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Cadernos Brasileiros de Terapia Ocupacional

On-line version ISSN 2526-8910

Cad. Bras. Ter. Ocup. vol.26 no.3 São Carlos July/Sept. 2018 

Reflection Article/Essay

Construction of a singular academic path and its dialogues with Occupational Therapy

Claudia Maria Simões Martinez1 

1Departamento de Terapia Ocupacional, Universidade Federal de São Carlos - UFSCar, São Carlos, SP, Brasil.


The text of this essay comes from the writing of the academic memorial prepared to meet the norms and internal procedures of the Federal University of São Carlos - UFSCar in the accomplishment of the public contest for promotion to class E - Full Professor of the Career of the Higher Magisterium of the Department of Occupational Therapy of UFSCar. I understood the moment of writing the memorial as an opportunity to express the singularity of my journey and I seek to socialize it here. I dedicated my writing to the people with whom I live and lived through the meaningful interactions that enabled my engagement in academic life. I understand this essay as an opportunity to divulge a personal narrative that is fruit of introspection, reflection, recovery, and recording of facts, composition of a bank of memories about my personal experience, recognition of advances and difficulties in the dialogue with the scientific field, thanks to the people, but above all, the resignification of my academic trajectory, at this moment with more than 30 years at UFSCar. I chose to elaborate this record based on personal and academic experiences through associations of the aspects of family life with the choice of profession, of the formative processes with the course of the professional life and of the resignification of the academic experiences.

Keywords: University; Occupational Therapy; Teaching; Research; Extension; Management


O texto deste ensaio tem origem do memorial acadêmico para atender às normas e aos procedimentos internos da Universidade Federal de São Carlos - UFSCar na realização do concurso público para promoção à classe E - Professor Titular da Carreira do Magistério Superior - do Departamento de Terapia Ocupacional da UFSCar. Compreendi o momento da redação do referido memorial como oportunidade de expressar a singularidade do meu percurso e busco aqui socializá-lo. Dediquei sua redação às pessoas com quem convivo e convivi pelas interações significativas que possibilitaram meu engajamento na vida acadêmica. Entendo este ensaio como oportunidade de divulgar uma narrativa pessoal fruto de introspecção, de reflexão, de retomada e registro de fatos, de composição de um banco de memórias sobre minha experiência pessoal, de reconhecimento de avanços e dificuldades no diálogo com o campo científico, de agradecimento às pessoas, mas, acima de tudo, de ressignificação da minha trajetória acadêmica, neste momento com mais de 30 anos na UFSCar. Optei por elaborar este registro partindo de vivências pessoais e acadêmicas por meio de associações dos aspectos da vida familiar com a escolha da profissão, dos processos formativos com o curso da vida profissional e da ressignificação das vivências acadêmicas.

Palavras-chave: Universidade; Terapia Ocupacional; Docência; Pesquisa; Extensão; Administração

1 Introduction

Since childhood, I have had a special and enthusiastic look at everyday life. My father and his brothers inherited a furniture industry from my grandfather, located next to my house. To produce furniture, from the arrival of the raw wood until the elaboration of the final product, in our backyard, filled me with curiosities. I had an accurate look at every sector of the factory. The way the production process steps and a host of other demands, particularly those related to employees and their needs, were not unnoticed in the eyes of an 8-year-old girl. On the other hand, in my mother´s family, everyday life on weekends brought the handmade production of fabric flowers made by my great-aunts, and the “weaving of the ropes” carried out by my maternal grandfather, who produced the old “roper cinch”. Experiences of adult professions and occupations were very close and shared with children. In this context, situations to make friends, such as the practice of sports, learning how to play the piano and everything related to school and culture were valued.

Through access to a catalog of undergraduate courses, I preliminarily understood that occupational therapy would be the way to “join” the activity with the promotion of health and even it could involve the actions of teaching techniques and procedures.

