OTs should Challenge Occupational Deprivation

Occupational Therapy Australia’s recent position paper spells out why OTs are professionally obliged to challenge policies, practices, and funding regimes that deny people meaningful occupations of their own choosing.

Tomas Grieb from Washington, USA enjoys fishing in his Extreme X8.

For people stuck in the wrong wheelchair, the inability to get out and occupied with meaningful activities can have serious consequences. According to the OTA’s position paper on occupational deprivation, these can include “psychological and physical illness, impairment, and reduced productivity”.

OTA provides examples of positive action that OTs can take, including:

“building awareness of occupational deprivation through dialogue, reflection on practice, listening to clients’ experiences, communities of practice, and research”. (p4). Click here for further information.

We need to speak out about the serious mental health consequences of occupational deprivation

Views from the Chair encourages OTs around the world to speak out against short-sighted, narrowly defined funding regulations that limit access to occupation-enabling powered mobility.

We ask you to listen to your clients’ experiences of occupational deprivation caused by limited mobility. Encourage them to share them in public forums like Views from the Chair.

At very least, we urge all OTs to review the paper and consider what it means for people whose capacity for meaningful occupation depends largely on the quality of their powerchair.

Would you participate in a study about your experiences of indoor-outdoor accessibility?

Are you deprived of the opportunity to pursue meaningful occupations because you’re trapped indoors? Have you come out the other side thanks to improved indoor-outdoor mobility? If so, we’d encourage you to register your interest here to participate in a further case study to support this Views from the Chair initiative.