There are no competing interests to declare.
AB is the principal investigator, conceived the study, led the study design and coordination and critically revised the manuscript. SW, GN, PT, RN and AB are chief investigators and all contributed to the design of the study and critically revised the manuscript. MV is the project manager. GS, AH and JS are co-investigators and contributed to the design of the study. KB is a research assistant to the study and contributed to fine-tuning of the methodology and compiled the manuscript. JR is a research associate to the project and contributed to the design of the study. JS is a PhD candidate and contributed to design of the study. All authors revised and approved the manuscript.
Providing children and adults with opportunities to engage in manageable risk taking may be a stepping stone toward closing the gap in life conditions currently experienced by young people with disabilities. We aim to demonstrate the effectiveness of a simple, innovative program for 1) changing the way parents and teachers view manageable risk-taking for children with disabilities and 2) increasing the level of responsibility that children take for their own actions, as seen on the school playground.
We will employ a cluster repeated measures trial with six Sydney-area primary-school-based programs for children with disabilities. The intervention comprises two arms. 1) Risk-reframing- teachers and parents will participate together in small group intervention sessions focusing on the benefits of manageable risk-taking; 2) Introduction of play materials- materials without a defined purpose and facilitative of social cooperation will be introduced to the school playground for children to use at all break times. A control period will be undertaken first for two school terms, followed by two terms of the intervention period. Outcome measures will include playground observations, The Coping Inventory, qualitative field notes, and The Tolerance of Risk in Play Scale.
New national programs, such as Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme, will place increasing demands on young people with disabilities to assume responsibility for difficult decisions regarding procuring services. Innovative approaches, commencing early in life, are required to prepare young people and their carers for this level of responsibility. This research offers innovative intervention strategies for promoting autonomy in children with disabilities and their carers.
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registration Number ACTRN12614000549628 (registered 22/5/2014).