Title

Exploring the Occupational Aspirations of Youth with Motor Impairments

Location

Soo Line

Start Time

18-10-2014 1:45 PM

End Time

18-10-2014 2:15 PM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Abstract

Introduction: Adolescence is the stage between childhood and adulthood when youth begin to develop their occupational aspirations. Adolescence is often marked by increased stress due to changes such as physical maturation, brain development, increased desire for independence, and planning for future (Casey et al., 2010). Youth with motor impairments (YMI) face additional uncertainties as they develop aspirations within a society that may not be accessible to them due to various societal factors, such as stereotyping, prejudice, and lack of supports and accommodations (King & Cathers, 1996). YMI have had limited opportunity to share their stories of their occupational aspirations and to explore them over the life course. Objective: This study explored the occupational aspirations of YMI as they moved through life transitions, such as college and looking for employment. Methods: A narrative inquiry approach was used to frame this study for which participant stories were gathered as data. One participant engaged in a series of three interviews each with their own focus, and six published autobiographies were reviewed for narrative content applicable to the study. Narrative analysis was used to combine events and weave a coherent narrative of the stories that provided new information and a deeper understanding of the seven participants’ experiences (Bailey & Jackson, 2003). Results: An overarching narrative, occupational aspirations, captured participants’ experiences of pursuing their prospective life goals. Three sub-narratives (Everyday Adaptations, Perceptions of Self and Disability, and Connectedness) woven across the life stages shaped the development of the occupational aspirations for YMI. Conclusion: This study provides a deeper understanding of occupational aspirations and reveals it as a dynamic and evolving construct. The participants viewed their impairments as a part of their identity and were able to enact adaptations to fully engage in their everyday occupations. Understanding disability as a result of activity limitations and participation restrictions is more congruent with how YMI perceive their impairment. Viewing impairment in this way, society is challenged by these individuals to create a more inclusive, accessible environment (Shakespeare, 1996).

References

Key words: youth, occupational aspirations, motor impairments

Bailey, D. M., & Jackson, J. M. (2003). Qualitative data analysis: Challenges and dilemmas related to theory and method. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57, 57-65. doi: 10.5014/ajot.57.1.57

Casey, B. J., Jones, R. M., Levita, L., Libby, V., Pattwell, S. S., Ruberry, E. J., . . . & Somerville, L. H. (2010). The storm and stress of adolescence: Insights from human imaging and mouse genetics. Developmental Psychobiology, 52, 225-235. doi:10.1002/dev.20447

King, G., & Cathers, T. (1996). What adolescents with disabilities want in life: Implications for service delivery. Hamilton, ON: McMaster University, Neurodevelopmental Clinical Research Unit. Retrieved from http://www.canchild.ca/en/canchildresources/adolescentswithdisabilities.asp

Shakespeare, T. (1996). Disability, identity and difference. Exploring the Divide, 94-113.

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Oct 18th, 1:45 PM Oct 18th, 2:15 PM

Exploring the Occupational Aspirations of Youth with Motor Impairments

Soo Line

Abstract

Introduction: Adolescence is the stage between childhood and adulthood when youth begin to develop their occupational aspirations. Adolescence is often marked by increased stress due to changes such as physical maturation, brain development, increased desire for independence, and planning for future (Casey et al., 2010). Youth with motor impairments (YMI) face additional uncertainties as they develop aspirations within a society that may not be accessible to them due to various societal factors, such as stereotyping, prejudice, and lack of supports and accommodations (King & Cathers, 1996). YMI have had limited opportunity to share their stories of their occupational aspirations and to explore them over the life course. Objective: This study explored the occupational aspirations of YMI as they moved through life transitions, such as college and looking for employment. Methods: A narrative inquiry approach was used to frame this study for which participant stories were gathered as data. One participant engaged in a series of three interviews each with their own focus, and six published autobiographies were reviewed for narrative content applicable to the study. Narrative analysis was used to combine events and weave a coherent narrative of the stories that provided new information and a deeper understanding of the seven participants’ experiences (Bailey & Jackson, 2003). Results: An overarching narrative, occupational aspirations, captured participants’ experiences of pursuing their prospective life goals. Three sub-narratives (Everyday Adaptations, Perceptions of Self and Disability, and Connectedness) woven across the life stages shaped the development of the occupational aspirations for YMI. Conclusion: This study provides a deeper understanding of occupational aspirations and reveals it as a dynamic and evolving construct. The participants viewed their impairments as a part of their identity and were able to enact adaptations to fully engage in their everyday occupations. Understanding disability as a result of activity limitations and participation restrictions is more congruent with how YMI perceive their impairment. Viewing impairment in this way, society is challenged by these individuals to create a more inclusive, accessible environment (Shakespeare, 1996).