2 Occupational Therapy Training

With a relatively “restricted” repertoire on the concept of occupational therapy that I enrolled in the Undergraduate Course in Occupational Therapy of the Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas, PUCCamp. Through the Introduction to Occupational Therapy classes, General Occupational Therapy, Therapeutic Activities, and Resources, I sought to deepen my understanding of how occupational therapy worked with patients/clients/individuals1. The teachers responsible for the teaching of occupational therapy were competent persons and, already at that time, recognized in the scope of Brazilian occupational therapy. Here I record my perception of the benefits of my experience and the learning with the teachers Lilian Vieira Magalhães, Maria de Lourdes Feriotti, Sandra Galheigo, Rosé Colon Toldrá, among others.

From the possibility of transferring to the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), I obtained equivalence in many subjects. Also in the undergraduate course, I had my first experience with the research, by obtaining a grant of scientific initiation (IC - CNPq) from the approval of a project in CNPq, with the objective of applying the behavior observation techniques, register and compare the typical development of babies in day-care centers.

In the 1980s, the literature on occupational therapy accessible to undergraduates, especially in the children area was still restricted. In the national literature, productions like Occupational Therapy, for example, of Berenice Rosa Francisco emerged. Also in the national scientific production area, some master’s dissertations began to be produced by occupational therapists (in the early 1980s), anchored in other areas of knowledge: Psychology, Special Education, Mental Health, Public Health, among others. Illustrating this scenario, Emmel and Lancman (1998) recorded that, between 1986 and 1988, there were nine master teachers and two doctors in Brazil. I was able to see part of this course of production of national works on occupational therapy by Brazilian authors, including the training process of some of my undergraduate professors, who certainly contributed as much to the advances of occupational therapy as to development of methodological perspectives.

The knowledge offered by the teachers Maria Luisa Guillaumon Emmel, Umaia El Khatib, Cristina Yoshie Toyoda, Gloria Nilda Velasco Maroto, Michelle Selma Hahn, Marlene Lumi Kawahara, Dagmar Pereira, Jussara Pinto, Selma Lancman, Clemencia Pizzigati, Rosangela Pugliese Costa, Sheila Mara Caetano, Elisa Eiko Kajihara, Lucy Tomoko Akashi and Lea Beatriz Teixeira Soares, and Professor Antonio Carlos Riani Costa, pushed me to face the challenges of the next stage of my life cycle: a young adult entering the job market and starting her professional career.

3 The Beginning of my Professional Life

From my approval in the contest of the State of São Paulo for the position of occupational therapist, I expressed an interest in working in the São Carlos Health Center (CSI). Based on the situation in this unit, I began to envisage the possibility of expanding the work beyond daily attendance and started a political action in the perspective of investing in improving the conditions of work with patients: I sought the expansion of the rehabilitation team.

In that scenario, the first experience of acting in the scope of public policies was the representation of ERSA 49 (Regional Health Office) in the Special Group of Programs - GEPRO of the Deficient created in 1986, in the context of the “new” public policies for care to the handicapped person.

For the implementation of the Program, I attended a meeting at the State Department of Health (SP) to know the reality of health care for disabled people. I left with the conviction that, for the implementation of the proposal, it was urgent that the team be expanded, for the effective development of multidisciplinary actions. Based on the recommendations of the GEPRO coordinators, the data and information that gave force to this process, the CSI team produced indicators that, later analyzed and debated, contributed to the decision on the expansion of the multidisciplinary team. Four new vacancies were available to the Health Center I of São Carlos: one in Speech Therapy, two in Physical Therapy and one in Occupational Therapy. The restlessness arising from the professional practice, as a result of the work in the Health Center I, and also of the care that I performed in a private practice, led me to the search for answers. Continuing education can provide part of them.

4 Academic Training Processes After Graduation

The education received at the undergraduate level was generalist. The demands in the spaces of action required each day the use of specific techniques, even if they were always attentive to the negative critique of the mechanistic paradigm. Children and adolescents with cerebral palsy had specific intervention needs as well as guidance to their parents that would enhance their handling. Thus, as a result of the benefits that were being propagated, I undertook training in the Bobath Method in 1990, a neuroevolutionary method for people with neurological disorders. During the training course in the Specialized Rehabilitation course held in São Paulo, conducted by Sônia Gusman, I had the opportunity to work with practical activities in a multi-professional team.

