Aim In light of the International Classification of Functioning, and Health (ICF) model, to assess whether parents of children with mild developmental disabilities perceived various environmental factors as barriers to their child's participation, and whether these factors have a unique contribution to the total explained variance of participation, beyond personal factors.
Methods Seventy-nine kindergarten children (mean age 5.20 ± 0.52 years old) with mild developmental disabilities and their parents participated in the study. Three questionnaires measuring the child's participation, performance skills and environmental factors were completed by the parents.
Results Parents perceived environmental factors as slightly restricting to their child's participation. Associations were found between home and education factors and the dimensions of child participation – independence, enjoyment and parental satisfaction. Although parents perceived human environmental factors as more restricting than physical factors at home, regression analysis revealed that the latter was found to affect the child participation dimension of independence beyond the contribution of personal factors.
Interpretation These findings are the first, to our knowledge, to support the contribution of environmental factors to the participation of young children with mild developmental disabilities. The results show that environmental factors have significant slight contribution to child's independence in participation beyond other predictors (i.e. personal factors). Therefore, it is recommended to include environmental restrictions measurement in the child evaluation process to facilitate effective intervention programs.