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Cadernos Brasileiros de Terapia Ocupacional

On-line version ISSN 2526-8910

Cad. Bras. Ter. Ocup. vol.26 no.2 São Carlos Apr./June 2018 

Original Article

The beginning of the trajectory of occupational therapy academic institutionalization in Brazil: what pioneer professors tell about the creation of the first courses

Stéphany Conceição Correia Alves Guedes Reisa 

Roseli Esquerdo Lopesb 

aUniversidade Federal de São Carlos - UFSCar, São Carlos, SP, Brasil.

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


The first technical courses of occupational therapy were structured in Brazil during the 1950’s, in the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The creation of these courses was stimulated by the great international mobilization around the expansion of the rehabilitation field around the world. In the following decades, other courses were founded in several Brazilian states and, the profession was simultaneously structured in the country, including the approval of some legislation that guaranteed academic quality parameters for the training of occupational therapists. In 1983, the publication of a resolution revising the foundations of the minimum curriculum for training in the field and requiring major reformulations within the existing and upcoming courses was the point of confirmation of the effective beginning of the academic institutionalization of occupational therapy in Brazil. This article is based on a research that aimed to describe the trajectory of academic institutionalization of occupational therapy in Brazil, focusing on the creation of the first course in 1956 and those implanted until 1983, according to the vision of the pioneer teachers. For that, work was done with the theoretical-methodological reference of oral history, from which the occupational therapists were interviewed, pioneering professors of the first courses, and constructed documents originating from their narratives, which were based on the trajectory of the courses presented here.

Keywords: Higher Education; Professional Qualification; Occupational Therapy/History


Durante a década de 1950, foram sendo estruturados os primeiros cursos técnicos de terapia ocupacional no Brasil, nas cidades do Rio de Janeiro e de São Paulo. De certa forma, a criação desses cursos foi incentivada pela grande mobilização internacional em torno da expansão da área de reabilitação pelo mundo. Nas décadas seguintes, outros cursos foram sendo fundados em vários Estados brasileiros, e, paralelamente à fundação deles, a profissão foi se estruturando no país, inclusive após a aprovação de algumas legislações que garantiram parâmetros de qualidade acadêmicos para formação de terapeutas ocupacionais. Em 1983, a publicação de uma resolução que reviu as bases do currículo mínimo nacional para a formação na área e que exigiu reformulações importantes no âmbito dos cursos existentes - e nos que viriam a existir - foi o ponto de confirmação do efetivo início da institucionalização acadêmica da terapia ocupacional no Brasil. Este artigo decorre de uma pesquisa que teve como objetivo descrever a trajetória de institucionalização acadêmica da terapia ocupacional no Brasil, com foco na criação do primeiro curso em 1956 e daqueles implantados até o ano de 1983, segundo a visão dos docentes pioneiros. Para tanto, trabalhou-se com o referencial teórico-metodológico da história oral, a partir do qual foram entrevistados os terapeutas ocupacionais, docentes pioneiros dos primeiros cursos, e construídos documentos oriundos de suas narrativas, que embasaram a trajetória dos cursos aqui apresentados.

Palavras-chave: Ensino Superior; Formação Profissional; Terapia Ocupacional/História

1 Introduction

Integrating a broader research, this text is directed to the study of the trajectory of academic institutionalization of occupational therapy in Brazil, from the creation of the first course to train these professionals, in 1956, until 1983, when Resolution nº 4, of the Federal Council of Education, established a second national minimum curriculum for undergraduate occupational therapy, which, in fact, constituted a university education more in line with what the category claimed in the country (LOPES, 1991), a minimum of four years’ training and with content oriented towards the profession.

After 60 years of the arrival of the first technical course of occupational therapy in Brazil, it is still necessary to explore the paths taken by the profession to apprehend the constitution and development of the area, to decipher the connections that the past establishes with the present, in some cases outlining contemporary occupational therapy, and the place occupied by the profession in the country. For that, it is indispensable to survey and systematize existing historical documents that refer to such trajectories and, if there are not enough records available, the search and creation of new sources, such as narratives from the oral of occupational therapists experienced the process of implementation and consolidation of the profession, such as teachers, ex-teachers, and graduates of training courses, directors of associations, professional category councils and representatives of academic centers.

Some authors consider that it is a privilege for a group to know its history. One of them is Certeau (1982, p. 16), who considers “[...] necessary to remember not to forget oneself”, guaranteeing that history “... places the people at the center of it, extending it from a past to a future”. For this author, the separation of the present from a past composes a chronology consisting of periods “[...] that the decision to be another is always indicated or to be no longer what had been until then” (CERTEAU, 1982, p. 15). In this way, when the history of a group is understood, in addition to bringing up the past or a version of the past, it is possible to grasp the ruptures and connections that have led such a group to the present, as well as the way in which it occurs nowadays.

In turn, each time that appears in the trajectory of a particular group “[...] considers what preceded it to be dead”, and the generations of the present already receive a past demarcated by the ruptures of time. Possibly, these ruptures become key points for the inquiries and researches to be carried out in the present (CERTEAU, 1982, p. 15). After all, to maintain the existence of a group, it is necessary to understand why certain cultures and customs are left behind and give rise to new practices.

In order to understand the trajectory of academic institutionalization of occupational therapy in Brazil and in view of the insufficiency of historical documents to answer the various questions about its course, the research from which these article proceeds proposes to investigate the processes of creation of the first courses of occupational therapy in the country, from 1956 to 1983, taking the oral of its pioneering teachers as source.

