities) and show lower engagement levels compared to typically developing children.

Conclusions: Incorporating high levels of personal interaction, highly stimulating activities and adapted leisure activities into the daily activity pattern of children with multiple disabilities might be a pathway to increased engagement levels.

Keywords: child engagement; family activities; profound and multiple disabilities; severe and multiple disabilities.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities*
  • Disabled Children*
  • Family*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intellectual Disability*
  • Leisure Activities*