The historical shift towards human rights in occupational therapy with special reference to the Capabilities Approach and its implications

Tahmineh Mousavi, Susan Forwell, Shafik Dharamsi, Elizabeth Dean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

There has been a shift in the perspective of care of people with disabilities, specifically, from an emphasis on biomedical needs for human rights. Although occupational therapists have had a tradition of empowering people's capabilities, only recently has a human rights perspective been advanced within the profession. In this review, we describe the historical shift over recent decades in approaches to rehabilitation services including occupational therapy, from traditional biomedical and social approaches to progressive socio-political and human rights approaches. Of the human rights approaches, Nussbaum's Capabilities Approach appears particularly consistent with contemporary occupational therapy professional values and perspectives. Further, its systematic adoption has implications for teaching and research as well as practice in occupational therapy. The integration of a human rights approach, such as the Capabilities Approach, within occupational therapy would clearly align occupational therapy with human rights initiatives of the United Nations and World Health Organization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-87
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Federation of Occupational Therapists Bulletin
Volume71
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Capabilities approach
  • Human rights
  • Occupational therapy
  • Rehabilitation services

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