Occupational Therapy & People with Intellectual Disability from Diverse Cultural Backgrounds

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Occupational Therapy & People with Intellectual Disability from Diverse Cultural Backgrounds

Individual values are important in healthcare and it is important for providers to understand the concept of cultural competence to provide cross-cultural therapy for all clients. Francisco and Carlson (2002) pioneered a qualitative research study to determine how cultural differences and language barriers affect the quality of care within the realm of occupational therapy (OT). This study used the findings of many Occupational Therapists (OTs) to address the experiences, concerns, and tactics that were seen most frequently when working with intellectually disabled people from culturally diverse backgrounds of Queensland, Australia. The questions the authors examined in the course of this study included the experiences and problems OT’s face in this setting, the approaches utilized to address these issues, and how theoretical models contribute to best practice. Semi-structured focus group discussions and semi structured telephone interviews were used to determine common thematic patterns observed in the field. Six notorious themes that emerged were: working with people from non English speaking background; working with people from an indigenous background; communication issues; access to services and information; provision of services; and theory and practice (Francisco & Carlson, 2002). This study identified issues that have not been seen in other studies such as differences in accepting services, how home service conditions affects cultural identity, and disability’s impact on communication. This information will help the profession develop a solid foundation for culturally-sensitive therapy.

Francisco and Carlson point to the importance of being able to provide quality service to a vast array of patients from different cultural backgrounds through examples. They noted two unique issues. That OTs need to be able to meet the needs of the...
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