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Bendixen and Kreider (2011)

Dr Carolyn DunfordDr Carolyn Dunford shares her thoughts on the review of occupational therapy research in the practice area of children and youth by Roxanna Bendixen and Consuelo Kreider

Bendixen and Kreider (2011) reviewed occupational therapy research relevant to children and youth published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy during 2009-2010. They examined the extent to which the research reflected the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Centennial Vision (AOTA, 2007) using the frameworks of the International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health-Children and Youth (ICF) (World Health Organisation, 2007) and Positive Youth Development (PYD) which aims to facilitate achievement of development tasks and milestones. Forty-six articles were examined with the majority investigating the ICF constructs of body functions and activity and the PYD area of improving competence. The authors found that many studies based on body functions and activities left the reader to presume that these new found skills resulted in increased participation in real life situations for the children and young people. They exhort occupational therapists to “push beyond the development of competence and activity performance toward participation.” This sends a strong message to all researchers to consider how we measure outcomes that represent our fundamental philosophy and belief around the importance of occupation. This will enable us to demonstrate the power of occupational therapy to enable children and young people with disabilities to live full and meaningful lives.

Dr Carolyn Dunford, Head of Research, The Children's Trust, Tadworth, Surrey, UK.


American Occupational Therapy Association (2007) AOTA’s Centennial Vision and executive summary. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61, 613-614

Bendixen, R.M., Kreider C.M. (2011) Review of occupational therapy research in the practice area of children and youth. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, 352-359. Doi:10.5014/ajot.2011.000976.

World Health Organisation (2007) International Classification of Functioning Health and Disability – Children and Youth. World Health Organisation; Geneva  http://apps.who.int/classifications/icfbrowser/Default.aspx