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Occupational performance needs of school-aged children with physical disabilities

1993 - 1995

Investigators & Staff

  • N Pollock
  • D Stewart

Funding Agency

Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation - $10,000 (1993-1995)

Summary

The purpose of this study was to examine the needs of young school-aged children with physical disabilities, as identified by 202 parents, teachers and children using the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM). A priority was placed by these individuals on problems relating to mobility, socialization, written work, play, dressing and toileting.

Over the past several years there have been major shifts in the delivery of occupational therapy services to children with physical disabilities. Services have moved from centre or clinic-based to school-based. Direct care has been largely replaced by consultation, and an adaptive model has overtaken more traditional remedial approaches. These shifts appear to have been made largely in response to system changes, fiscal constraints and the integration of more students with special needs into the regular stream. The changes do not appear to have been driven by client need, but rather therapist and system needs.

The purpose of this study was to increase our understanding of the occupational performance needs of young school-aged children with physical disabilities in the school system and the community, as well as to identify how occupational therapists can help to meet those needs. Using the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM), 202 parents, teachers and children were interviewed and the top priority problems were identified. In-depth interviews with 18 parents and teachers provided additional information about needs, ideas for change and the role that therapists can play in meeting those needs. The interview respondents also provided valuable feedback on the COPM.

For more details on this project, please refer to:

  • Pollock, N., & Stewart, D. (1998). Occupational performance needs of school-aged children with physical disabilities in the community. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 18 (1), 55-68.

Impact

  • Findings are being used to plan school-based programs
  • Provides clear directions for service delivery planning
  • Suggests that the recent shift from centre- and clinic-based to school-based OT is a good one that will meet the needs of the children.