Collaboration with teachers: a survey of South Australian occupational therapists' perceptions and experiences.

Australian occupational therapy journal

PubMedID: 22448995

Kennedy S, Stewart H. Collaboration with teachers: a survey of South Australian occupational therapists' perceptions and experiences. Aust Occup Ther J. 2012;59(2):147-55.
BACKGROUND/AIM
Early intervention and the development of integrated coordinated services in schools has created a greater need for effective collaboration between health and education professionals. The present study aimed to explore South Australian occupational therapists' perceptions and experiences of collaboration with school teachers in providing services to kindergarten and school-aged children.

METHODS
A survey was employed to capture the perceptions and experiences of 45 occupational therapists, working with kindergarten and school-aged children in South Australia. Descriptive exploratory statistical analysis of the data obtained was performed using SPSS version 17, followed by thematic analysis for extended text responses to compile and identify predominant themes.

RESULTS
The results indicated a high level of consensus among participants for what constitutes collaborative practice, low levels of implementation indicated that differences exist between perceptions and experiences of best practice. Participants showed ambivalence about the success of, and satisfaction with, their own collaborative practice.

CONCLUSIONS
The present study has confirmed consistency with existing literature that the best practice principles for collaboration are not implemented in the field. The findings have implications for current practice to address the challenges of collaborative work. Further research into the efficacy of collaboration and investigation of appropriate models and systems, which support collaboration is proposed to facilitate best practice in South Australia.