Using a behavior change toolkit in pediatric physical therapy to support physical activity

Authors Marleen E. Sol, Elles M.W. Kotte, Eline A.M. Bolster, Sander Hermsen, Remko van der Lugt, Stefan Elbers, Margreet Sanders, Manon A.T. Bloemen
Published in PLOS ONE
Publication date 2023
Research groups Co-design, Lifestyle and Health
Type Article


Introduction Physical activity levels of children with disabilities are low, as these children and their parents face a wide variety of both personal and environmental barriers. Behavior change techniques support pediatric physical therapists to address these barriers together with parents and children. We developed the What Moves You?! intervention Toolkit (WMY Toolkit) filled with behavioral change tools for use in pediatric physical therapy practice. Objective To evaluate the feasibility of using the WMY Toolkit in daily pediatric physical therapy practice. Methods We conducted a feasibility study with a qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews with pediatric physical therapists (n = 11). After one day of training, the pediatric physical therapists used the WMY Toolkit for a period of 9 weeks, when facilitating physical activity in children with disabilities. We analyzed the transcripts using an inductive thematic analysis followed by a deductive analysis using a feasibility framework. Results For acceptability, pediatric physical therapists found that the toolkit facilitated conversation about physical activity in a creative and playful manner. The working mechanisms identified were in line with the intended working mechanisms during development of the WMY Toolkit, such as focusing on problem solving, self-efficacy and independence. For demand, the pediatric physical therapists mentioned that they were able to use the WMY Toolkit in children with and without disabilities with a broad range of physical activity goals. For implementation, education is important as pediatric physical therapists expressed the need to have sufficient knowledge and to feel confident using the toolkit. For practicality, pediatric physical therapists were positive about the ease of which tools could be adapted for individual children. Some of the design and materials of the toolkit needed attention due to fragility and hygiene. Conclusion The WMY Toolkit is a promising and innovative way to integrate behavior change techniques into pediatric physical therapy practice.

On this publication contributed

Language English
Published in PLOS ONE
Year and volume 18 11
Key words pediatric physical therapy, physical activity, behavior change techniques, children with disabilities
Digital Object Identifier 10.1371/journal.pone.0286116

Marleen Sol

Marleen Sol | Researcher | Research group Lifestyle and Health

Marleen Sol

  • Researcher
  • Research group: Lifestyle and Health