Environmental Assets That Enable Play for School-Aged Children with Physical Disabilities: A Literature Review
(2016) Environmental Assets That Enable Play for School-Aged Children with Physical Disabilities: A Literature Review, no. 55.
Play in its many forms has a central role in paediatric occupational therapy practice. It is considered to be the primary occupation of childhood, through which children develop and attain health and wellbeing. Internal/personal factors and external/environmental factors affect the occupation of play, symbolised in the Person-Environment-Occupation Model. Although personal factors may pose limitations to engaging in play, particularly for children with physical disabilities, environmental barriers often have a greater negative impact. While much literature identifies such barriers, it is equally important that strengths, or assets, that mitigate these barriers are identified and boosted. The aim of this literature review is to focus on the environmental assets that enable play for school-aged children with physical disabilities, by collating and synthesising strengths-related findings from a comprehensive literature search. The literature search was performed using free text search terms and database headings in five databases, producing 490 results. Additionally, a hand search of the search results' reference lists was undertaken. A total of 21 articles concerning the participation of children with physical disabilities in play were chosen for critical appraisal. These articles yielded themes relating to four different environments-virtual, physical, institutional, and social-under which subthemes of powered mobility and computer-based assistive technology; accessibility and usability; transportation, community programmes, and schools; and parents, support workers and teachers, and peers are grouped, respectively. Following suit, implications of these assets are reviewed in consideration with their relation to individuals and occupation, theory, and inherent value. After exploration, analysis, and discussion of these environmental assets, recommendations for practice, research, education, and policy are suggested to contribute to and further the knowledge base and practice of the occupational therapy profession.