THE PERSPECTIVES OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY STUDENTS AND OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS ON THEIR EDUCATIONAL PREPAREDNESS TO PRACTICE WITH CHILDREN WITH NEURODEVELOPMENTAL DISORERS
Background/Purpose: There is a small body of literature examining the perceptions of occupational therapy students and graduates regarding their education preparedness for practice worldwide, but specific areas such as pediatrics have received limited attention. This study sought to explore the perceptions of Canadian occupational therapy students and graduates on the topic of their education preparedness to practice with children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Methods: Secondary analysis of survey data of 179 Canadian students in occupational therapy and 50 occupational therapists was conducted. Results: The students’ results confirmed that experience is a predictor influencing their feeling of competency. Results from graduates indicated that collaboration skills related to feelings of competency. Conclusion: The outcomes of the present study may assist occupational therapy educational programs in preparing students for entry-level practice in pediatrics and educators in continuing education. The results may have implications for educational programs, occupational therapy practice and research.