Free
Poster Session
Issue Date: July 2015
Published Online: July 01, 2015
Updated: April 30, 2020
Participation Disparities Between Children With and Without Disabilities in Early Childhood Educational Environments
Author Affiliations
  • Colorado State University
  • Colorado State University
Article Information
Advocacy / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / School-Based Practice / Basic Research
Poster Session   |   July 01, 2015
Participation Disparities Between Children With and Without Disabilities in Early Childhood Educational Environments
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911505028. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO2098
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911505028. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO2098
Abstract

Date Presented 4/16/2015

This study leverages data from a newly developed proxy questionnaire, the Young Children’s Participation and Environment Measure (YC–PEM), to build comprehensive and detailed knowledge about disparities in participation outcomes that are specific to the early childhood educational environment.

SIGNIFICANCE: Young children’s participation in occupation is a key service outcome in occupational therapy, but there is insufficient knowledge on disparities in participation between children with and without disabilities to guide intervention. The Young Children’s Participation and Environment Measure (YC–PEM) is a new tool that may help researchers build knowledge on participation disparities in young children to guide decision making about potential intervention targets.
INNOVATION: A newly validated approach that combines assessment of participation and environment in a single measure has been used to show disparities between school-aged children with and without disabilities in their home, school, and community participation. In this study, we extend prior research by examining the extent to which these disparities appear during early childhood.
APPROACH: Hypotheses for this study include the following: (1) young children with disabilities participate less often and are less involved in day care/preschool activities compared to those without disabilities, and (2) parents of young children with disabilities are more likely to desire change in their child’s participation and to perceive the day care/preschool environment to hinder their child’s participation compared to parents of children without disabilities. In this study, we aim to build new knowledge on similarities and differences in day care/preschool participation, supports, and barriers between young children with and without disabilities to inform potential targets for intervention.
METHOD: In this study, we used a cross-sectional design. A subset of data was drawn from an online validation of the YC–PEM (n = 395). Participants included 129 caregivers who met these criteria: (1) aged 18 yr or older, (2) parent/legal guardian of a child aged 0 to 5 yr who is enrolled in an early childhood educational program (e.g., preschool, family day care), (3) speaks and reads English, (4) has Internet access, and (5) resides in North America.
The YC–PEM Day Care/Preschool section (1) assesses for participation in three types of activities and the perceived impact of 16 environmental factors on participation, and (2) yields three participation scores (i.e., “frequency,” “involvement,” “desire change”) and one environment score. Internal consistency (.67 to .80 for the Participation scales; .92 for the Environment scale) and test–retest reliability (.31 to .78 for the Participation scales; .92 for the Environment scale) have been reported.
Independent-sample t tests and Mann–Whitney tests were used to examine summary-level group differences in day care/preschool participation using the two YC–PEM scales with adequate internal consistency and test–retest reliability. Similar analyses are being used to examine item-level group differences, with multiple linear regression analyses used to adjust for demographic differences between groups. Alpha is set to .01 to control for Type 1 error.
RESULTS: Young children with disabilities (n = 32) were less involved (t = −8.88, p < .001, d = 1.68) and were perceived to have less environmental support for participation in day care/preschool activities (t = 6.85, p < .001, d = 0.61) compared to children without disabilities (n = 97).
CONCLUSION: Summary-level group differences that were found in day care/preschool participation will be confirmed through item-level analysis with adjustment for confounding effects of demographic differences between groups.