Title

Transition: The occupation of changing occupations

Location

Rock Island

Start Time

18-10-2014 2:55 PM

End Time

18-10-2014 3:25 PM

Session Type

Theoretical Paper

Abstract

Scholars in occupational science have emphasized occupational transitions as important aspects of the life course (Shaw & Rudman, 2009). Referring to the reformatting of current occupations and the acquisition of new occupations as people leave and begin stages throughout their lives, occupational transition characterizes a period of time, as well as a process, in which occupations change. The construct of transition also carries weight in the practices of the United States’ educational system. For example, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act mandates development of a post-school transition plan beginning at age 16 for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This plan maps out the changes involved in leaving secondary school.

While both theory and practice of transition appreciate changing occupations, there exists a strong disconnect in how we think about transition and how we address it in practice. For example, occupational scientists have evidenced the process of transition in research on occupational transitions (e.g., Arnold, Shaw, & Landry, 2009; Shaw & Rudman; Pettican & Prior, 2011), while the transition plan in secondary education has merely become an outcome product that ends abruptly before the transition is even complete. The connection of theory and practice can be fostered through appreciation of transition as occupation in and of itself. This novel concept gives the theoretical construct of transition a practical application.

This theoretical paper explores transition as occupation through connection of past international discourse on occupational transitions with current research of the transitional experiences of students with IDD. It asks and discusses the question, “Can the process of changing occupations be occupation in and of itself?” In doing so, this paper makes the case that the understanding of transition as occupation can support effective transitional experiences for young adults with IDD. Further, it offers a refreshed perspective for research on transition in occupational science.

This paper is relevant to the aims of occupational science because it encourages scholarly discourse about the occupational experiences of transition for youths with IDD. Further, it joins current research with past occupational science literature to inform future scholarship on transition processes across the lifespan and around the world. Thirdly, it addresses Shaw and Rudman’s (2009) call to address the multiple facets of the transition process in transition research.

References

  1. Arnold, C., Shaw, L., & Landry,G. (2009). Using metaphors to study occupational transitions: a case study of an injured worker with multiple chemical sensitivity. Work, 32(4), 467-475.
  2. Shaw, L., & Rudman, D. L. (2009). Using occupational science to study occupational transitions in the realm of work: From micro to macro levels. Work, 32(4), 361-364
  3. Pettican, A., & Prior, S. (2011). 'It's a new way of life': An exploration of the occupational transition of retirement. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(1), 12-19.
  4. Humphry, R. (2005). Model of Processes Transforming Occupations: Exploring societal and social influences. Journal of Occupational Science, 12(1), 36-41
  5. Dickie, V., Cutchin, M., & Humphry, R. (2006). Occupation as transactional experience: a critique of individualism in occupational science. Journal of Occupational Science, 13(1), 83-93.

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Oct 18th, 2:55 PM Oct 18th, 3:25 PM

Transition: The occupation of changing occupations

Rock Island

Scholars in occupational science have emphasized occupational transitions as important aspects of the life course (Shaw & Rudman, 2009). Referring to the reformatting of current occupations and the acquisition of new occupations as people leave and begin stages throughout their lives, occupational transition characterizes a period of time, as well as a process, in which occupations change. The construct of transition also carries weight in the practices of the United States’ educational system. For example, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act mandates development of a post-school transition plan beginning at age 16 for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This plan maps out the changes involved in leaving secondary school.

While both theory and practice of transition appreciate changing occupations, there exists a strong disconnect in how we think about transition and how we address it in practice. For example, occupational scientists have evidenced the process of transition in research on occupational transitions (e.g., Arnold, Shaw, & Landry, 2009; Shaw & Rudman; Pettican & Prior, 2011), while the transition plan in secondary education has merely become an outcome product that ends abruptly before the transition is even complete. The connection of theory and practice can be fostered through appreciation of transition as occupation in and of itself. This novel concept gives the theoretical construct of transition a practical application.

This theoretical paper explores transition as occupation through connection of past international discourse on occupational transitions with current research of the transitional experiences of students with IDD. It asks and discusses the question, “Can the process of changing occupations be occupation in and of itself?” In doing so, this paper makes the case that the understanding of transition as occupation can support effective transitional experiences for young adults with IDD. Further, it offers a refreshed perspective for research on transition in occupational science.

This paper is relevant to the aims of occupational science because it encourages scholarly discourse about the occupational experiences of transition for youths with IDD. Further, it joins current research with past occupational science literature to inform future scholarship on transition processes across the lifespan and around the world. Thirdly, it addresses Shaw and Rudman’s (2009) call to address the multiple facets of the transition process in transition research.