Research Article  |   March 2019
“The Bigger Picture”: Occupational Therapy Practitioners’ Perspectives on Disability Studies
Author Affiliations
  • Jenna L. Heffron, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY; jheffron@ithaca.edu
  • Danbi Lee, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Laura VanPuymbrouck, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Rush University, Chicago, IL.
  • Alisa Jordan Sheth, MS, OTR/L, is PhD Candidate, Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • Jacqueline Kish, MS, OTR/L, is PhD Candidate, Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Multidisciplinary Practice / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 2019
“The Bigger Picture”: Occupational Therapy Practitioners’ Perspectives on Disability Studies
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2019, Vol. 73, 7302205100p1-7302205100p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2019.030163
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2019, Vol. 73, 7302205100p1-7302205100p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2019.030163
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. This qualitative study explored occupational therapy practitioners’ perspectives about integrating principles from the field of disability studies (DS) into clinical education and practice.

METHODS. After a conference presentation about DS, three simultaneous focus groups were conducted with 27 occupational therapy practitioners. A constant comparative, grounded-theory approach was used to identify themes across groups.

RESULTS. Identified themes included convergences and divergences between the profession of occupational therapy and the field of disability studies, influence of perspectives of disability on service delivery, clinician navigation of systemic barriers, and incorporation of DS-aligned intervention strategies into practice.

CONCLUSION. Despite points of alignment, occupational therapy has not fully addressed DS critiques. Practitioners recognized professional, systemic, and societal barriers and the need for more educational experiences, resources, and professional reflexivity and dialogue to inform the integration of DS concepts into practice.