I enrolled in the Master’s Program in Special Education (PMEE2) in the Special Individual Education area in 1987, and for a period of time, after leaving professional work, I received support from Capes. I was guided by a teacher, accredited in the PMEE, belonging to the University of São Paulo, Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of Ribeirão Preto, Prof. Dr. Zélia Maria Mendes Biasoli-Alves, who on that occasion already met a considerable set of research experiences in the family field and in qualitative methodologies. Thus, combining situations of clinical practice in the theme of families, I developed the project entitled Activities and games in the life of children with developmental problems: the vision of parents (MARTINEZ, 1992). The study provided information, from individual interviews with parents, on the daily lives of families with children with developmental problems, focusing on the stimulation process.

5 Beginning of Teaching in Higher Education and the Academic-administrative Trajectory at UFSCar

My first teaching experience was as a substitute teacher between 1989 and 1990 when I was hired at UFSCar to work in the area of Childhood and Adolescence in the Department of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy.

In the middle of June of 1991, I was approved in second place for a vacancy of Teaching Assistant to work in the Department of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy - DEFITO of UFSCar. Roseli Esquerdo Lopes was in first place who work in the physical dysfunctions area. After six months, I was summoned to take up a second position offered on the occasion of the retirement of Prof. Dr. Clemencia Pecorari Pizzigatti, responsible for teaching plastic and craft activities in the field of therapeutic resources. The support of Gloria Velasco Maroto was fundamental for my foray into this field.

I participated in administrative activities in DEFITO, initially integrating the Departmental Council. I was active in the process of redeparation between Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, which took place in 1996. After that, I took on other activities as deputy chief, an opportunity in which, in addition to routine activities, along with Roseli Esquerdo Lopes, we sought the growth of the newly created department - DTO, implementing a plan for the qualification of all teachers in face of the need to invest in the degrees of training of masters and doctors.

In the undergraduate course, I assumed the position of Vice-Coordinator, with the specific function of coordinating the undergraduate internships. In 1997, I assumed the role of Head of UENAPES, Health Care and Research Unit, a UFSCar outpatient clinic with attendance in Neuropediatric Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy with children and adults.

6 The Participation in a Research Group, the Belonging to a Laboratory and the Doctoral Course

Attending an invitation from Prof. Dr. Maria Luisa Guillaumon Emmel, we developed a joint extension activity in 1992, entitled Prototypes of toys - Cubos Project, which involved undergraduate students in Occupational Therapy working at Faber Castell company. From this first joint experience, we expanded the Activities and Development Laboratory (LAD), which was created in 1990. Other colleagues, Marina Silveira Palhares and Thelma Simões Matsukura, also joined the LADm and other research projects were jointly developed, some already funded by research and business development agencies.

In 1995, I was approved in the selective process for the doctorate in the Program of Post-Graduation in Education - PPGE in UFSCar, in the area of concentration in Teaching Methodology. Again, I was guided by Prof. Zélia Biasoli-Alves, a professor accredited also in the PPGE. Inserted in another postgraduate program, the Graduate Program in Education of UFSCar, I had the opportunity to get in touch with new theoretical and methodological references, coming from sociology, anthropology, and education and I received training through the subjects offered by a by teachers highly respected and thus deepen and complement my knowledge in the area of Education.

The work of John Bowlby (1982), particularly the trilogy on attachment, loss and disruption of affective bonds, and the references of the bioecological approach proposed by Urie Bronfenbrenner (1986, 1989, 1996) have been read and pooled for the design of research. From my studies about the ecological approach and later, the bioecological approach, associations with concepts of occupational therapy were more present. For me, there was an identity between the assumptions of the bioecological approach and concepts of occupational therapy. In addition, based on the psychology area, I deepened my knowledge about learning, human behavior, and the environment, while at the same time, I knew the fundamental elements of interaction processes, the contributions of ethological studies and stimulation techniques.

In 1998, I completed my Ph.D. in the Postgraduate Program in Education, in the area of Teaching Methodology. Pierre Bourdieu, Phillippe Aries, Anthony Giddens contributed to my reflections on childhood, contexts, and society. The research was dedicated to the study of a normative life event in childhood. I defended the thesis entitled From family to school: entrance of children from 1 to 3 years old in a new socialization context (MARTINEZ, 1998). The study investigated relationships in the daily life of children, parents, and teachers when it is desired the adaptation of the small child in a new collective environment.

7 Consolidation of Teaching, Research and Extension Activities in the UFSCarian Trajectory: from the 2000s to the Present Days

From one invitation of the Postgraduate Program in Special Education, I began my activities in postgraduate teaching in 1999. The accreditation was a moment of satisfaction since I returned to the Program, now in the teaching condition and alongside persons with great experience. I am grateful to Prof. Dr. Deisy das Graças e Souza and Maria Luisa Emmel for hosting and encouraging my work in PPGEEs. Inserted the Line on prevention and intervention in the deficiencies I developed teaching activities and I oriented the first dissertations, and after such experiences, those of doctorate.

The fact of having developed the master’s and doctorate under the guidance of Prof. Zélia Maria Biasoli-Alves contributed to the solidification of our partnership. In August 2006, Zélia invited me to participate in the Methodology of Quantitative Research, offered by the Graduate Program in Psychology of the University of São Paulo, USP Ribeirão Preto. The course was offered on the occasion of the visit of Prof. Anne Marie Victorine Germaine Fontaine, from the University of Porto (Portugal), together with Prof. Zélia and Prof. José Aparecido da Silva, dealing with quantitative methodologies. I decided to go deeper into this new methodological perspective since until then, it was restricted to the qualitative approach area.

From this first academic experience with Prof. Anne Marie, in 2006 to 2007 at USP Ribeirão Preto, with the support of CNPq, I developed a postdoctoral project to investigate the reconciliation of professional and family life demands between working parents with young children under the supervision of Prof. Zélia. In this project, we carried out an internship abroad, at the University of Porto, under the supervision of Prof. Anne Marie Fontaine. This was the beginning of what we have called a “fruitful partnership”.

It was with great sadness that in 2008 I received the news of the death of my friend, counselor, and advisor: Prof. Zélia Maria Mendes Biasoli-Alves. Together with other people-oriented by Zélia, we published an article in the journal Psychology: Theory and Research (MARTINEZ et al., 2007), a tribute to those who taught us a lot.

More mature and already counting on the experience of some projects with funding (Edital Universal CNPq, Fapesp, and students with grants from Capes), along with my research partner, Prof. Maria Cristina Piumbato Innocentini Hayashi, I lead the Research Promotion Group Child Development in the Context of Family Life and School.

8 The Creation of the First Post-Graduate Program in Occupational Therapy in Brazil and Latin America

I integrated the first proposal formulated by professors of the Department of Occupational Therapy of UFSCar, sent to Capes in 1999. Although approved by the area of Physical Education, Physiotherapy and Speech Therapy, unfortunately, it was not recommended by the Technical Consultant Council of Capes.

From the insertions of UFSCar’s DTO professors in postgraduate programs in related areas, the teaching of these programs and the consequent production of the researches developed, oriented and published, in the middle of 2007 we considered that we were able to submit a new proposal to Capes. I was at the head of the Committee that prepared this second proposal of the stricto sensu Post-Graduation Program in Occupational Therapy, along with colleagues Roseli Esquerdo Lopes, Thelma Simões Matsukura, Maria Luisa Guillaumon Emmel and Ana Paula Serrata Malfitano, a former student who was already emerging with a strong vocation for research.

We elaborated and forwarded the proposal of the PPGTO, with Area of Concentration in Processes of Intervention in Occupational Therapy and two lines of research: Promotion of Human Development in Contexts of Daily Life and Social Networks and Vulnerability. Approved in 2009, Occupational Therapy became part of the Physical Education, Physiotherapy and Speech Therapy area of Capes, a reason for great satisfaction for many occupational therapists, especially those inserted in higher education institutions.

9 University Management: Experiences in the Superior Administration of UFSCar

I was invited by the Pro-Rector of Extension of UFSCar, Targino de Araújo Filho, in 1999 to assumed the coordination of the Núcleo de Extensão UFSCar-Saúde (NESau). Among the tasks developed in the Extension Nucleus, I highlight the first participation of UFSCar in the Municipal Health Council and the creation of the Health-School Unit.

Municipal Health Advisor: it was the beginning of the 2000s. By a Municipal Decree, I became the first municipal councilor of Health of UFSCar. There was a climate of motivation regarding the possibilities of collaborating in the construction of public health policies of the Municipality, and I appreciate that this participation was of great importance for subsequent actions, highlighting the participation and support in the II Municipal Health Conference, participation in the elaboration of the regiment of the Municipal Council of Health of São Carlos and the participation in the Training Course of Counselors. I think that the highest point of this activity was to teach the UFSCar students and experiencing the birth of social control in SUS, until then little known and debated in São Carlos.

Preparation and implementation of the USE project - between 2000 and 2004, the Rector of UFSCar, Prof. Dr. Oswaldo Baptista Duarte Filho, and the Pro-Rector of Extension of the Institution, Prof. Dr. Targino de Araújo Filho, devoted intensely to obtaining resources that enabled the construction of a Health-School Unit for UFSCar. The challenge was great: to design an outpatient-school unit project, of medium complexity and of an interdisciplinary nature. We are part of the USE Committee - Health-School Unit, chaired by Prof. Targino de Araújo Filho and composed of teaching representatives.

Based on my role in the USE Committee, I was appointed to assume the first directorate of the Health-School Unit (USE) of UFSCar. To direct the Unit, I had the support of an Advisory Council, constituted to deliberate on the administrative and academic subjects of the USE, whose composition had a representative of each academic department involved, the representative of each Attention Program and the representative of UFSCar in the Municipal Health Council.

Four years were spent in the activities of the UFSCar-Saúde Extension Nucleus and one year in the position of Director of the Health-School Unit.

10 Acting at the Pro-Rector’s Office for Community and Student Affairs at UFSCar

The decision to transform the Department of Community Affairs of UFSCar into Pro-Rectory for Community and Student Affairs (ProACE) was due to a profound transformation undergone by the University, faced with a not only much larger but also more diversified and complex institution, which brought new demands on student processes, which were attended in 2009.

I received the invitation of the Rector to continue with the management activities of UFSCar and assume the position of First Pro-Rector of Community and Student Affairs, with the mission of structuring and implementing the activities of the newly created Pro-Rectory. In the administrative structure of ProACE were contained: University Restaurants, Department of Social Work, Child Care Unit (UAC), Department of Sports, Department of Medical and Dental Care.

At the external level, we sought to act with the national policy instituted by the Federal Government, with emphasis on the National Program of Student Assistance (PNAES). In the first year of my administration, UFSCar received the third contribution of PNAES resources, which enabled the development of actions for the permanence of students in the University at a new level - although, historically, UFSCar has always guaranteed assistance actions with own resources.

It was an unprecedented moment in the history of the University and the Country, in which affirmative actions began to transform the university community and make it closer to the constitution of Brazilian society, by joining and supporting the permanence of black, indigenous students from public schools, who had access to the reserve of vacancies. We were in the vanguard of this movement, in national terms, and was even a reference for the promulgation in 2012 of Law 12.711/2012, known as “Quota Law” (Quota’s law), which established the reservation of vacancies throughout the Federal System of Higher Education.

