Positive functioning relates to the ability to live a good and healthy life, but for children with special needs, this might be compromised and therefore factors related to positive functioning should be explored. As their restrictions concern a variety of general life situations including issues
such as peer group interaction, participation, autonomy and self-determination, the focus should be on the children’s capabilities when they act
in their natural environments. Functional abilities and the creation of opportunities in a challenging environment are optimal for new learning to take place, leading the child towards a positive end point. This article analyses constructs of engagement, participation and flow, indicating their
interrelatedness and association to positive functioning. Outcomes change and unfold over time, indicating that functioning should be considered dynamic, context-dependent, culturally and historically conditioned. The article concludes with a suggested model for intervention to enhance positive functioning of children with special needs.