“My view that disability is okay sometimes clashes” : experiences of two disabled occupational therapists

Chacala, A, Mccormack, C, Collins, B and Beagan, BL 2014, '“My view that disability is okay sometimes clashes” : experiences of two disabled occupational therapists' , Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 21 (2) , pp. 107-115.

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Aims: While disability is the focus of much attention in occupational therapy, there has been little attention paid to disability within the profession. Disabled therapists not only bring valuable perspectives on disability, but also pose important challenges to taken-for-granted assumptions about impairment and disability within the profession. At the same time, their cultural beliefs and values may clash with core assumptions of the profession. Methods: This study analyses interview data from two disabled occupational therapists, part of a larger study with cultural minority therapists. Semi-structured interviews explored their experiences of professional practice in the context of societal belief in the superiority of non-disabled and “normal” ways of doing and being. Major findings: Some cultural values of participants clashed with the values and beliefs of their profession, particularly concerning independence. Negative attitudes of colleagues and managers were the key barriers to practice. The responsibility for bridging the disabled/non-disabled cultural divide rested with the disabled therapists, exacerbating inequity. Nonetheless, these therapists believed their disability experiences had advantages for practice. Conclusions: Disabled therapists may be required to engage in invisible work to communicate across cultural differences, and to educate others. Respectful openness to difference could enhance the practice competence of both disabled therapists and their non-disabled colleagues. This demands critical reflexive attention to ableism within the profession.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Journal or Publication Title: Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1103-8128
Related URLs:
Depositing User: USIR Admin
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2020 10:16
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:42
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/57571

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