11 UFSCar Actions in the UFSCar Extension Pro-Rectory

In 2011 and in the political scene in the University, it was finished another management. After four years of intense work in ProACE, stimulated by Federal Government projects, the Superior Administration needed to undergo a new election process. I was invited to compose Chapa 1 - titled “Academic Excellence with Social Commitment”, and I competed as for the position of Extension Pro-Rector. I was very involved with the UFSCar’s Higher Administration, after having experienced the administrative experiences already reported, and many others... Although was tired, I felt both motivated and committed to the contribution I could make to UFSCar to continue in what I had been evaluating as positive and correct: transparency, ethics, respect and, especially, valuable democratic processes. We competed, we were elected and appointed to manage UFSCar for another four years, from 2012 to 2016.

At the national level, the participation in the National Forum of Extension Pro-Rectors was the space for discussion of the National Extension Policy.

Internally, at UFSCar, I had the support of very special people to implement the extension policy. The Prof. Dr. Rodolfo Antônio de Figueiredo was a great partner in this period, assuming the position of Deputy Extension Pro-Rector. In the coordination area, I had the satisfaction of counting on people committed to the academic achievement of the University.

There is no doubt that the larger action, certainly the most laborious and perhaps the one with the greatest effect on the university extension of UFSCar in our management, was the revision of the Extension Activities Regiment. From 2013 to 2015, UFSCar’s faculty and technical-administrative staff were intensively dedicated to the reflections and debates of the regiment. Thus, the Resolution constituted a new regiment for extension activities at the University, whose proposal was built on dialogues, involving different sectors of the University. We carry out a large work with the objective of continuing to provide legal certainty for the development of extension actions in UFSCar. At this moment I highlight the discussion process and the contributions of each CoEx adviser who reaffirmed the democratic principles in the elaboration of the new version of that document. A product is never exaggerate to register, built by many hands.

To give examples of other actions in which I have been directly involved in Proex, always counting on the participation of many people in its accomplishment, there is the elaboration and approval of the I UFSCar Culture Plan, the creation of the Memory Unit, the installation of the Council Editorial of UFSCar Radio, the creation of the “Institute of Languages” and also the Secretariat for Affirmative Actions, Diversity and Equity - SAADE.

12 Resignation of Experiences: a New Dialogue with Occupational Therapy

At this moment, with almost 30 years of academic life at UFSCar, I understand that the recovery of this unique route provides elements present in this way.

In some of our studies, we sought to produce knowledge about the development of the child, for its engagement in future occupations. They are studies that aim to improve or keep children in occupations (LAW, 2010) and also improve their abilities, adapting the activity or changing the environment (TOWNSEND; POLATAJKO, 2007; KIELHOFNER, 2008). In this perspective, we oriented studies that aimed to know and improve the abilities of premature children in several areas of development: ocular health, reading performance, writing and vocabulary, sensory processing, motor development, communicative deficits, play behavior, motor skills at the beginning of school years (SOUZA, 2014; PINHEIRO, 2012; ROMBE, 2012; MANZINI, 2013; RUAS, 2006; LIMA, 2014; PRETTI, 2013).

In other research, we have devoted to studying environments that put children at risk of diminishing their participation in occupations (LAW, 2010). From this perspective, we guided the studies that had as their goal: in the regular schools, we sought to evaluate the participation, levels of help and performance of children with cerebral palsy; in the family-school interface, we sought to know the inclusion processes, and the neonatal ICU sought to identify risk factors and protection for the visual development of premature infants (SILVA; SANTOS; MARTINEZ, 2012; SILVA; MARTINEZ, 2008; PAMPLIN; MARTINEZ, 2008).

Another set of studies has been devoted to investigations related to the training of adults who live with the child in daily life, contributing to the development of their role as a stimulating agent and promoter of child engagement. From this perspective, we oriented studies that have elaborated and implemented programs of intervention for teachers; training of occupational therapists in collaborative counseling at school; training of interlocutors for the use of alternative communication; training of teachers to promote independence of children with low vision; training of nursery educators for child development surveillance and intervention for parents of children with learning difficulties (GEBRAEL; MARTINEZ, 2011; MARTINEZ et al., 2016; MANZINI et al., 2017; MANZINI, 2013).

