Investigating strategies to foster quality participation on playgrounds for play programmers and parents of children with disabilities


Playgrounds offer children a unique space to engage in a variety of play opportunities. However, the ways in which playgrounds are designed often result in participation barriers to play for children and youth with disabilities (CYD). Guided by Evans et al.'s (2018) Quality Participation (QP) Framework, this study aimed to systematically develop strategies for facilitating quality play experiences on playgrounds for CYD. Phase 1: A three-step deductive thematic analysis based on 54 transcripts from interviews with families of CYD and rehabilitation and educational specialists was used to identify strategies (N=25) that may facilitate QP on playgrounds for CYD. Phase 2: An online survey was administered to parents (N=8) and educators and recreation programmers (N=9) to assess the utility of these 25 strategies for facilitating QP on the playground for CYD. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze parent ratings (1=unlikely, 7=very likely). A matrix-type response was used to determine the percent agreement of the building block-strategy pairings reported by educators and programmers with those pairings identified in Phase 1. Parents reported a high likelihood (Median= 6) for using the 25 strategies. High agreement (>=80%) was found on 23 of the 25 building block-strategy pairings between programmers/educators responses and the Phase 1 identified pairing. Additional building block-strategy pairings were also identified by educators/programmers. Results from this study will inform the final strategies to be included in a Quality Participation Blueprint for Playgrounds for CYD. This blueprint will provide the foundation for further experimental research on enhancing QP of CYD in play.

Acknowledgments: This research is funded by Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities.