Disability studies seeks to reframe rehabilitation’s understanding and responses to disability. Disability scholars point out that rehabilitation’s perspectives and practices are not objective, but instead reflect particular historical and ideological forces. By demonstrating how rehabilitation practitioners can unintentionally do things that are unhelpful or even harmful, disability scholars challenge the profession of occupational therapy to reconsider aspects of practice, education, and research.

In order to provide a context for a special issue devoted to disability studies, this paper examines disability studies’ major critiques of rehabilitation and considers their implications for occupational therapy. The paper identifies ways that occupational therapy can continue to respond reflectively to the themes of disability studies. It also identifies a number of questions raised by disability studies that will need to be addressed in practice, education, and research.

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