Play and play occupation: a survey of paediatric occupational therapy practice in Ireland
Emerald Publishing Limited
Purpose: Play occupation has been identified as an essential part of children’s lives, and it subsequently features in paediatric occupational therapy. However, few studies address the current place of play and play occupation in occupational therapy practice. This study aims to address this gap in knowledge by exploring paediatric occupational therapists’ perspectives on the place of play and play occupation in occupational therapy practice in Ireland. Design/methodology/approach: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted to gather data about the current use of play in the occupational therapy for children under 12 years. Convenience sampling and snowball recruitment techniques were used to recruit paediatric occupational therapists. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and qualitative content analysis. Findings: In total, 65 therapists responded to the survey (estimated response rate, 32%). Results are organised into four sections: demographics and practice context, play assessment practices, use of play in practice and perceived barriers to play-centred practice. Respondents reported that they valued play as a childhood occupation. However, the survey findings identified that the primary focus was on play as a means to an end. Lack of education on play (research, theory and interventions) and pressures in the workplace have been identified as barriers to play-centred practice. Research limitations/implications: Findings indicate that there is a mismatch between therapists valuing play as an occupation and how play is used in occupational therapy practice. Unless clarifications are made about play occupation as being different to skills acquisition in childhood, play occupation will continue to get overlooked as an authentic concern of occupation-centred practice. Thus, play as occupation deserves further attention from educators, researchers and practitioners as a means of strengthening occupation-centred practice, in particular play-centred practice in the paediatric context. Originality/value: Play has been described as an important occupation in childhood, and consequently, it features in paediatric occupational therapy. However, little is known about the current place of play in occupational therapy practice. This study addresses this gap by considering the current place of play in occupational therapy practice in Ireland.
Quantitative , Play occupation , Children’s occupational therapy
Alice, M. and Helen, L. (2018) 'Play and play occupation: a survey of paediatric occupational therapy practice in Ireland', Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy, 46(1), pp. 59-72. doi: 10.1108/IJOT-08-2017-0022
© Alice Moore and Helen Lynch. Published in Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode