Exploring the lived experience of being an occupational therapy student with additional support requirements.
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractAbstract. This study explored the lived experience of being an occupational therapy student with additional support requirements. Individuals with disabilities have the right to access education and have unique skills and attributes which are highly desirable within Health and Social Care professions. The number of students with disabilities undertaking Health and Social Care programmes is increasing and Universities have sought to improve facilities, resources and support for these students. However, Occupational Therapy education which is truly inclusive remains elusive (Jung et al, 2008). No previous research exploring this phenomenon has been completed within the United Kingdom. Two small scale studies in USA (Velde et al, 2005) and in Canada (Jung et al, 2014) have been previous published, alongside a number of autobiographical descriptions of individual’s personal experiences of OT education from those with disabilities (Archer, 1999; Bennett, 1989; Guitard and Lirette, 2005; Sivanesan, 2003). However, the age and predominant international context limits applicability within the UK. Unlike previous studies, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to investigate the phenomenon of being an Occupational Therapy student with a disability, from the individual’s unique perspective. Viewing each individual participant as a unique occupational being allowed me to reveal findings which have been previously unidentified and unexplored. This study illuminated a journey that all participants experienced as they engaged in the occupation of studying to become an Occupational Therapist. The journey was described by two participants using the metaphor ‘a rollercoaster’ and this became the overarching theme. Other themes generated from individual participant journeys, as described in their own words, were ‘like a bull at a gate’, ‘that was when the bubble burst’, ‘heal thy self’ and the ‘world is my oyster’. The findings indicated that there was a therapeutic benefit of studying to become an Occupational Therapist for those who had successfully completed the programme. Whilst never the original intention of the research, when interpreting the findings, I was drawn to how the concepts within Model of Human Occupation (MOHO) (Kielhofner, 1985) were evident within each participant’s journey and thus applied MOHO to each individual. It is recommended that further research is undertaken to explore if the findings of this study are only applicable to those who participated in the study or if studying Occupational Therapy is indeed therapeutic and the Model of Human Occupation is applicable to all students who study OT with or without additional support requirements.
CitationRushton, T. (2018) 'Exploring the lived experience of being an occupational therapy student with additional support requirements.', University of Derby [EdD Thesis].
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