An Occupation-Centered Discussion of Development and Implications for Practice

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Abstract

Children's learning to do everyday activities seems so obvious that the mechanisms bringing about the development of occupations remain essentially unstudied. Therefore, occupational therapy uses developmental models from other disciplines as foundation for practice. We specialists in childhood occupations need a theory-based and empirically tested body of knowledge about the processes leading to change to inform practice and guide interventions during efficacy studies. One body of knowledge about developmental mechanisms views change as originating from within the child and informs practice centered on changing the child. Given the inseparable nature of children and their social environments and daily activities, we introduce the philosophy of contextualism and outline a potential body of knowledge about a change process that is occupation centered. An intervention arising from a contextual perspective illustrates how this way of thinking leads to occupation-centered practice that uses multiple strategies and supports a child's occupation with social participation with peers.

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