Purpose: Pediatric occupational therapy and physical therapy interventions for children with disabilities are designed to increase function and often focus on developmental skills instead of on the environmental context and promoting self-determination skills. A professional development course was developed to help therapists develop intervention strategies to meet developmental outcomes, while also promoting children's self-determination and creating opportunities for children to authentically participating in daily routines, including leisure and community play. Transformative learning theory was used as a basis to develop this course. The purpose of this article is to report on course activities and the assessment of participants' "transformation" at the completion of the course. Method: A pre-test/post-test design was used to determine whether participants in this course (n=3) had made transformations in their habits of mind when designing client goals, intervention plans and recommendations for a fictional case study of a child with a disability. Results: Participants wrote pre-test goals that focused on building skill in typical developmental sequences; whereas post-test goals focused on using strengths the child had and changing the environment to encourage authentic participation of the child. In addition post-test goals and interventions focused on determining the child's preference and choice about activities to participate in. Pre-test referrals were for equipment and other programs to address skill development; while post-test referrals focused on play and recreation opportunities. Conclusion: Following completion of a course using transformative learning strategies, participants demonstrated changes in habits of mind upon completion of a post-test case study in which goals, interventions, and referrals were more consistent with themes of the course including self-determination and authentic participation.
Cahill SM, Bulanda M. Using Transformative Learning Theory to Enhance Professional Development. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2009 Jan 01;7(1), Article 12.