The effectiveness of the use of a technology toolkit on activities and mother-child interactions: children with complex care needs: children with complex care needs

Gustaaf F. Bos, Evelien van Wingerden, Paula Sterkenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose
Meaningful interactions with significant others are crucial for children’s well-being, including those with severe to profound intellectual and multiple disabilities. This study aimed to gain more insight into the potential of an ICT-Toolkit in enhancing or contributing to the interaction between parents and their children with complex care needs.

Methods
A multiple case study with an AB experimental design was conducted. Four mother-child dyads were observed during eight two-and-a-half-hour home visits. Children between 6 and 16 years with severe to profound intellectual and multiple disabilities were included. A participatory research observation approach was used.

Results
Using the ICT-Toolkit compared to the baseline phase stimulated a decrease in the repetitive activities of two of the four dyads. Overall, the activity repertoire of the children and the length of time being engaged in individual activities increased, and the activities together increased in three of the dyads. There were more turn-taking interactions; the children took more initiative to engage their mother in their activity, and the children exhibited more affection when engaging with the ICT-Toolkit items. Three mothers followed their children more in their play, and all mothers were more verbally and physically active in instructing and/or motivating their children.

Discussion
All mothers noticed their child’s “new” behaviour when interacting with an ICT-Toolkit item. The mothers followed the child’s lead when engaged with the ICT-Toolkit. The ICT-Toolkit’s added effect may be due to the predictability, uncomplicated and highly perceivable stimuli it provides with minimal effort and maximum effect.

IMPLICATION OF REHABILITATION
- A technology toolkit contributes to activities and mother-child interactions for children with intensive care needs.

- The ICT-Toolkit contributes to more turn-taking interactions and more initiative taking by the children to engage their mother in their activity.

- Children exhibited more affection towards their mothers when engaging with the ICT-Toolkit items.

- The participation in this study led mothers of children with intensive care needs to mentalise about the needs of their child and how their behaviour may influence the behaviour of their child.

- The ICT-Toolkit’s added effect may be due to the predictability, uncomplicated and highly perceivable stimuli it provides with minimal effort and maximum effect.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Early online date19 Dec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • mother-child interaction
  • children
  • intellectual disability
  • profound disabilities
  • assistive technology
  • participant observation

Cite this