Background: Participation is essential for the enjoyment and exercise of human rights, however children with disabilities often have restricted participation. Participation means to attend an activity and be engaged while being there. Neuropsychiatric disabilities are a group of cognitive impairments, affecting 10% of all children. There are no studies from Sweden investigating participation in schools for young adolescents with neuropsychiatric disabilities.
Aim: Investigate if there are differences between adolescents, with and without neuropsychiatric disabilities regarding participation in school, and also explore external and individual factors associated with restricted participation.
Methods: This cross sectional study consisted of data obtained for the research programme LoRDIA. Data was collected from 1520 adolescents aged 12-13 years, from four municipalities in the south of Sweden, year 2013-2014. Multiple logistic regression was conducted to explore the relationship between having a neuropsychiatric disability and participation, and how other factors effected this relationship.
Results: Young adolescents with neuropsychiatric disabilities had an increased likelihood of restricted participation in school, in comparison to adolescents without neuropsychiatric disabilities. They were also more at risk of bullying victimization, having more negative relationship to their teachers, coming from families with poorer economy, having lower connectedness to their fathers, being boys and more likely to have tried drugs.
Conclusions: Adolescents with neuropsychiatric disabilities are a vulnerable group, who have restricted participation in school, but also a disadvantaged situation in other areas of life. Interventions are needed to ensure their full participation, and further longitudinal research to understand the long term effects of the issue.
Swedish Research Council, FORTE, VINNOVA, Formas, Säfstaholm Foundation, Sunnerdahl Disability Foundation, Futurum Academy for Health and Care Jönköping County Council.
Contact: Mats Granlund, Professor of Disability Studies, HHJ.
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