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Occupational Therapy 1940 - 1969 By Genevieve Cyrs, Claire Kelly, Allie Taylor, & Patricia Wong.

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Presentation on theme: "Occupational Therapy 1940 - 1969 By Genevieve Cyrs, Claire Kelly, Allie Taylor, & Patricia Wong."— Presentation transcript:


2 Occupational Therapy 1940 - 1969 By Genevieve Cyrs, Claire Kelly, Allie Taylor, & Patricia Wong

3 The 1940s World War II- increased demand for OTs Changes in Occupational Therapy Education The Structure and Focus of Occupational Therapy Medical Advancements Important Individuals: Clare Spackman, Helen Willard, Wilma West

4 World War II Large numbers of injured soldiers Women working

5 Growth in OT schools Accreditation Expansion- 1947: USC introduces first Master’s Degree program Revision of Essentials for accreditation  1943: More flexibility in areas of therapeutic training  1949: Increased biological sciences requirement

6 Occupational Therapy Move away from Arts & Crafts Movement  Positive attitude towards work Patients are motivated through personal interests & material goods  Goals: 1. Meet person’s interests and abilities 2. Use activity with physical/mental objective

7 Medical Model Disability is deficiency or abnormality Disability is negative Disability is in the individual body Remedy for disability-related problems: cure or normalization Change strategy: surgery, medication, medical technology and intervention Agent of remedy: the professional Independence seen as individual physical, cognitive, and mental ability to perform and capacity to make decisions (Willard & Spackman, p. 871)

8 OT Practical Design Medical model & influence on field of occupational therapy Self-repair activity discounted in favor of conceptions in psychology, physiology and anatomy Redefinition of mission & emergence of a new paradigm

9 Advances in Medicine Antibiotics- penicillin and streptomyocin Vaccinations Improvement in healthcare quality Federal government funds research and passes laws regarding delivery of healthcare Life expectancy increases

10 Head of orthopedics occupational therapy at the Walter Reed General Hospital 1943-4 Wilma West

11 Helen Willard & Clare Spackman

12 1947: Publication of first OT textbook


14 The 1950s Post-war Effects Social Context: Women’s Roles, Civil Rights Movement Polio Epidemic The Structure and Focus of Occupational Therapy Treatment of Mental Health WFOT Important Individuals: Dr. Howard Rusk

15 Post-war Effects Baby boom Economic prosperity

16 Women’s Roles Housewife- ideal of femininity Discouraged from working Continued to work, mostly in low paying jobs (“pink-collared work”)

17 Civil Rights Movement early 1950s Korean War- desegregation of armed forces 1954: Brown v. Board of Education- Supreme Court rules segregation unconstitutional, desegregation of schools Non-violent protests  Civil disobedience 1955-56: Rosa Parks and Montgomery Bus boycotts

18 Poliomyelitis Known as Infantile Paralysis Most cases of polio are symptom-free When the virus enters the blood stream, it attacks the CNS causes muscle weakness & paralysis of the legs Bulbar polio affects nerves responsible for breathing, swallowing and speech

19 Polio in the Media

20 In 1952, there were 57,000 cases of polio in the US Targeted children from 5-9 years old 21,000 permanent paralysis 3,000 deaths 1955: the Salk Vaccine is distributed in mass quantities Children of the 1950s are today’s baby boomers “Plague Season”

21 OT Practical Design The Mechanistic Paradigm emerges More Freudian-based psychological treatment of patients Disability viewed as abnormal expression of repression within Incorporation of neurological knowledge into practice

22 OT Methodology Change Practice of splinting and prescribing adaptive devices flourished Discrete analysis of requirement needed for activity Emphasis on the patient returning to healthy functioning Respect for objective measurement and scientific precision gained Functional knowledge related to internal processes and body structure applied

23 Dr. Howard Rusk Established the Institute of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine Wrote and gave speeches about expanded idea of rehabilitation Increased medical and public knowledge of physical and occupational therapy

24 Working with Mental Patients Do not work on causative factors of behaviors—correct symptoms Do not stress activity over relationship with patient Use graduation & persuasion to overcome distasteful habits Select tasks within ability level to assure success Give patient choice of activity Develop patient’s sense of responsibility Hold “community sing”

25 Video Mental Health Rehabilitation in 1950sMental Health Rehabilitation in 1950s

26 World Federation of Occupational Therapists Founded in 1952 1959: WFOT entered into relations with WHO Mission: To promote occupational therapy as an art and science To develop and use occupational therapy worldwide International cooperation

27 WFOT Focus Program Areas: Education & research Standards & quality International Cooperation Executive programs Promotion & development

28 USA United Kingdom Canada South Africa Sweden New Zealand Australia Israel India Denmark WFOT 1952

29 WFOT 1969 USA United Kingdom Canada South Africa Sweden New Zealand Australia Israel India Denmark Belgium France Germany Netherlands Norway Philippines Portugal Switzerland Venezuela

