Research and education – striving towards developing the occupational therapy of the future for the occupational therapists of the future

I am very interested in issues to do with education and research in occupational therapy. To be able to contribute, in different ways, to the development of the occupational therapy of the future, for the occupational therapists of the future, is a vocation that is very dear to my heart. 

This future encompasses knowledge-based professional practice which is relevant to society and based on a person-centred approach, but which has also shifted its focus to new contexts where occupational therapy knowledge and competence are used to a greater extent on a societal level as well. High-quality research carried out from an activity perspective is a prerequisite for such a future.

Research profile
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Creating possibilities for people with intellectual disabilities to participate in their everyday life and society is something I feel very strongly about. 

Most of my time as a professional has been spent working with this target group, at first as an occupational therapist in the municipality and later in my thesis project.

My theoretical research profile is marked by an interdisciplinary knowledge base that includes occupational therapy as well as disability studies and critical social gerontology.

My methodological research profile is dominated by qualitative empirical studies, and includes competence in the interview as well as participant observation methods with informants who have a lifelongintellectual disability.

Methodological and research-ethical reflections on carrying out research interviews with individuals who have an intellectual disability are elements of what I regard as a particularly significant competence in my research profile.



Ageing and participation

I am involved in the research project “Ageing and participation among individuals with intellectual disabilities living in group housing”.

The aim of the project is to explore ageing and participation among older people with intellectual disability who live in a group homes. It is included in the research theme – Activity and participation among older people – within occupational therapy research at the Department of Social and Welfare Studies (ISV).

The project, which is due to be completed during 2015/2016, is based on qualitative interviews with and participant observations of older people living in group homes under the Act concerning Support and Service for Persons with Certain Functional Disabilities (LSS), as well as with staff and managers working there. The results of the project show that there are differences between how older people with an intellectual disability themselves experience being old and ageing, and how this is described by the housing unit’s staff.

Research project
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Pedagogic activity and reflection
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My main teaching commitments are in occupational therapy at bachelor and master levels, on the Occupational therapy programme.

I have taught occupational therapy at Linköping University since 2006.

The principal subject content of the teaching can be related to my research field and to the concepts of participation, older people and ageing, as well as intellectual disabilities, but teaching has also dealt with more general subjects such as occupational science, evidence-based occupational therapy, clinical reasoning, work processes and scientific methodology. I have a special interest in teaching about how occupational therapy can contribute to an equal and sustainable welfare society.

Student-centred learning is a fundamental element for me as I consider it a prerequisite for developing the abilities, skills and approaches that lead to employability. In my view it is also by means of their own proactive conduct that students achieve this.

By setting out from a problem-based pedagogy, with scenarios or cases based on real situations that the students are likely to encounter in their future professional practice, learning becomes concrete and meaningful, and students’ development of a professional identity begins already during their studies.

In my view, the possibility of interprofessional training modules with students from other relevant professional training programmes, such as physiotherapists, engineers, speech therapists or social workers, contributes further towards this development. I mean that my task as teacher is to facilitate students’ learning by creating curiosity about and preparedness for the future, in the academic subject of occupational therapy as well as in professional practice.

I regard it as important to link occupational therapist training to research during the first cycle as well as the second cycle. To be curious and try to contribute to the development of new knowledge, even as a senior lecturer, is in my view an important foundation for being a good teacher who stimulates student-centred learning among the occupational therapists of the future.

Thesis
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Participation (also) in old age 

I defended my academic dissertation for the degree of doctor of philosophy in February 2015 at the National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life (NISAL). The thesis is entitled Delaktig (även) på äldre dar. Åldrande och delaktighet bland personer med intellektuell funktionsnedsättning som bor i gruppbostad. (”Participation (also) in old age. Ageing and participation among people with intellectual disabilities living in group homes”.)

The thesis was based on qualitative interviews with and participant observations of older people living in a group homes under the Act concerning Support and Service for Persons with Certain Functional Disabilities (LSS), as well as with staff and managers working there.

The results of this thesis show that there is a discrepancy between how older people with intellectual disabilities experience ageing and later life and how these in turn are described by the staff. The thesis also reveals how aging and becoming old is not given particular attention to in everyday discussions in the group home, and that aging is understood mainly as a physical phenomenon. The results show that the formal organizational culture of the group home is weak in relation to ageing and becoming old with intellectual disability. This is because the staff perceives a lack of preparation, discussion and working methods on how to support participation among older residents. The results also show, however, that the residents’ age does play an important role for the staff’s perceptions and attitudes regarding participation of the older residents.

The concept of participation is described and operationalized as a social contextual doing, and as an aspiration to create a sense of coherence or experience of meaning and security at home. Finally, this thesis underlines that the life course unique to persons growing old with intellectual disabilities may influence the opportunities for and the experience of participation in the group home.

Bokomslag

CV and appointments
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CV

Education

  • Occupational therapist diploma, Linköping University 1999
  • MSc, Linköping University 2006
  • PhD, Linköping University 2015

Employment

  • Registered occupational therapist, Stockholm City June 1999-August 2006
  • Lecturer, Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies (ISV), Occupational therapy programme August 2006-August 2008
  • Doctoral student at Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies (ISV), National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life (NISAL) September 2008-June 2015
  • Senior Lecturer, Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies (ISV), Occupational Therapy programme July 2015-ongoing 

 

Appointments

  • President of the Swedish Association of Occupational Therapists
  • Swedish delegate to the World Federation of Occupational Therapists 
 

Publications
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Selected publications
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Selected publications
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Collaboration with researchers in Occupational therapy
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Related content
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