Disability in the media for rehabilitation professionals: a pilot program to foster reflective practice
Mazel, Lauren R.
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Disability in the Media for Rehabilitation Professionals: A Pilot Program to Foster Reflective Practice is an innovative program that seeks to encourage rehabilitation professionals at a private pediatric practice to engage in thoughtful discussion about tropes about children with disability. The program will utilize various media sources in order to address the problem of a lack of reflective practice among many rehabilitation professionals and the prevalence of negative tropes about children with disabilities (CWDs), which negatively impact therapeutic relationships and therapeutic outcomes for CWDs. It draws upon extensive literature and evidence from two bodies of knowledge — journal clubs and effective strategies for teaching and fostering reflective practice. The use of journal clubs for independent professional development and skill acquisition has been studied and shown to be effective across many medical fields, including rehabilitation professions such as occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, and physical therapy. Strategies for addressing and reflecting on bias within health care, often with a focus on racial, weight, or age biases, have also been a topic interest within the literature as a way to address health disparities that are associated with bias by health care providers. Using the theoretical lenses of social constructionism and cultivation theory, the proposed program seeks to bring together these two fields of evidence in a unique way to address the threat of biases against people with disabilities within rehabilitation. Program content and structure are outlined, as well as best practice for group logistics and bias reduction strategies. A plan for funding, implementing, disseminating, and expanding the reach of the program is outlined.