30 1950s OT changes 1956: Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) position created 1958: Pi Epsilon Theta founded at UNH


32 The 1960s Social Context: Civil Rights Movement Continues, Women’s Empowerment The Structure and Focus of Occupational Therapy Medicare/Medicaid Important Individuals: Gail Fidler, Mary Reilly, Wilma West, Elizabeth Yerxa, A. Jean Ayres

33 Civil Rights Movement Presidents Kennedy and Johnson set tone by making civil rights a priority of their administration Nonviolent protests continue  1960: sit-in protests 1964: Civil Rights Act passed- outlaws discrimination based on race

34 Women’s Liberation Movement 1964: Civil Rights Act- outlaws sex discrimination Empowerment of women  More educated  More economically secure  More willing speak up about their ideas

35 OT Practical Design Occupational therapy clarified in accordance with the medical model Pathological conditions better understood Use of technology to intercede with dysfunction increased

36 OT Practical Conflict Field in conflict Occupational therapy had turned from holistic foundation toward concrete scientific rationale Interventions mechanized, losing meaning in favor of achieving purpose

37 Call for a new Paradigm? Occupational therapy valued with respect to conformity with the medical model Many therapists had difficulty adjusting to the approach of the medical model Practitioners not united A realization that the profession needed to ameliorate its differences was recognized

38 Wilma West President of AOTA from 1961 to 1964 Wanted to address changing needs of society and adapt OT accordingly Wanted OT to have a new role of “health agent” Founded American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF)

39 Mary Reilly Active in the 1960s Re-evaluation of mechanistic model Advocated a more interdisciplinary approach

40 1960s Changes More work with pediatrics and developmental delays Beginning of de-institutionalization  Working to integrate formerly institutionalized clients into society as independent and productive members

41 Medicare/Medicaid Established in 1965- Inpatient occupational therapy services covered

42 Elizabeth Yerxa “the scientific attitude is not incompatible with concern for the client as a human being but may be one of the best foundations for acting upon that concern” Advocate of client choices

43 Gail Fidler Wanted to recognize the professional commitment to learning, critical thinking, and creativity Advocated teaching more than just technical skills

44 A. Jean Ayres Developed sensory integration approach Influenced by Piaget

45 Influences from the 40s-60s that we see today Occupation-based therapy Client has choices De-institutionalization


47 Thank you! Any questions?

48 References Abrams, R.M. (2006). America transformed: Sixty years of revolutionary change, 1941-2001. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Cole, M.B. & Tufano, R. (2007). Applied theories in occupational therapy: a practical approach. Retrieved from Dunton Jr., W. R. & Licht, S. (1957). Occupational Therapy: Principles and Practice (2 nd ed.). Springfield, IL: Bannerstone House. Fidler, G. S. & Fidler, J. W. (1954). Introduction to Psychiatric Occupational Therapy. New York City: Macmillan Publishing Co. Fidler, G. S. & Fidler, J. W. (1963). Occupational Therapy: A Communication Process in Psychiatry. New York City: Macmillan Publishing Co. Gilbert, J. (1981). Another chance: Postwar America, 1945-1968. Philadelphia, PA: TempleUniversity Press. Gillon, S.M. (2007). The American paradox: A history of the United States since 1945. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. Gordon, D.M. (2009). The history of occupational therapy. In E.B. Crepeau, E.S. Cohn, & B.A.B. Schell (Eds.), Willard and Spackman’s occupational therapy (11 th ed., pp. 202-215). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Hammel, J., Charlton, J. Jones, R., Kramer, J., Wilson, T. (2009). From disability rights to empowered consciousness. In Crepeau, E.B., Cohn, E.S., & Boyt Schell, B.A. (Eds.), Willard and Spackman’s Occupational Therapy (11 th ed). (868-887). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. Kearney, Pamalyn. (2004). The influence of competing paradigms on occupational therapy education: A brief history. Retrieved from Kielhofner, G. (1992). Conceptual Foundations of Occupational Therapy. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Co. Marcus, R.D., & Burner, D. (Eds.). (1972). America since 1945. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press. Reilly, M. (1985). The 1961 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture: Occupational therapy can be one of the great ideas of 20th century medicine in AOTA (Ed.), A Professional Legacy: The Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectures in Occupational Therapy, 1955-1984, (pp. 87-105). Rockville: AOTA. Retrieved from

49 References The American Occupational Therapy Foundation. (2009). Mission, Vision, Goals, & Strategic Plan. Retrieved from The History of Occupational Therapy. (n.d.) Retrieved from Willard, H.S., & Spackman, C.S. (Eds.). (1954). Principles of Occupational Therapy (2 nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippincott Company. Willard, H. S. & Spackman, C. S. (1963). Occupational Therapy (3 rd ed.). Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co. Photographs/Video: Gordon, D.M. (2009). The history of occupational therapy. In E.B. Crepeau, E.S. Cohn, & B.A.B. Schell (Eds.), Willard and Spackman’s occupational therapy (11 th ed., pp. 202-215). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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