Abstract

This study is a narrative analysis of the life history of Dale, a 25-year-old man with a learning disability who received sensory integrative treatment in early childhood. The analysis revealed that Dale’s self likely developed through occupational engagement with three interconnected themes: “my mother said” and “parental tricks”; “adrenaline surges” and “hell-raising”; and work, “deal making,” and self-construction. These themes depict Dale’s self-construction, character development, occupation selection, and adaptation. In addition, these themes revealed how his parents used principles based on his sensory needs and learning problems to organize his childhood occupations and assist with his adaptation. The concept of occupational metamorphosis is also proposed to describe a person’s search for and selection of occupations that satisfy biological and sensory needs. This study supports the idea that the complex nature of adaptation can be revealed through an occupational history, and that adaptation is multifaceted and not absolute.

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