Purpose: To explore participation in real-life activities during early childhood, compare children’s partici- pation based on motor function and investigate relationships between participation and parental empowerment.
Methods: Data derived from the Cerebral Palsy Follow-up Program (CPOP) in Norway and the research registry Habilitation Trajectories, Interventions, and Services for Young Children with CP (CPHAB). Fifty-six children (12–56 months, GMFCS levels I–IV, MACS levels I–V) and their families were included. Frequency and enjoyment of participation were assessed by the Child Engagement in Daily Life Questionnaire and parental empowerment in family and service situations by the Family Empowerment Scale at least twice during the preschool years. Differences between groups based on motor function were explored by the Kruskal–Wallis tests. A linear mixed model was conducted to explore relationships between child partici- pation and parental empowerment.
Results: Similarities and differences in participation between children at different motor function levels varied between the activities explored. Fluctuations in frequency and stable enjoyment scores over time were most common. A statistically significant relationship was revealed between child participation and parental empowerment in family situations, but not in service situations.
Conclusions: Child participation appears as context-dependent and complexly influenced by both motor function and parental empowerment. This supports a focus on transactional processes when exploring and promoting child participation.