Engaging Families, Intervention Visits, Practical Strategies

Promoting Family-Centered Practice Through the Use of the Life Participation for Parents (LPP) Questionnaire

I typically start my early intervention sessions by asking the family to “brag” about what is new and exciting in their child’s life.  Usually, the family will also bring up what activities are challenging for them.  If not, I will ask the family what are their concerns?  Admittedly, these concerns are more child-focused and less family-centered concerns, although there are times when family concerns are expressed and I help the family connect with the right resource.

Life Participation for Parents Questionnaire

I recently used the Life Participation for Parents (LPP) questionnaire with an early intervention family as part of an assignment for a class in my clinical doctorate program.  The LPP was developed by Patricia E. Fingerhut, OTR, PhD in 2005 and indicates individual obstacles to life participation for the child, parents, and other family members.1-3  The LPP consists of 23 questions associated with activities the primary caregiver is involved in that may be affected by bringing up a child with special needs.   The LPP uses a 5-point Likert scale and there is opportunity for the caregiver to offer qualitative comments to provide the therapist with more information and focused follow-up.  The LPP takes about 10 minutes for the family to complete and less than 10 minutes for the early interventionist to score.

Learning New Things from the LPP

The use of the LPP afforded me the opportunity to learn things that surprised me, things that pleased me, and things that I had not considered before with my early intervention families.  In reviewing the LPP, I was surprised that despite this Mom’s excitement over her child learning to use a walker, she did not view her child as an “independent” walker.  Through follow-up conversations, I learned that the walker creates stress for this Mom during public outings due to the unwanted attention the device brings to the family.  I was pleased to read that the Mom felt that “the exercises and tasks the therapist suggests are easily worked into our normal daily activities.”

One of the concerns that arose from the LPP was that this Mom did not know she could catheterize her child “on the go” and it limited where the family went and how long they could go on outings.  This subject had not come up in previous treatment sessions and allowed me to encourage the family to problem solve how to use their vehicle as a place to catheterize while on outings.

I think the LPP is a useful vehicle to assist early interventionists in starting a dialogue with families in asking questions that might not normally be discussed during their typical session and determining how to better assist the family with their concerns.  I will be using the LPP to adjunct my services to early intervention families and assist in developing family-centered interventions.  Is the LPP something you see yourself using?  How will you incorporate the use of LPP in your early intervention practice?

Click here for a pdf copy and description of the questionnaire: Life Participation for Parents Questionnaire

If you want to learn more, check out Dr. Fingerhut’s recent article on the LPP:

Fingerhut, P. E. (2013). Life participation for parents: A tool for family-centered occupational therapy. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67(1), 37-44.


  1. Hinojosa J, Sproat C, Mankhetwit S, Anderson J.  Shifts in parent-therapist partnerships: Twelve years of change.  Amer J of Occup Ther.  2002.  56(5):556-563.
  2. Roberts K, Lawton D.  Acknowledging the extra care parents give their disabled children.  Child Care, Health & Develop.  2001.  27(4):307-319.
  3. Rosenbaum P, King S, Law M, King G, Evans J.  Family-centered service: A conceptual framework and research review.  Phys and Occup Ther in Peds.  1998.  18(1):1-20.


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6 Comments to “Promoting Family-Centered Practice Through the Use of the Life Participation for Parents (LPP) Questionnaire”

  1. Kim: Thanks for sharing this resource. It sounds like it might be a good addition to the eipd website so others could access it. I love that you gave “real life” examples of how the info from the LPP gave you, as the provider, insight and ideas on how to assist the family!

  2. Cori!
    I appreciate your comments! I hope early interventionists try the LPP. It does a great job of helping the early interventionist focus on family outcomes!
    I would love to hear other early interventionists’ experience with the LPP.
    Thanks again for your comments.

  3. Kim:Interesting questionnaire, and I agree with Cori Hill that it might be a good addition to the eipd website. Great story about how important it is to take the time to ask questions and shift the perspective a bit to get all of the facts. Even though the mom was happy about her child’s ability to walk- the use of the walker was stressful. Sometimes we are so intent on focusing on the positive, we don’t leave an opening to talk about the challenges.

    • Lynne

      Not only is the LPP easy for early interventionists to integrate into their practic; the LPP has also been found to be a reliable and valid instrument for measuring satisfaction with parental particpation in life occupations. For those committed to providing evidence-based services, the LPP will help the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) team focus on family concerns.
      I appreciate your comments! I’m excited to hear how others in our profession will use this resource.


    • I haven’t seen this resource before, and it seems like a wonderful tool to use, especially for those families on my caseload with children that are more “medically involved” – oftentimes we focus on the goals and strategies and it’s good sometimes to take a step back and look at the family as a whole and how THEY are feeling about things and their stress level on a daily basis. If we forgot that, the ideas that we are suggesting might be adding more stress to their lives, instead of helping. I will definitly use this and provide feedback once I have.

      • Great! We’d LOVE to hear how it goes after you use the tool! I agree, we shouldn’t be in the business of adding stress to families’ lives so asking good questions that tap into their feelings and needs is a great way to guide intervention so that it fits into families’ lives.

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