My orientations also produced knowledge about situations of vulnerability in which there is an interruption in occupations, failing to do what is meaningful for their lives (WHITEFORD, 2000). These studies aimed at the experience of preschool children in the process of bone marrow transplantation and a program of activities for children who are victims of violence with learning difficulties (IDEMORI; MARTINEZ, 2016; SILVA, 2006).

In a preventive perspective, other studies focused on investigating the properties and applicability of certain infant development measuring instruments for the early detection of disorders: method of evaluation of the visual conduct of infants; sensitivity and specificity of the questionnaire for DCDQ Brazil parents; the prevalence of motor difficulties in children through DCDQ Brazil and measures and evidence of validity from the motor evaluation in schoolchildren under parameters of the CIF - CJ (CARVALHO, 2005; ALVES, 2010, 2013; JOIA, 2012).

Finally, we synthesized guided studies through bibliometrics to provide information on the scientific production of certain themes related to the promotion of child development: the field of study on prematurity in the thesis bank of Capes; the scientific production in Retinopathy of Prematurity and the configuration of the field of scientific productions on fine motor skills in children (COPPEDE, 2012; NUNES, 2012; PIZZANI, 2012; LOPES, 2014) .

Having these considerations about academic productions, I will reflect on the management experiences of the University and, like the starting point presented in the previous pages of this section on academic-scientific productions, I present a second question: What underlay my occupational practices when I was in the management positions at the University? My answer follows: “The belief that engaging people in meaningful occupations promotes health, contributes to their formative processes and, consequently, to a dignified life in society”.

When comparing my previous questions and answers, I understand that the principle has been maintained: from a systemic perspective, the involvement of people in meaningful occupations can promote their own development and impact the subsystems in which they are inserted.

The challenge of recognizing and deciphering the socio-historical-cultural conditions of the people and groups that constituted the university community at UFSCar during that management period (2009 to 2016) was an extremely important action so within the possibilities, although limited in terms of budget, physical spaces and even our own understanding, we could consider them in our (joint) decisions in implementing strategies for solutions. I feel that the desire of people, groups, and collectives in these contexts was to obtain conditions (actions and activities) to promote their health and well-being. They wanted “something” (perhaps engagement in their occupations), they had aspirations, each in its turn, with meaning impelling the institutional system to produce solutions to favor the participation of people in the exercise of their occupations.

I see the possibility of uniting a part of my academic course with a part of the administrative course ... in the words of Charles Chritiansen (2006) quoted and translated by Magalhães (2013, p. 256): “Occupational Therapy is, in a very singular way, a profession where the worlds of applied science and the experience of life were able to unite”.

The consequences of a larger and more diverse University, as a result of the investments made by the Federal Government at that time in Higher Education, led me to seek, in the different positions I occupied, conditions for students and servants to feel engaged, motivated and committed to their daily occupations at UFSCar.

I have no doubt that the rescue of my memories and record of the experiences in this memorial made possible, in addition to the creation of this text, the understanding of my journey in the form of a singular image.


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1 Patients/clients/people were very much debated at the time, trying to avoid using the word “patient” so as not to give a connotation of passivity and to understand the person as an active participant in their therapeutic process.

2 At that time, the UFSCar Special Education postgraduate degree offered only masters level training. In 1990, there was a change in the name of the “Master’s Program in Special Education” (PMEE) for “Post-Graduation Program in Special Education” (PPGEEs) and in the area of concentration “Mental Deficiency” for “Individual Education Special” aimed to give greater scope to the course. In 1999, the Ph.D. level was opened.

Received: March 13, 2018; Revised: May 25, 2018; Accepted: June 26, 2018

Corresponding author: Claudia Maria Simões Martinez, Departamento de Terapia Ocupacional, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Rodovia Washington Luiz, Km 235, CP 676, CEP 13565-905, São Carlos, SP, Brasil, e-mail:

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