Factors Perceived by Rehabilitation Professionals to Influence the Provision of Assistive Technology to Children: A Systematic Review.

Peer-reviewed article
(2018 May) Phys Occup Ther Pediatr, 38 168-189


van Niekerk K, Dada S, Tönsing K, Boshoff K



The use of Assistive Technology (AT) by children with disabilities has been associated with significant development and improvement in outcomes within all spheres of life. However, AT is often underutilized. Appropriate selection of AT by rehabilitation professionals could improve the satisfaction of the user and their family with their AT.


A systematic search identified six studies that investigate the factors that occupational therapists, physiotherapists, as well as speech and language pathologists perceive to influence their provision of AT to children. Study appraisal: Two qualitative and four quantitative articles were identified. Both article types were appraised using the Mixed Methods Appraisal tool (Pluye et al., 2011 ). Synthesis method: A process of deductive thematic analysis by using themes from the Assistive Technology Device Selection Framework (Scherer et al., 2007 ), was followed by inductive thematic analysis to uncover subthemes. Data from all six articles are synthesized to provide a view of factors that are perceived to influence AT selection. Implications of findings: Within a family-centered perspective, both family and child expectations and preferences should be considered. Professionals should consider the influence of their own preferences and knowledge on the AT they recommend.