Abstract

OBJECTIVE. We investigated the factors that facilitate or hinder school participation of students with physical disabilities and explored the interaction of those factors.

METHOD. The study used a mixed-methods design that used qualitative and quantitative data. Qualitative data were gathered on 49 participants: 14 students, 17 parents, and 18 teachers. Data analysis was based on grounded-theory procedures. Quantitative data were gathered on 32 students using the School Function Assessment.

RESULTS. The characteristics of each school setting influenced students’ participation. Some settings presented more challenges than others, particularly those with open spaces and limited structures such as the school playground and field trips. Possibilities of student participation decreased with increasing numbers of risk factors, but the interaction between factors was equally important.

CONCLUSION. To promote school participation of students with disabilities, occupational therapists should consider a confluence of child, environmental, and task factors rather than focusing on individual aspects.

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