Perspectives on Disability and Rehabilitation
Contesting Assumptions, Challenging PracticeBy
- Karen Hammell
Published: February 2006
Imprint: Churchill Livingstone
Dr Hammell's book is a breath of fresh air. Books like this, that are extremely thought provoking and provide avenues of thinking that are different and relevant, are rare. Her work indeed contests assumptions; assumptions about disability, rehabilitation, and our place in understanding and working within our own contextualization of these concepts. It challenges those of us who "practise" in the area of rehabilitation to delve to a depth of intellectual rigor that is rarely asked of us. We are not left wondering what to do with the beliefs that have become inherent in our thoughts and actions are provided with many alternatives to the ways we approach and do our work.
This book is an advanced scholarly treatise, with extensive background research woven into each paragraph and almost every sentence. However, it is written with such clarity that it is accessible to all of us. Topics range from "Normality and the classification of difference" to "Client-centred philosophy: exploring privilege and power". The level of challenge to us is exemplified in a sentence in the chapter that addresses client-centred philosophy: "Ideologies of professionalism justify, legitimate and privilege professionals and reinforce their power". the final section in the chapter is "Striving for non-disabling professionalism: the ethical dilemmas", which helps us to further consider some of the salient issues of client-centred practice.
The book provides us with the opportunity to critically consider our own biases and thoughts and gives us avenues of action to take that may be different from ones we have used previously. My suggestions for readers of this review are: buy the book; read it carefully and thoroughly; think critically about your assumptions; confront the underpinnings of your own practice; and debate the myriad of concepts with others for whom these ideas are relevant.
Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Volume 74, 2007.