I typically start my early intervention sessions by asking the family to “brag” about what is new and exciting in their child’s life. Usually, the family will also bring up what activities are challenging for them. If not, I will ask the family what are their concerns? Admittedly, these concerns are more child-focused and less family-centered concerns, although there are times when family concerns are expressed and I help the family connect with the right resource.
Life Participation for Parents Questionnaire
I recently used the Life Participation for Parents (LPP) questionnaire with an early intervention family as part of an assignment for a class in my clinical doctorate program. The LPP was developed by Patricia E. Fingerhut, OTR, PhD in 2005 and indicates individual obstacles to life participation for the child, parents, and other family members.1-3 The LPP consists of 23 questions associated with activities the primary caregiver is involved in that may be affected by bringing up a child with special needs. The LPP uses a 5-point Likert scale and there is opportunity for the caregiver to offer qualitative comments to provide the therapist with more information and focused follow-up. The LPP takes about 10 minutes for the family to complete and less than 10 minutes for the early interventionist to score.
Learning New Things from the LPP
The use of the LPP afforded me the opportunity to learn things that surprised me, things that pleased me, and things that I had not considered before with my early intervention families. In reviewing the LPP, I was surprised that despite this Mom’s excitement over her child learning to use a walker, she did not view her child as an “independent” walker. Through follow-up conversations, I learned that the walker creates stress for this Mom during public outings due to the unwanted attention the device brings to the family. I was pleased to read that the Mom felt that “the exercises and tasks the therapist suggests are easily worked into our normal daily activities.”
One of the concerns that arose from the LPP was that this Mom did not know she could catheterize her child “on the go” and it limited where the family went and how long they could go on outings. This subject had not come up in previous treatment sessions and allowed me to encourage the family to problem solve how to use their vehicle as a place to catheterize while on outings.
I think the LPP is a useful vehicle to assist early interventionists in starting a dialogue with families in asking questions that might not normally be discussed during their typical session and determining how to better assist the family with their concerns. I will be using the LPP to adjunct my services to early intervention families and assist in developing family-centered interventions. Is the LPP something you see yourself using? How will you incorporate the use of LPP in your early intervention practice?
Click here for a pdf copy and description of the questionnaire: Life Participation for Parents Questionnaire (PDF, New Window).
If you want to learn more, check out Dr. Fingerhut’s recent article on the LPP:
Fingerhut, P. E. (2013). Life participation for parents: A tool for family-centered occupational therapy. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67(1), 37-44.
- Hinojosa J, Sproat C, Mankhetwit S, Anderson J. Shifts in parent-therapist partnerships: Twelve years of change. Amer J of Occup Ther. 2002. 56(5):556-563.
- Roberts K, Lawton D. Acknowledging the extra care parents give their disabled children. Child Care, Health & Develop. 2001. 27(4):307-319.
- Rosenbaum P, King S, Law M, King G, Evans J. Family-centered service: A conceptual framework and research review. Phys and Occup Ther in Peds. 1998. 18(1):1-20.