The nature of psychosocial occupational therapy in the public school: An ethnographic study
One of the top ten emerging practice as reported by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is psychosocial occupational therapy. The purpose of this research was to examine the psychosocial practice of the school-based occupational therapist. The intent of this study was to provide qualitative data to identify and analyze the extent of the occupational therapist's understanding and application of psychosocial occupational therapy in meeting the needs of the students in special education.
The first study (Chapter II), a pilot study, utilized a structured interview method to investigate the understanding and practice of psychosocial occupational therapy within the public school setting. The aim was to develop a grounded set of interview questions used to survey a representative sample of school-based occupational therapists. Five themes emerged from the data analysis. The need to complete a more in-depth interview process was identified.
The second study (Chapter III) utilized a structured interview to identify the extent of the special education administrators understanding of the school-based therapist in meeting the psychosocial needs of the students in special education. This study explored the special education administrator's perceived understanding of the therapist's role in meeting a student's psychosocial needs, and the therapist's psychosocial educational background and training. Five themes emerged from the data analysis.
The third study (Chapter IV) utilized a structured interview to identify and analyze the extent of the occupational therapist's understanding and application of psychosocial occupational therapy in meeting the needs of the students in special education. This study explored the occupational therapist's perception of their psychosocial educational background, and existing training needs in psychosocial occupational therapy. Six themes emerged from the data analysis.
Chapter V presents conclusions and implications for these research studies. It includes a summary of significant findings, relevance to the Occupational Adaptation frame of reference, implications for occupational therapy, and recommendations for future research. Future research is needed to develop psychosocial training manuals and psychosocial continuing education units for the school-based occupational therapist. Future research to explore the occupational curriculum of occupational therapy higher education institutions regarding level of psychosocial and school-based training is warranted.