Because of the evolving nature of the professions involved in providing services to the developmentally disabled as mandated by PL 94-142, the potential for theoretical and programatic conflict exists. Some of the philosophical differences and similarities between occupational therapy and special education are reviewed. Two conceptual approaches to therapy and education are identified. The first approach is based on the medical model, which emphasizes diagnostic evaluation to determine the cause of a disorder and the prescription of remedial activities to alleviate the dysfunction. The second approach is the task analysis model, which emphasizes task content and behaviorally based teaching strategies and objectives. It is proposed that, through a mutual understanding and cooperative effort on the part of all professionals, the two models may be combined to provide comprehensive services to the developmentally disabled.

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