Occupation in Innovative Secondary Transition Practices: Theoretical Congruence and Temporal Challenges

Author #1

Abstract

Key Words: Time, Occupation-based Practice, Occupational Justice

Occupational science was founded to provide occupational therapy with the unique knowledge base necessary to effective practice and an autonomous profession (Clark et al, 1991). Yet, occupational science research examining occupation in practice is limited and confronted by barriers (Pierce, 2013). This in-progress study captures innovative occupation-based services and reveals occupational therapists’ deft management of the temporal dimension of therapist-client interactions.

According to IDEA (2004), transition services support a student’s movement from high school to a successful and productive adult life, including education or employment, independent living, and community integration (Kohler & Field, 2003). Education programs must provide evaluation and instruction in these activities, based on the individual student’s strengths, needs, and interests. Still, these youth face poor adult outcomes, including unemployment, underemployment, and lives of poverty (National Organization on Disability, 2004). Despite an obvious theoretical congruence, few occupational therapists serve secondary students’ transition needs.

The Ohio Occupational Therapy Transition Outcomes Study (Ohio-OTTO) is a mixed methods study of the process and outcomes of innovative occupation-based services in the schools. Eighteen therapists provide interventions over two years to 50, 14 year old students with high incidence disabilities. Reported here are results of the iterative qualitative analysis of monthly therapist reflective notes, monthly therapist team meetings, and therapist interviews, using HyperRESEARCH.

Interventions were original to therapists in response to the results of two evaluations, as well as the post-secondary goals set by the students’ transition teams. Peer-based groups were perceived by therapists to be the most effective approach in terms of time, cost, and level of engagement for adolescents. Group interventions used fundraising projects, internet discovery of work futures, portfolio design, IEP and disability knowledge development, job tours, job search skills, cooking, budgeting, community outings, and issue discussions on such topics as friendships, support networks, bullying, and self-advocacy. The temporal dimension of intervention was challenging. Therapists faced novel work and were required to synchronize complex and relatively inflexible multi-person and multi-location schedules. Scheduling strategies included group-based services, collaborative classes, student selection by schedule, and nontraditional scheduling.

This research offers an opportunity to consider innovative occupation-based practices within the everyday worlds of clients and targeting mandated occupational outcomes. It also raises a potent occupational justice issue: therapists’ failure to offer legally-mandated services to adolescents in their schools.

 
Oct 17th, 4:55 PM Oct 17th, 5:25 PM

Occupation in Innovative Secondary Transition Practices: Theoretical Congruence and Temporal Challenges

Soo Line

Key Words: Time, Occupation-based Practice, Occupational Justice

Occupational science was founded to provide occupational therapy with the unique knowledge base necessary to effective practice and an autonomous profession (Clark et al, 1991). Yet, occupational science research examining occupation in practice is limited and confronted by barriers (Pierce, 2013). This in-progress study captures innovative occupation-based services and reveals occupational therapists’ deft management of the temporal dimension of therapist-client interactions.

According to IDEA (2004), transition services support a student’s movement from high school to a successful and productive adult life, including education or employment, independent living, and community integration (Kohler & Field, 2003). Education programs must provide evaluation and instruction in these activities, based on the individual student’s strengths, needs, and interests. Still, these youth face poor adult outcomes, including unemployment, underemployment, and lives of poverty (National Organization on Disability, 2004). Despite an obvious theoretical congruence, few occupational therapists serve secondary students’ transition needs.

The Ohio Occupational Therapy Transition Outcomes Study (Ohio-OTTO) is a mixed methods study of the process and outcomes of innovative occupation-based services in the schools. Eighteen therapists provide interventions over two years to 50, 14 year old students with high incidence disabilities. Reported here are results of the iterative qualitative analysis of monthly therapist reflective notes, monthly therapist team meetings, and therapist interviews, using HyperRESEARCH.

Interventions were original to therapists in response to the results of two evaluations, as well as the post-secondary goals set by the students’ transition teams. Peer-based groups were perceived by therapists to be the most effective approach in terms of time, cost, and level of engagement for adolescents. Group interventions used fundraising projects, internet discovery of work futures, portfolio design, IEP and disability knowledge development, job tours, job search skills, cooking, budgeting, community outings, and issue discussions on such topics as friendships, support networks, bullying, and self-advocacy. The temporal dimension of intervention was challenging. Therapists faced novel work and were required to synchronize complex and relatively inflexible multi-person and multi-location schedules. Scheduling strategies included group-based services, collaborative classes, student selection by schedule, and nontraditional scheduling.

This research offers an opportunity to consider innovative occupation-based practices within the everyday worlds of clients and targeting mandated occupational outcomes. It also raises a potent occupational justice issue: therapists’ failure to offer legally-mandated services to adolescents in their schools.