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Research Article  |   September 2005
Integrating Disability Studies Concepts Into Occupational Therapy Education Using Service Learning
Author Affiliations
  • Lynn Gitlow, PhD, OTR/L, ATP, is Director and Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy, Husson College, One College Circle, Bangor, Maine 04401; gitlowl@husson.edu
  • Kathleen Flecky, OTD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy, Husson College, Bangor, Maine
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Disability and Participation
Research Article   |   September 2005
Integrating Disability Studies Concepts Into Occupational Therapy Education Using Service Learning
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2005, Vol. 59, 546-553. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.5.546
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2005, Vol. 59, 546-553. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.5.546
Abstract

This article describes an occupational therapy educational program’s experience with service-learning courses that has fostered student learning about service to the community and disability as a multidimensional construct. Faculty-reflective perspectives about disability and ways to enhance learning about disability as a human experience are presented as an important consideration for health care education curriculum design and course development.

Through review of educational evaluation described in research on service learning, the authors used a multi-method assessment matrix to capture students’ perspectives on their service learning. The community project investigated accessibility issues that persons with disabilities encountered in social participation at community arts venues. Results from student surveys, interviews, focus groups, and journal entries indicated that service learning contributed to occupational therapy students’ appreciation and understanding about disability as an individual, environmental, and societal construct.