Kelly Leigers, Christine Myers, Colleen Schneck; Social Participation in Schools: A Survey of Occupational Therapy Practitioners. Am J Occup Ther 2016;70(5):7005280010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.020768
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
OBJECTIVE. We sought to identify strategies and practices that school-based occupational therapy practitioners use in addressing social participation, their perceptions of competence, and factors influencing their strategies and practices.
METHOD. Surveys were sent to 500 randomly selected members of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Early Intervention and School Special Interest Section; 112 usable surveys were received from 36 states.
RESULTS. Respondents reported focusing on internal client factors when addressing social participation. Fewer than half (46.5%) indicated that they understood their role (mean [M] = 4.23, standard deviation [SD] = 1.22), and 57.1% desired greater understanding or ability (M = 4.64, SD = 1.29). Differences were found based on years of experience, service delivery model used, and services provided by diagnosis category.
CONCLUSION. School-based occupational therapy practitioners may need to expand their current practices in addressing student social participation. Findings may be used to develop interventions to address this area of practice.
Educate people on their team and in the school community about the valued role of occupational therapy in school-based mental health,
Implement best practice in working with people within the social context of students with disabilities (e.g., teachers, support staff, peers) to facilitate their social participation,
Collaborate with administrators in supporting schoolwide initiatives and programs that support students of all abilities and advocate for changes in policy and procedures, and
Assess social participation needs and provide appropriate intervention as needed (e.g., during transitions, in and out of the classroom, by adapting physical and social contexts) regardless of the student’s disability label.
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