Title

Experiential Learning, Research, and Community Participation: In Pursuit of Occupational Justice

Location

Room D

Start Time

18-10-2013 3:40 PM

End Time

18-10-2013 5:10 PM

Session Type

Forum

Abstract

Rationale

Individuals with disabilities often have limited opportunities to participate in community activities because of physical, developmental, interpersonal and other challenges. Educating occupational therapy students to address occupational challenges of their clients from an occupational justice framework, particularly those with developmental disabilities, is challenging. Often, students are exposed to fieldwork experiences that are based on a deficit reduction model rather than on providing opportunities for occupational participation. Programmatic strategies for preparing students to promote social inclusion and occupational engagement of individuals with developmental disabilities will be presented, with a dynamic exchange of ideas related to educational opportunities for promoting occupational justice.

Individuals with disabilities “need to be able or enabled to engage in the occupations of their need and choice, to grow through what they do, and to experience independence or interdependence, equality, participation, security, health and well-being” (Wilcock & Townsend, 2008, p. 198). Consistent with this premise, a participatory occupational justice framework (POJF; Whiteford & Townsend, 2011) was used to develop programming in a university community practice setting. This programming provides community experiences for individuals with developmental disabilities, while educating occupational therapy students about issues related to contextually meaningful occupational participation. Students also participated in data collection for program evaluation. The programming is strengths based, where contributions of participants are recognized and interventions are designed to expand their competencies (Dunst, 2000). Student-led activity groups provided opportunities to empower youth and young adults with disabilities to gain valuable participatory experiences in the community through their engagement with students. Programs for younger children provided opportunities for engagement in naturally occurring play and learning activities guided by students under faculty mentorship. All participants of these groups were provided with opportunities to make choices, which may not be offered in traditional practice settings. Individual choice is a fundamental part of interventions based on quality of life principles (Brown & Brown, 2005). Children, youth, and young adults who practice making choices and exercising control develop self determination skills, which may lead to better outcomes (Murray, 2003). Students involved in these activity groups learned how to incorporate these occupational justice constructs in programming.

Aims

  • Explore participatory occupational justice as a framework for educating occupational therapy students
  • Discuss experiential learning opportunities in clinical practice and research in a university occupational therapy program for individuals with developmental disabilities across the lifespan.
  • Discuss importance of collaboration and empowerment of people with disabilities through occupational therapy practice and research.

Potential outcomes

  1. Develop strategies to educate students to value community participation and engagement in meaningful occupations for those with disabilities.
  2. Identify approaches that foster community opportunities for engagement that can be incorporated into university occupational therapy programs.
  3. Discuss ideas that facilitate student learning related to facilitating opportunities for individuals with disabilities to exercise choice and control.

References

Brown, R.I. & Brown. I. (2005). The application of quality of life. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 49, 718 –727.

Dunst, C.(2000). Revisiting “Rethinking early intervention,”Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 20, 95-104.

Murray, C.(2003), Risk factors, protective factors, vulnerability, and resilience: A framework for understanding and supporting the adult transitions of youth with high incidence disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 24, 16-26

Whiteford, G., & Townsend, E. (2011). Participatory occupational justice framework (POJF 2010): Enabling occupational participation and inclusion. In F. Kronenberg, N. Pollard, & D. Sakellariou (Eds.), Occupational Therapies without Borders: Towards an Ecology of Occupation-based Practices (Vol. 2, pp. 65-84). London: Elsevier.

Wilcock, A. A. & Townsend,E. A. (2008). Occupational justice.In E. B. Crepeau, E. S. Cohn, & B. B. Schell (Eds.), Willard & Spackman’s occupational therapy (11th ed., pp. 192-199). Baltimore: Lipponcott Williams & Wilkins.

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Oct 18th, 3:40 PM Oct 18th, 5:10 PM

Experiential Learning, Research, and Community Participation: In Pursuit of Occupational Justice

Room D

Rationale

Individuals with disabilities often have limited opportunities to participate in community activities because of physical, developmental, interpersonal and other challenges. Educating occupational therapy students to address occupational challenges of their clients from an occupational justice framework, particularly those with developmental disabilities, is challenging. Often, students are exposed to fieldwork experiences that are based on a deficit reduction model rather than on providing opportunities for occupational participation. Programmatic strategies for preparing students to promote social inclusion and occupational engagement of individuals with developmental disabilities will be presented, with a dynamic exchange of ideas related to educational opportunities for promoting occupational justice.

Individuals with disabilities “need to be able or enabled to engage in the occupations of their need and choice, to grow through what they do, and to experience independence or interdependence, equality, participation, security, health and well-being” (Wilcock & Townsend, 2008, p. 198). Consistent with this premise, a participatory occupational justice framework (POJF; Whiteford & Townsend, 2011) was used to develop programming in a university community practice setting. This programming provides community experiences for individuals with developmental disabilities, while educating occupational therapy students about issues related to contextually meaningful occupational participation. Students also participated in data collection for program evaluation. The programming is strengths based, where contributions of participants are recognized and interventions are designed to expand their competencies (Dunst, 2000). Student-led activity groups provided opportunities to empower youth and young adults with disabilities to gain valuable participatory experiences in the community through their engagement with students. Programs for younger children provided opportunities for engagement in naturally occurring play and learning activities guided by students under faculty mentorship. All participants of these groups were provided with opportunities to make choices, which may not be offered in traditional practice settings. Individual choice is a fundamental part of interventions based on quality of life principles (Brown & Brown, 2005). Children, youth, and young adults who practice making choices and exercising control develop self determination skills, which may lead to better outcomes (Murray, 2003). Students involved in these activity groups learned how to incorporate these occupational justice constructs in programming.

Aims

  • Explore participatory occupational justice as a framework for educating occupational therapy students
  • Discuss experiential learning opportunities in clinical practice and research in a university occupational therapy program for individuals with developmental disabilities across the lifespan.
  • Discuss importance of collaboration and empowerment of people with disabilities through occupational therapy practice and research.

Potential outcomes

  1. Develop strategies to educate students to value community participation and engagement in meaningful occupations for those with disabilities.
  2. Identify approaches that foster community opportunities for engagement that can be incorporated into university occupational therapy programs.
  3. Discuss ideas that facilitate student learning related to facilitating opportunities for individuals with disabilities to exercise choice and control.