Background: Collaboration between therapists and parents of children with developmental disabilities is a key element of family-centred care. In practice, collaboration appears to be challenging for both parents and therapists. This systematic review aims to make explicit how therapists can optimise their collaboration with parents of young children with developmental disabilities, according to the perspectives of parents and therapists.
Methods: A systematic review was conducted using the following databases: Medline (PubMed), CINAHL (OVID) and PsychINFO (OVID). Those papers were selected, which focused on collaboration using a two-way interaction between therapists and parents, exploring the perspectives of therapists and/or parents of children between 2 and 6 years. Papers needed to be published in English or Dutch between 1998 and July 2021. Included papers were synthesised using a qualitative analysis approach by two researchers independently. Results sections were analysed line-by-line, and codes were formulated and discussed by all authors. Codes were aggregated, resulting in a synthesis of specific collaboration strategies in combined strategy clusters.
Results: The search generated 3439 records. In total, 24 papers were selected. Data synthesis resulted in an overview of specific strategies organised into five clusters: (1) continuously invest time in your collaboration with parents, (2) be aware of your important role in the collaboration with parents, (3) tailor your approach, (4) get to know the family and (5) empower parents to become a collaborative partner.
Conclusions: This systematic review resulted in an overview of concrete strategies for therapists to use in their collaboration with parents of children with developmental disabilities. The strategies formulated enable therapists to consciously decide how to optimise their collaboration with each individual parent. Making these strategies explicit facilitates change of practice from therapist-led and child-centred towards family-centred care.