School Based Occupational Therapists: An exploration into their role in a Cape Metropole Full Service School

Amshuda Sonday, Kerry Anderson, Catherine Flack, Cathy Fisher, Jennifer Greenhough, Rachel Kendal, Carmen Shadwell

Abstract


School based occupational therapists within the South African context are faced with the challenge of extending their roles within inclusive education. 

The following article describes a research study that was conducted by a group of fourth year occupational therapy students in 2006. The purpose of the research was to explore the current role and develop a future perspective for school-based occupational therapists in an inclusive education system in a full service school in the Cape Metropole area. A qualitative phenomenological approach was followed, where semi structured interviews and focus groups were the methods of data collection.

Data was transcribed and analysed inductively using content analysis.The article expands on the following two themes, namely the unclear existing role of the occupational therapist in inclusive schools and diverse and evolving attitudes towards inclusive education. The themes highlight the attitudes and perceptions of teachers, parents and an occupational therapist on inclusive education and explore the possibilities of emerging and transforming roles for occupational therapists willing to engage in this inclusive process. 

Key Words: Inclusive Education, Full service schools, Roles, Occupational therapist


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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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