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Editorial  |   September 2005
Rethinking Disability and What To Do About It: Disability Studies and Its Implications for Occupational Therapy
Author Affiliations
  • Gary Kielhofner, DrPH, OTR/L, is Professor and Wade-Meyer Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1919 West Taylor (MC 811), Chicago, Illinois 60612; kielhfnr@uic.edu
Article Information
Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / From the Guest Editor
Editorial   |   September 2005
Rethinking Disability and What To Do About It: Disability Studies and Its Implications for Occupational Therapy
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2005, Vol. 59, 487-496. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.5.487
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2005, Vol. 59, 487-496. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.5.487
Abstract

Disability studies seeks to reframe rehabilitation’s understanding and responses to disability. Disability scholars point out that rehabilitation’s perspectives and practices are not objective, but instead reflect particular historical and ideological forces. By demonstrating how rehabilitation practitioners can unintentionally do things that are unhelpful or even harmful, disability scholars challenge the profession of occupational therapy to reconsider aspects of practice, education, and research.

In order to provide a context for a special issue devoted to disability studies, this paper examines disability studies’ major critiques of rehabilitation and considers their implications for occupational therapy. The paper identifies ways that occupational therapy can continue to respond reflectively to the themes of disability studies. It also identifies a number of questions raised by disability studies that will need to be addressed in practice, education, and research.