Title

Poster Session - Family occupational engagement: Opportunities to promote resilience in young children who experience homelessness

Location

New River Rooms A & B

Start Time

2-10-2015 8:00 PM

End Time

2-10-2015 9:00 PM

Abstract

Background and Rationale: The United States reported 2.5 million homeless children in 2013. This 36% increase in the last decade represented one out of every 30 children (Bassuk et al., 2014). Children who were homeless or highly mobile (HHM) likely lived with a single mother, who experienced mental health problems, abuse or sustained trauma. Up to 26 % of preschool and 40% of school age children needed mental health services and showed delays in foundational skills of executive function and self-regulation (Herbers et al., 2014) critical for learning and participation at home and in school (Masten et al, 2014). Children who are homeless experience developmental risks, yet many demonstrate resilience, an adaptive response in the face of risk. Resilience displays adaptive feature that include at least one committed caregiver and child self-regulation (Cutuli & Herbers, 2014). These resilience factors support responsive “parent-child co-occupations” and meaningful “child occupational engagement”. Statement of Intent: Constructs of parent-child co-occupations to enhance resilience in children who are HHM will be shared from the author’s practice and research with families in transitional shelter living. Examples will describe an occupational science framework that highlights individual, family and collective community-based practice and social policy work in family homelessness. Argument: Supporting families in shelter programs ideally builds on the cultural capacities within families such as strong caring relationships provided by not only mothers, but also extended kin, and community members. Care giving is protective when it is responsive, sensitive and positive. Protective care giving can be further enhanced by a two generation approach to family support that emphasizes cultural strengths in promoting health (Lombardi et al., 2014). This, in turn builds resilience, diminishes risks and increases occupational potential in children who are homeless. This trajectory of support in families and children enhances lifespan health. In addition, the two generation approach builds a young child’s social inclusion, through parental support of a child’s increased complexity in daily occupations such as self care, literacy and play. This facilitates children’s capacities for executive function and self-regulation skills, key occupational strategies to foster successful social and school inclusion. Importance to Occupational Science: Occupational science and occupational therapy address family co-occupations “of and in natural environments” (Cutchin, 2012) to better understand and inform occupationally just and best practice in HHM children’s occupational development and future social inclusion. Conclusion: Children who are homeless face many obstacles to health promotion and educational success. Yet many children exhibit resilience despite adversity. Occupational science compels researchers to observe meaningful inter-connectedness in the study of mother and child occupations that can facilitate resilience in young children who experience homelessness. Thus, mother-child co-occupations are important scenarios to explore in the situated sphere. Furthermore, they provide insight for interdisciplinary policy and intervention agendas to address the social needs and occupational possibilities (Rudmin, 2006) of mothers and young children who experience homelessness.

Learning Objectives

1. Identify children’s self-regulation, social skills, and behavior challenges in homeless and highly mobile families.

2. Describe risk and resilience in the development of occupational performance for participation in young children who experience homelessness.

3. Discuss the importance of reciprocal, responsive caregiving, child self-regulation and family co-occupations that promote resilience in children who are homeless or highly mobile.

Three Key Words: homelessness, resilience, participation

References

  1. Bassuk, E., De Candia, C., Beach C. & Berman, F. (2014). America’s youngest outcasts. A report card on child homelessness. Waltham. MA. National Center on Family Homelessness at American Institutes for Research. Retrieved 12 March 2015 at http://www.homelesschildrenamerica.org/mediadocs/280.pdf
  2. Cutchin, M. (2012). The art and science of occupation: Nature, inquiry and the aesthetics of living. Journal of Occupational Science, iFirst, 1-12.
  3. Cutuli, J. J. & Herbers, J. E. (2014). Promoting resilience for children who experience family homelessness: Opportunities to encourage developmental competence. Cityscape, 16, 113-139.
  4. Masten, A. S., Cutuli, J. J., Herbers, J. E., Hinz, E., Obradovic, J., & Wenzel, A. J. (2014). Academic risk and resilience in the context of homelessness. Child Development Perspectives, 8, 4, 201-206
  5. Rudman, D.L. (2006). Occupational terminology: Occupational possibilities. Journal of Occupational Science,17(1), 55-59.

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Oct 2nd, 8:00 PM Oct 2nd, 9:00 PM

Poster Session - Family occupational engagement: Opportunities to promote resilience in young children who experience homelessness

New River Rooms A & B

Background and Rationale: The United States reported 2.5 million homeless children in 2013. This 36% increase in the last decade represented one out of every 30 children (Bassuk et al., 2014). Children who were homeless or highly mobile (HHM) likely lived with a single mother, who experienced mental health problems, abuse or sustained trauma. Up to 26 % of preschool and 40% of school age children needed mental health services and showed delays in foundational skills of executive function and self-regulation (Herbers et al., 2014) critical for learning and participation at home and in school (Masten et al, 2014). Children who are homeless experience developmental risks, yet many demonstrate resilience, an adaptive response in the face of risk. Resilience displays adaptive feature that include at least one committed caregiver and child self-regulation (Cutuli & Herbers, 2014). These resilience factors support responsive “parent-child co-occupations” and meaningful “child occupational engagement”. Statement of Intent: Constructs of parent-child co-occupations to enhance resilience in children who are HHM will be shared from the author’s practice and research with families in transitional shelter living. Examples will describe an occupational science framework that highlights individual, family and collective community-based practice and social policy work in family homelessness. Argument: Supporting families in shelter programs ideally builds on the cultural capacities within families such as strong caring relationships provided by not only mothers, but also extended kin, and community members. Care giving is protective when it is responsive, sensitive and positive. Protective care giving can be further enhanced by a two generation approach to family support that emphasizes cultural strengths in promoting health (Lombardi et al., 2014). This, in turn builds resilience, diminishes risks and increases occupational potential in children who are homeless. This trajectory of support in families and children enhances lifespan health. In addition, the two generation approach builds a young child’s social inclusion, through parental support of a child’s increased complexity in daily occupations such as self care, literacy and play. This facilitates children’s capacities for executive function and self-regulation skills, key occupational strategies to foster successful social and school inclusion. Importance to Occupational Science: Occupational science and occupational therapy address family co-occupations “of and in natural environments” (Cutchin, 2012) to better understand and inform occupationally just and best practice in HHM children’s occupational development and future social inclusion. Conclusion: Children who are homeless face many obstacles to health promotion and educational success. Yet many children exhibit resilience despite adversity. Occupational science compels researchers to observe meaningful inter-connectedness in the study of mother and child occupations that can facilitate resilience in young children who experience homelessness. Thus, mother-child co-occupations are important scenarios to explore in the situated sphere. Furthermore, they provide insight for interdisciplinary policy and intervention agendas to address the social needs and occupational possibilities (Rudmin, 2006) of mothers and young children who experience homelessness.

Learning Objectives

1. Identify children’s self-regulation, social skills, and behavior challenges in homeless and highly mobile families.

2. Describe risk and resilience in the development of occupational performance for participation in young children who experience homelessness.

3. Discuss the importance of reciprocal, responsive caregiving, child self-regulation and family co-occupations that promote resilience in children who are homeless or highly mobile.

Three Key Words: homelessness, resilience, participation