OBJECTIVE. To understand parents’ perspectives about the strategies they use to promote social participation of their school-age children with acquired brain injuries (ABI) in home, school, and community life.
METHOD. A descriptive research design employing a semistructured interview format was used. Interviews were conducted in the homes of 16 families of school-age children with ABI discharged up to 7 years earlier from one inpatient rehabilitation program. Data were examined using content and constant-comparison analyses.
RESULTS. Parents needed time to allow the recovery process to unfold for themselves and their children and developed strategies that fit into or assisted with managing family routines. Over time parents developed insight into the activity demands and their child’s potential success to participate in desired activities. Based on these insights, parents used “anticipatory planning,” which involved previewing upcoming events and activities and using strategies to promote positive and prevent negative experiences for their children. Specific strategies that parents used to promote social participation were classified into three categories: Creating opportunities, teaching skills, and regulating cognitive and behavioral function.
CONCLUSIONS. Understanding how families use and integrate strategies within the context of their daily lives and what factors influence strategy use may provide practitioners with insights needed to support families in promoting their children’s social participation.