Title

Occupation, identity, participation, and social inclusion: Case studies of children with disabilities

Start Time

5-10-2012 10:55 AM

End Time

5-10-2012 11:25 AM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

Background: Children with disabilities are at risk for limited opportunities to engage in childhood occupations. Some factors that may limit their participation include: excessive parental vigilance, potential safety risks, lack of supportive social structures, and a history of discriminatory experiences (Heah et al., 2007). Emergent literature suggests that identities are shaped by what we do (Christiansen, 2004). Advancing knowledge about the relationship between occupation and identity in childhood is a significant area of scholarship that has received little attention to date.

Statement of Purpose: The primary objective of this research was to examine socio-cultural factors that influence children with physical disabilities’ participation in occupations, and how such participation may shape or be shaped by children’s identities.

Methods: The research project was designed using case study methodology (Stake, 2006).

Participants: Six children between the ages of 10-12 and their mothers participated in the study. All children were diagnosed with a physical disability.

Data Collection: Methods included: administration of the Pediatric Activity Card Sort assessment, photoelicitation interviews with children, semi-structured interviews with children, written logs completed by children in response to their photographs, and semi-structured interviews conducted with parents. Children took photographs of their everyday occupations, which were developed into computer-generated comic strips. The images served as a basis for photoelicitation interviews.

Data Analysis: Each case was analyzed independently as a whole, followed by a cross-case analysis to illuminate similarities and unique aspects across cases (Stake, 2006). Analysis included the use of concept maps and drew upon grounded theory coding and constant comparative analysis techniques (Charmaz, 2006).

Results: Seven key categories were identified: social inclusion/exclusion and disability; family and relational identity; negotiating independence, dependence and interdependence; risk and safety; leisure and enjoyment; and pride and success. The findings reveal examples of socio-cultural factors that may shape children’s opportunities to participate in activities. These factors may also contribute to the ways in which dimensions of children’s identities are shaped through doing, being, belonging and becoming (Wilcock, 2006).

Building Occupational Science: This study contributes to knowledge pertaining to participation in childhood occupations and occupational identity for children with physical disabilities. The findings have implications for occupational scientists interested in advocacy and policy development related to participation and social inclusion in health care, community, and education settings.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the implications of the findings for how occupational scientists think about the significance of participation in occupation for children with disabilities?
  2. Identity is a difficult construct to define and study with children. What methodologies and approaches might assist occupational scientists in studying occupation and identity with children?
  3. How might occupational scientists become involved in advocacy and policy development related to participation and inclusion in health care, community, and education settings?

References

Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory. A practical guide through qualitative analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE

Christiansen, C. (2004). Occupation and identity: Becoming who we are through what we do. In C. H. Christiansen & E. A. Townsend (Eds.), Introduction to occupation. The art and science of living (pp. 121-139). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Heah, T., Case, T., McGuire, B., & Law, M. (2007). Successful participation: The lived experience among children with disabilities. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74, 38-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.2182/cjot.06.10

Stake, R. E. (2006). Multiple case study analysis. New York: The Guilford Press.

Wilcock, A. A. (2006). An occupational perspective of health (2nd ed.). Thorofare, NJ: Slack.

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Research paper

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Oct 5th, 10:55 AM Oct 5th, 11:25 AM

Occupation, identity, participation, and social inclusion: Case studies of children with disabilities

Background: Children with disabilities are at risk for limited opportunities to engage in childhood occupations. Some factors that may limit their participation include: excessive parental vigilance, potential safety risks, lack of supportive social structures, and a history of discriminatory experiences (Heah et al., 2007). Emergent literature suggests that identities are shaped by what we do (Christiansen, 2004). Advancing knowledge about the relationship between occupation and identity in childhood is a significant area of scholarship that has received little attention to date.

Statement of Purpose: The primary objective of this research was to examine socio-cultural factors that influence children with physical disabilities’ participation in occupations, and how such participation may shape or be shaped by children’s identities.

Methods: The research project was designed using case study methodology (Stake, 2006).

Participants: Six children between the ages of 10-12 and their mothers participated in the study. All children were diagnosed with a physical disability.

Data Collection: Methods included: administration of the Pediatric Activity Card Sort assessment, photoelicitation interviews with children, semi-structured interviews with children, written logs completed by children in response to their photographs, and semi-structured interviews conducted with parents. Children took photographs of their everyday occupations, which were developed into computer-generated comic strips. The images served as a basis for photoelicitation interviews.

Data Analysis: Each case was analyzed independently as a whole, followed by a cross-case analysis to illuminate similarities and unique aspects across cases (Stake, 2006). Analysis included the use of concept maps and drew upon grounded theory coding and constant comparative analysis techniques (Charmaz, 2006).

Results: Seven key categories were identified: social inclusion/exclusion and disability; family and relational identity; negotiating independence, dependence and interdependence; risk and safety; leisure and enjoyment; and pride and success. The findings reveal examples of socio-cultural factors that may shape children’s opportunities to participate in activities. These factors may also contribute to the ways in which dimensions of children’s identities are shaped through doing, being, belonging and becoming (Wilcock, 2006).

Building Occupational Science: This study contributes to knowledge pertaining to participation in childhood occupations and occupational identity for children with physical disabilities. The findings have implications for occupational scientists interested in advocacy and policy development related to participation and social inclusion in health care, community, and education settings.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the implications of the findings for how occupational scientists think about the significance of participation in occupation for children with disabilities?
  2. Identity is a difficult construct to define and study with children. What methodologies and approaches might assist occupational scientists in studying occupation and identity with children?
  3. How might occupational scientists become involved in advocacy and policy development related to participation and inclusion in health care, community, and education settings?