Title

What Are Occupational Scientists Learning About Children and Their Occupations?

Presenter Information

Ruth Humphry

Start Time

7-10-2006 1:00 PM

End Time

7-10-2006 2:40 PM

Abstract

The body of knowledge about children and their everyday activities rests interdisciplinary contributions. The amount of research on children has increased and today scholars have built a compelling case for the importance of the historical times and social contexts in determining what children do. With this there is growing evidence that childhood is a socially constructed phenomena and research is subject to the particular perspective of a discipline. The purpose of this paper is to explore the theoretical lens of occupational science and describe one scholar’s perspective of where we are in the development of knowledge about childhood occupations. Two issues warrant scrutiny as they threaten to bend the lens occupational scientists use to study childhood. First, occupational scientists that are embedded in a North American perspective of childhood are more likely to retain biological view of development. Adding to this traditional perspective (or maybe supported by it) has been the sustained fascination of occupational therapy with nueromaturation approaches to practice with children. Second, in some circles there is a tradition of thinking of occupation in terms of the child’s subjective experiences of meaning or the engagement in occupation as an individual endeavor. This is in contrast to the arguments recently set forth that childhood occupations are best understood contextually, where the person and context are a transactional whole. In light of these issues, there is a need to take inventory of occupational science’s knowledge of childhood occupations. The paper summarizes the last decade of leading journals in occupational science and therapy with the intent of understanding what this work reveals about how the discipline sees childhood and how this impacts our scholarly endeavors. Second it analyzes the scholarly work informing therapists’ services when children face occupational challenges. Finally, to further evaluate the status of our knowledge; the paper asks what information is passed on to the next generation of occupational therapists by entry level programs associated with occupational science. The speaker hopes to start a discourse regarding how occupational science can contribute uniquely to the interdisciplinary body of knowledge about childhood and inform the practice of occupational therapy.

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Oct 7th, 1:00 PM Oct 7th, 2:40 PM

What Are Occupational Scientists Learning About Children and Their Occupations?

The body of knowledge about children and their everyday activities rests interdisciplinary contributions. The amount of research on children has increased and today scholars have built a compelling case for the importance of the historical times and social contexts in determining what children do. With this there is growing evidence that childhood is a socially constructed phenomena and research is subject to the particular perspective of a discipline. The purpose of this paper is to explore the theoretical lens of occupational science and describe one scholar’s perspective of where we are in the development of knowledge about childhood occupations. Two issues warrant scrutiny as they threaten to bend the lens occupational scientists use to study childhood. First, occupational scientists that are embedded in a North American perspective of childhood are more likely to retain biological view of development. Adding to this traditional perspective (or maybe supported by it) has been the sustained fascination of occupational therapy with nueromaturation approaches to practice with children. Second, in some circles there is a tradition of thinking of occupation in terms of the child’s subjective experiences of meaning or the engagement in occupation as an individual endeavor. This is in contrast to the arguments recently set forth that childhood occupations are best understood contextually, where the person and context are a transactional whole. In light of these issues, there is a need to take inventory of occupational science’s knowledge of childhood occupations. The paper summarizes the last decade of leading journals in occupational science and therapy with the intent of understanding what this work reveals about how the discipline sees childhood and how this impacts our scholarly endeavors. Second it analyzes the scholarly work informing therapists’ services when children face occupational challenges. Finally, to further evaluate the status of our knowledge; the paper asks what information is passed on to the next generation of occupational therapists by entry level programs associated with occupational science. The speaker hopes to start a discourse regarding how occupational science can contribute uniquely to the interdisciplinary body of knowledge about childhood and inform the practice of occupational therapy.