Strategies for Collaborating With Children: Creating Partnerships in Occupational Therapy and Research

Clare Curtin, PhD, OTR
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ISBN 13:
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Book Description

Strategies for Collaborating With Children: Creating Partnerships in Occupational Therapy and Research applies client-centered and strengths-based theories to pediatric practice. The text is organized using a research-based conceptual model of collaboration. Within this text, there are detailed descriptions of how to engage and work with children aged 3 to 12 years, from the beginning to the end of therapy.

Dr. Clare Curtin covers a variety of topics, such as how to interview children, involve them in defining the purpose of therapy, and develop self-advocacy. Similarly presented is the therapist’s role as a guide in setting respectful limits, teaching self-regulation, avoiding power struggles, and co-creating educational experiences that are challenging and fun. Strategies for Collaborating With Children: Creating Partnerships in Occupational Therapy and Research advocates for children's rights and participation in therapy and research. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the new sociology of childhood, and childhood studies are discussed. Also included are children's perspectives on what therapists should know and what children said they might be thinking at each stage of therapy. The last chapter focuses on methods to enhance children’s participation in research, including adaptations for children with disabilities.

Unique features:
  • Describes a new research-based model of collaboration with children
  • Incorporates children’s views and knowledge about therapy
  • Illustrates the use of client-centered and strengths-based theories as well as child-friendly approaches within pediatric practice
  • Provides over 1,600 practical strategies that are exemplified by stories with actual dialogue
  • Describes ways to involve children throughout the research process
  • Identifies verbal, visual, and activity-based participatory research methods for eliciting children's voices, including creative ways to involve children with different levels of abilities
  • Includes review questions at the end of each chapter
Instructors in educational settings can visit for additional material to be used for teaching in the classroom.
Strategies for Collaborating With Children: Creating Partnerships in Occupational Therapy and Research delivers a comprehensive resource for collaborating with children for the occupational therapist, occupational therapy assistant, or any other practitioner working with children in a therapeutic setting.

More Information


About the Author
Section I             History, Theories, and Context of Collaboration With Children
Chapter 1             Historical Review of Collaboration in Occupational Therapy
Description of changes in collaboration during occupational therapy’s history and influences of
the disability rights movement.
Chapter 2             Theoretical Underpinnings of a Model of Collaboration
Description of a conceptual model of collaboration and the incorporation of client-centered and
strengths-based theories in occupational therapy with children and adults.
Chapter 3             An Ecological Approach to Enhancing Children’s Competencies and Participation
Description of (1) changes in the views of children, childhood, and development; (2) establishment
of children’s rights and childhood studies; and (3) collaborative consultation and system change.
Section II           Putting Collaboration Into Practice
Chapter 4             Introduce Yourself and Explain Therapy
Ways to match children’s desired level of interaction, describe therapy, and start conversations.
Chapter 5             Establish a Collaborative Frame
Development of a collaborative frame by (1) creating a safe place, (2) establishing a partnership,
(3) using a strengths-based approach, and (4) co-creating educational experiences.
Chapter 6             Learn About Children and Their Worlds Through Interviews
Ways to create meaningful conversations through interviews with children.
Chapter 7             Observe and Promote Stress-Free Testing
Considerations for conducting observations and methods for making testing pleasant and successful.
Chapter 8             Collaborate to Determine the Purpose of Therapy
Ways to conduct child-friendly, client-centered, and strengths-based treatment planning with
children in addition to collaborating with caregivers and educational staff.
Chapter 9             Teach Children Self-Advocacy
Methods to (1) foster self-advocacy, including assertiveness; (2) involve children in decision making
and respect their right to say no; and (3) teach them to let adults know if and when they want help.
Chapter 10           Become Partners With You as a Guide
Ways to promote therapeutic use of self and assume the role of a guide.
Chapter 11           Set Respectful Limits
Methods to (1) maintain a positive relationship while keeping children safe, helping them learn
from their actions, and allowing them to save face; and (2) get a group to settle down.
Chapter 12           Teach Children to Regulate Their Emotions, Thoughts, and Bodies
Ways to assist children with their feelings and teach strategies for calming and conflict resolution.
Chapter 13           Avoid Power Struggles
Creative approaches for preventing, circumventing, and getting out of power struggles.
Chapter 14           Co-Create Educational Experiences That Are Challenging and Fun
Methods to (1) create therapeutic learning experiences by incorporating challenge and fun factors
and (2) use child-friendly approaches for giving directions and helping children get started.
Chapter 15           Help Children Face Challenges
Ways to (1) help hesitant children start and continue; (2) teach them how to handle mistakes and
deal with losing; and (3) allow them to save face while getting assistance.
Chapter 16           Create Smooth Transitions
Methods to create routines, prepare for changes, have seamless transitions, and make therapy flow.
Chapter 17           Promote Therapeutic Endings
Ways to (1) prepare children before ending a session; (2) make clean up easy and fun;
(3) review progress; and (4) achieve closure at the end of therapy.
Chapter 18           Methods to Enhance Children’s Participation in Research
Descriptions of (1) how to elicit children’s knowledge and involve them in the research process from
the beginning to the end; (2) the use of verbal, visual, and activity-based participatory research methods; and (3) adaptations for obtaining the voices of children with disabilities and increasing their participation.
Chapter 19           Take the Road Less Traveled: One Last Story and Parting Thoughts
Appendix: Answers to the Review Questions


“I think this book fills the void and will be appreciated by seasoned practitioners and researchers every bit as by students. There is always more to learn! As well, the book is an invaluable resource for anyone mentoring/supervising therapists or trainees who are new to working with children"

               - Gail Teachman, Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy

About the Editors

Dr. Clare Curtin has been an occupational therapist for 36 years. Her degree specialties include social work, occupational therapy, rehabilitation counseling, and educational psychology. Over the years, she has helped children in hospitals, psychiatric units, day treatment programs, and preschools and elementary schools. She has also worked in an outpatient pediatric oncology clinic.
In the 1990s, she designed and completed the first in-depth study of the occupational therapy collaboration process to highlight children’s perspectives. Her research incorporated child-friendly, original, and playful participatory methods. Dr. Curtin has lectured extensively at the local, state, national, and international levels, emphasizing client-centered and strengths-based therapy. She has had intensive training in mediation, allowing her to provide expertise on resolving conflict. Throughout her career, she has advocated for children to have a voice in therapy and research. In her free time, she enjoys writing, photography, gardening, and traveling.