Co-constructing engagement in pediatric rehabilitation: a multiple case study approach
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PURPOSE: To explore engagement principles and contextual conditions in high-engagement therapy sessions involving youth with disabilities and service providers. METHOD: From a larger project on therapy engagement, a dyadic case analysis was conducted involving three youth ages 8-15 with disabilities and their service providers. Participants were interviewed about their engagement experiences after high-engagement sessions focusing on speech articulation, transition goals, and physical mobility. Data were analyzed thematically, with an emphasis on engagement principles illustrated by the cases. RESULTS: There were four service provider engagement principles: (a) clients differ in what engages them and in how they display engagement (Individual Variation Principle), (b) there are multiple ways to engage clients (Personalizing Principle), (c) engagement is cultivated through relationship (Relationship Principle), and (d) it is important to monitor and be attuned to the client's level of engagement over a session (Monitoring Principle). Service providers' use of engagement strategies varied due to contextual conditions, including therapy type and youths' interests and preferences. CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate the value of providers' awareness of the dynamics of engagement, their use of personalized strategies to engage clients, and the fundamental importance of cultivating a good relationship and monitoring client engagement during therapy.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONService providers may benefit from being aware of common principles underlying the co-construction of engagement between service providers and clients.Service providers can use a variety of personalized strategies to heighten client engagement, and can work to cultivate a positive relationship.It is important to monitor clients' non-verbal and verbal signs of engagement and respond to signs of disengagement during therapy.Contextual conditions affecting service providers' use of engagement strategies include the nature of the therapy being provided and youths' interests and preferences.
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