"We found [in our national survey of occupational therapists] that efforts to foster family-centered intervention in occupational therapy educational programs are increasing therapists' confidence and skills in working with parents of children with disabilities."
Pediatric health professionals and educators often feel that the time they spend working with a child is more important than time spent with parents. As a result of the 20-plus years that Jim Hinojosa has spent learning about professional-parent relationships, he has come to question the validity of that view.
Using a wide range of both qualitative and quantitative research design, Hinojosa has examined these complex relationships from both the parent and therapist perspective. Recently, he worked with a group of graduate students to complete a national survey to identify occupational therapists' current attitudes and values in their working relationships with parents of preschool children with developmental disabilities. “We found,” says Hinojosa, “that efforts to foster family-centered intervention in occupational therapy educational programs are increasing therapists’ confidence and skills in working with parents of children with disabilities.”
Hinojosa also involved graduate students in a qualitative study of what happens when parents of school-aged children assist their children so that they can complete their homework. This study examined homework as activities that occur within the context of family life. Intensive interviews with parents of children with and without disabilities provided rich data on the challenges families face with regard to homework.
In addition to his research in parent-therapist relationships, Hinojosa has an extensive record of publications, including five textbooks, and has published over 90 articles or chapters.
He has presented and conducted numerous workshops throughout the United States and Canada. Hinojosa has served as chairperson of the Commission on Practice of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), on the Executive Board of AOTA, and on the Board of Directors of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. Currently, he serves as the member-at-large on AOTA’s Commission on Continuing Competence and Professional Development.
In recognition of his leadership, the American Occupational Therapy Association presented him with their highest honor, the Award of Merit.
Hinojosa is committed to preparing therapists and educators who are committed to quality intervention that reflects the client and family needs and values. As an educator, Hinojosa believes that occupational therapy is continually evolving to respond to society's needs. “Changes in society are requiring that occupational therapy address the needs of minorities, the poor, the chronic ill, and the elderly,” say Hinojosa. “To be effective, occupational therapists must work in collaboration with other health professionals and educators to develop interventions that are effective. This is a really exciting time to be an occupational therapist. Occupational therapists are in demand - - providing skills for the job of living.”