FluidCommunity Meeting Notes (April 11, 2018) - Disability Policy

Community Meeting Notes (April 11, 2018) - Disability Policy


Presenters: Rachel Heeb



  • 1 billion individuals living with some form of disability world wide
  • OTs work with closely with those with disabilities in many contexts (clinical, research and policy settings; facilitating independence and addressing barriers for individuals with disabilities)
  • The problem
    • gaps in existing literature between disability policy and occupational therapy practice
    • Occupational therapy could serve a huge role in disability policy but the political landscape of each nation and the potential role of OT in policy is still under-researched; future opportunities at the moment are unknown
  • Long term goal and purpose
  • Significance
    • throughout the last 50 years perspectives have shifted away from a medical model toward a social model where disability is a state that needs to be "fixed"; perspectives are aligning with the social model emphasizing how disability is the result of how society is organized and is a mismatch of the individual and their environment
  • Universal vs Contextualization
    • Effective policy is typically adapted to fit a specific context; if everyone adopted the same perspective of disability how would this affect policies?
    • There are nuances and contexts embedded in each culture and the intentions of policies can be better shaped for cultural needs
    • Focus on the individual strengths of the individual rather than deficiencies
  • AOTA's Vision 2025
    • collaboration and leadership
    • emphasize the provision of care for all people.
    • expand reach of the OT profession and clarify the OT role and articulate what opportunities will be available in the next decades
  • OT and disability policy can and do work well together
  • Design: Exploratory mixed methods pilot study
    • CRPD was used to analyze the legislation of different countries
      • looked at which codes each country prioritize the most (equality and non-discrimination, participation in political and public life, education, personal mobility, accessibility)
    • identified the gaps between the central policy documents of each nation and the practice of OTs
    • NVivo was used to do thematic coding using the UNCRPD articles as codes
      • word occurrence
      • thematic
      • data modeling
    • For the Canadian Policy
      • "definitions" is the highest coded
      • "rights" and "respect" were the most frequent words
    • For the US
      • "Accessibility" is the most coded
      • "individuals", "disabilities", "accessible", and "transportation" were the most frequent words
    • The OT definition across countries were similar
      • empowerment model vs medical model
    • A proposed model of OT's role in disability 
      • capacity build, empowerment, promotion of accessibility and involvement, evaluation or feedback
      • People with disabilities have the best knowledge about what policies should look like for people with disabilities
      • SEE: Disability Policy
    • Key takeaways
      • US policy rooted in medical model
      • Canadian policy is progressing towards empowerment and social models
      • OTs in both countries are forward thinking and progressive
      • OTs have a role to play