Elizabeth A. Harrison, Alisa Jordan Sheth, Jacqueline Kish, Laura H. VanPuymbrouck, Jenna L. Heffron, Danbi Lee, Lisa Mahaffey, The Occupational Therapy and Disability Studies Network; Disability Studies and Occupational Therapy: Renewing the Call for Change. Am J Occup Ther 2021;75(4):7504170010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2021.754002
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
Disability studies (DS) is an interdisciplinary field grounded in a minority studies philosophy that approaches disability as a socially constructed phenomenon. The first special issue of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy on DS was published in 2005. The present issue serves as a follow-up to highlight opportunities for and examples of DS integration into occupational therapy education, research, and practice. Studies in this special issue reflect a DS approach to research that prioritizes lived experiences, critical approaches, and participatory methodologies. Reported interventions focus on changing societal barriers rather than remediating individual impairments and acknowledge instrumental activities of daily living often neglected by traditional research. Studies on educational practices in occupational therapy have found persistent issues around negative attitudes toward disability and many opportunities to better infuse disabilities studies into curricula. Revisiting DS as it applies to occupational therapy has shown that many of the issues and considerations raised in 2005 remain in the field today. Recommendations across articles in this special issue highlight that advocacy and working for broader social change are essential for occupational therapy practitioners, given ongoing occupational injustices for people with disabilities. Infusing DS ideas into occupational therapy can promote greater alignment with priorities of disability communities and spur professional change to dismantle oppressive structures and ideologies.
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