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Research Article  |   September 2005
Introducing Disability Studies to Occupational Therapy Students
Author Affiliations
  • Pamela Block, PhD, is Clinical Associate Professor, Stony Brook University, Occupational Therapy Program, SHTM, HSC L2-439, Stony Brook, New York 11794-8206; Pamela.Block@stonybrook.edu
  • Melissa Ricafrente-Biazon, MS, OTR/L, is Practicing Occupational Therapist, Rehabilitation Medicine, Jack D. Weiler Hospital, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York
  • Ann Russo, MS, OTR/L, is Practicing Occupational Therapist, Children’s Learning Center, UCP-Nassau County, Roosevelt, New York
  • Ke Yun Chu, MS, OTR/L, is Practicing Occupational Therapist, Mount Sinai Medical Services, Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, New York
  • Suman Sud, MS, OTR/L, is Practicing Occupational Therapist, Central Island Healthcare, Plainview, New York
  • Lori Koerner, MS, OTR/L, is Practicing Occupational Therapist, Just Kids Diagnostic and Treatment Center, Lindenhurst, New York
  • Karen Vittoria, MS, OTR/L, is Independent Contractor, Saint James, New York
  • Alyssa Landgrover, MS, OTR/L, is Practicing Occupational Therapist, New Interdisciplinary School, Yaphank, New York
  • Tosin Olowu, MS, OTR/L, is Independent Contractor, Jamaica, New York
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Disability and Participation
Research Article   |   September 2005
Introducing Disability Studies to Occupational Therapy Students
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2005, Vol. 59, 554-560. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.5.554
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2005, Vol. 59, 554-560. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.5.554
Abstract

This article is a work of collaborative ethnography about teaching and learning disability studies within the context of an occupational therapy graduate program. In spring 2004, 14 occupational therapy students were introduced to disability studies by their cultural anthropologist (nonoccupational therapist) course instructor. During the one-credit course, they were expected to complete readings, watch films, attend guest lectures, and make a site visit. The occupational therapy students were required to write a journal to record personal reactions and new insights gained from these experiences. This article focuses on a thematic analysis of the students’ journaled responses to the film “Dance Me to My Song,” and a site visit to a local Independent Living Center. Students were expected to analyze these experiences from both disability studies and occupational therapy perspectives. The article addresses philosophical and practical differences between occupational therapy and disability studies and identifies opportunities for collaboration between occupational therapists and independent living specialists.