Friday, May 09, 2008

Measurement issues in pediatric occupational therapy

We talk here a lot about evidence based practice, the need for better science in our assessments and intervention, and professional responsibility to make sure all these things happen. On a daily basis we work toward a better 'science' of occupational therapy while at the same time maintaining a close connection to our 'art.' After all, we are often talking about our connections with real people and how we can best offer help.

I feel that we are making some changes in the way we think about these issues in our profession, because I hear more and more people talking about real participation and our goals of assuming or resuming normal occupational behaviors. I've been thinking about this topic all week, and now I am kicking myself twice for not going to the national conference this year. Through the grapevine I am hearing about Dr. Wendy Coster's Slagle lecture and how she talked about measurement issues. I wish I was able to hear her lecture now. Instead, I have to wait for the AJOT article...

Anyway, I ran across a little newspaper article in an Australian paper that caught my eye - it seems to encapsulate the issues I am referencing here. I don't know that we can norm the number of birthday parties that kids participate in, but I wonder if we can develop data about degrees of social participation that contribute to culturally-accepted quality of life measures. That's an awful tall order - but maybe we can get there someday. We will be better occupational therapists when we do.

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