Title

Occupational engagement and self-determination: Connections for individuals with intellectual disabilities

1

Location

Regency Room

Start Time

1-10-2016 1:30 PM

End Time

1-10-2016 2:30 PM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Statement of purpose: Adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) are at risk for occupational alienation if not afforded necessary supports and occupational experiences (Mahoney, Roberts, Bryze, & Kent-Parker, 2016). Access to meaningful occupational experiences requires self-determination, one’s intentional actions and choice-making to influence one’s life (Wehmeyer, 2005). The connection between occupation and self-determination is insufficiently discussed with individuals with intellectual disabilities (i.e., Channon, 2013), although occupational scientists have considered how similar constructs such as recovery from mental illness are related to occupational engagement (Sutton, Hocking, & Smythe, 2012). This study sought to describe how adults with ID express self-determination when engaging in occupation and explore the constructs of self-determination and occupational engagement in a vulnerable population.

Description of methods: This study was a secondary analysis of data from 3 qualitative studies on occupational engagement for adults with ID. By analyzing existing data, the amount of data and variety of experience was maximized. Data were 60 observation field notes and 44 Volitional Questionnaire observation forms with 36 adults with ID at two adult day programs. Using constant comparative analysis and multiple strategies for trustworthiness, the researchers coded, discussed, and developed themes to describe how adults with ID demonstrate self-determination while engaging in occupation.

Report of results: Adults with ID expressed self-determination through Social Interaction and a Continuum of Involvement. They interacted with their peers and caregivers and approached activities in different ways to create changes in their environment. When adults with ID demonstrated intense occupational engagement, whether enthusiastic, high engagement or complete disengagement, they demonstrated self-determination clearly and often successfully influenced their situation. When their occupational engagement was less intense and they were reluctantly or half-heartedly involved in occupations, their self-determination was less clear, and they needed more support and others’ interpretation of their actions to influence their environment and create desired change.

Implications related to occupational science: This study found an explicit connection between the level of occupational engagement adults with ID demonstrate, the way they express self-determination, and the amount of support required for effective self-determination. This link to occupational engagement is not recognized in the intellectual disabilities literature although self-determination is a key construct within that literature. Additionally, occupational science would benefit from explicitly considering support for self-determination as a means to ameliorate potential occupational alienation. This study demonstrates the contribution that occupational science can make to another discipline through explicit studies about occupation and other key constructs.

Discussion questions to further occupational science concepts and ideas:

This study considered occupational engagement as a range of involvement in occupation that included positive, neutral, and negative experiences and demonstrated potential benefits of negative experiences in terms of the effectiveness of one’s self-determination. How can future research studies similarly ensure that broad occupational experiences are included and avoid limiting themselves to a view of occupation as inherently positive?

Self-determination is a major construct in intellectual disabilities literature. What are other key constructs in non-OS/OT literature that could benefit from an explicit study of their relationship to occupation?

When connecting key constructs from different disciplines, what are considerations for research dissemination (i.e., different audiences and venues) and language use (especially the use of “occupation”)?

Key words: occupational engagement, self-determination, intellectual disability

References

Channon, A. (2013). Intellectual disability and activity engagement: Exploring the literature from an occupational perspective. Journal of Occupational Science, 21(4), 443–458. http://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2013.829398

Mahoney, W. J., Roberts, E., Bryze, K., & Kent-Parker, J. (2016). Occupational engagement and adults with intellectual disabilities. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70(1), 7001350030p1–7001350030p6. http://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.016576

Sutton, D. J., Hocking, C. S., & Smythe, L. A. (2012). A phenomenological study of occupational engagement in recovery from mental illness. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 79(3), 142–150. http://doi.org/10.2182/cjot.2012.79.3.3

Wehmeyer, M. L. (2005). Self-determination and individuals with significant disabilities: Examining meanings and misinterpretations. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 30(3), 113–120. http://doi.org/10.2511/rpsd.30.3.113

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Oct 1st, 1:30 PM Oct 1st, 2:30 PM

Occupational engagement and self-determination: Connections for individuals with intellectual disabilities

Regency Room

Statement of purpose: Adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) are at risk for occupational alienation if not afforded necessary supports and occupational experiences (Mahoney, Roberts, Bryze, & Kent-Parker, 2016). Access to meaningful occupational experiences requires self-determination, one’s intentional actions and choice-making to influence one’s life (Wehmeyer, 2005). The connection between occupation and self-determination is insufficiently discussed with individuals with intellectual disabilities (i.e., Channon, 2013), although occupational scientists have considered how similar constructs such as recovery from mental illness are related to occupational engagement (Sutton, Hocking, & Smythe, 2012). This study sought to describe how adults with ID express self-determination when engaging in occupation and explore the constructs of self-determination and occupational engagement in a vulnerable population.

Description of methods: This study was a secondary analysis of data from 3 qualitative studies on occupational engagement for adults with ID. By analyzing existing data, the amount of data and variety of experience was maximized. Data were 60 observation field notes and 44 Volitional Questionnaire observation forms with 36 adults with ID at two adult day programs. Using constant comparative analysis and multiple strategies for trustworthiness, the researchers coded, discussed, and developed themes to describe how adults with ID demonstrate self-determination while engaging in occupation.

Report of results: Adults with ID expressed self-determination through Social Interaction and a Continuum of Involvement. They interacted with their peers and caregivers and approached activities in different ways to create changes in their environment. When adults with ID demonstrated intense occupational engagement, whether enthusiastic, high engagement or complete disengagement, they demonstrated self-determination clearly and often successfully influenced their situation. When their occupational engagement was less intense and they were reluctantly or half-heartedly involved in occupations, their self-determination was less clear, and they needed more support and others’ interpretation of their actions to influence their environment and create desired change.

Implications related to occupational science: This study found an explicit connection between the level of occupational engagement adults with ID demonstrate, the way they express self-determination, and the amount of support required for effective self-determination. This link to occupational engagement is not recognized in the intellectual disabilities literature although self-determination is a key construct within that literature. Additionally, occupational science would benefit from explicitly considering support for self-determination as a means to ameliorate potential occupational alienation. This study demonstrates the contribution that occupational science can make to another discipline through explicit studies about occupation and other key constructs.

Discussion questions to further occupational science concepts and ideas:

This study considered occupational engagement as a range of involvement in occupation that included positive, neutral, and negative experiences and demonstrated potential benefits of negative experiences in terms of the effectiveness of one’s self-determination. How can future research studies similarly ensure that broad occupational experiences are included and avoid limiting themselves to a view of occupation as inherently positive?

Self-determination is a major construct in intellectual disabilities literature. What are other key constructs in non-OS/OT literature that could benefit from an explicit study of their relationship to occupation?

When connecting key constructs from different disciplines, what are considerations for research dissemination (i.e., different audiences and venues) and language use (especially the use of “occupation”)?

Key words: occupational engagement, self-determination, intellectual disability