2 Methods

This work was supported by the theoretical-methodological reference of oral history, defined by Meihy (1996, p. 13) as “a modern resource used for the elaboration of documents, archiving and studies concerning the social life of people”. Thus, being an efficient method for “... historical reconstitution of groups that do not register their trajectory in another way” (GIGANTE, 2008, p. 32). Generally, oral history is used when there is a lack of records or insufficiency of existing documents to answer historical questions generated over time.

Always used in the present time, the oral history enables the construction of a file produced by documents originating from the discourse of people who lived a past historical moment, here chosen as the foundation of the first courses of occupational therapy of Brazil. In this perspective, besides to oral history focusing on a certain historical time, it also develops through a guiding theme and a specific group of individuals whose life trajectories have been traversed by specific themes. In the case of this research, there was the collaboration of 15 occupational therapists, pioneer teachers of the first courses of occupational therapy in Brazil, initially indicated by professionals with extensive experience and recognition in occupational therapy, who also collaborated with the research1. Only one occupational therapist, after the collaboration provided, in contact with his textual testimony, requested his removal from the study. Therefore, 14 participants remained2. Also, it was not possible to contact the pioneer professor of the course at the Institute of Rehabilitation of the Hospital das Clínicas of the University of São Paulo (USP). In order to compose the material related to this course, the following information was used: from the interviews conducted by Léa Beatriz Teixeira Soares 3, for her dissertation presented in 1987, and provided by Sandra Maria Galheigo4; of material made available by Roseli Esquerdo Lopes 5, referring to her dissertation presented in 1991; and other sources.

The interviews were held between September 2015 and April 2016, preceded by a contact made through “letters” sent by electronic mail and/or telephone call, to present the objectives of the study, call for collaboration, places and times for the meetings. After the interviews6, the recorded stories were analyzed according to the concepts of oral history and were transcribed7 together with the collaborators to be constituted as documentary sources essential for the understanding of the trajectories around the teaching of occupational therapy in Brazil. Also, other preexisting materials8 that also helped in the apprehension of the trajectories were collected in the meetings.

In these documents, the collaborators’ memories of the moment they lived are exposed. Of course, this memory is not an exact representation of past events; it has suffered the wear and tear of time, it has become an interpretation of the past conceived in the present with the updates of this present. However, the fact that the individual is in the present speaking of a certain past does not invalidate the truth of what happened, but rather allows an amplification of the understanding of this past due to the greater lucidity by which he analyzes the lived, since he is no longer immersed in history, but analyzing it and exposing it through language (CERTEAU, 1982).

However, according to Le Goff (2005, p. 41), “there is no finished historical reality”. Thus, not even the documents from the memory reflect the reality, not even the analysis of any person can reflect it. What exists is the choice of an option from the immensity of realities that exist for the explanation of a past. Hence, documents originating from the oral of those who experienced a certain historical fact would not be the reality of the fact, but a potent material for its reconstruction (LÓTMAN, 1981 apud GIGANTE, 2008). This was the intention in this research to gather documents elaborated from the meetings and interviews, documents collected from the collections of collaborators and bibliographic materials already published, in an attempt to apprehend the trajectory of academic institutionalization of occupational therapy in Brazil, emphasizing the process of establishment of the first professional training courses, according to what their pioneering teachers tell.

3 The Creation of Occupational Therapy Courses in Brazil: What the Pioneer Teachers tell

Occupational therapy courses came to Brazil in the 1950s. Specifically, in 1956, the Technical Course on Rehabilitation was started at the Rio de Janeiro Rehabilitation School (ERRJ), with training in occupational therapy and physiotherapy. This school was maintained by the Brazilian Benefit Rehabilitation Association (ABBR), located in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Virgílio Cordeiro de Melo Filho, a student and one of the first occupational therapist teachers of this institution, describes the school:

The first occupational therapy school in Rio de Janeiro was located in the southern zone, Jardim Botânico, so the clients were more from that territory. The Rehabilitation School of Rio de Janeiro was an elitist school, but not because it had this philosophy, it was by location, by the clients. A lot of people who had not been in medicine came to do rehab. Some went into physiotherapy and then they changed to OT, and vice versa, but they were very few (Collaborator Virgílio Cordeiro de Melo Filho).

According to Barros (2009, p. 161), on April 3, 1956, a “[...] solemn session for the installation of ABBR Rehabilitation Technicians Courses” took place in the Brazilian Press Association. Fernando Lemos (1985, p. 8), founder of ABBR, in an interview conducted by Léa Soares, explains that the dissemination of ERRJ courses was by newspapers and the first group was very small. In his words, “[...] it was an intensive 2-year course due to the need for specialized work. Physiotherapy was more sought after than occupational therapy”. When Lemos mentions the “need for specialized work”, he refers to the lack of physical therapists and occupational therapists in Rio de Janeiro to work at ABBR, an institution that wanted to create a Rehabilitation Center, but first opted for the organization of a school for training of technicians, ERRJ, organized and directed by orthopedist Jorge Faria (LEMOS, 1985; BAPTISTA, 1988).

The Technical Course in Rehabilitation lasted two years. The first physical therapists and occupational therapists were formed in February 1958 - it is noteworthy that only seven students completed the occupational therapy course. According to Campos (1985), ABBR created the ERRJ with the sole purpose of training professionals to supply the workforce needs of the Rehabilitation Center. However, since the society showed great interest in the course, it was decided to continue it. Therefore, in 1958, the ERRJ decided to extend the courses to three academic years. The ERRJ was only recognized in November of 1965 (Decree nº 57.363).

In 1978, through a financial crisis faced by ABBR, the physical therapy and occupational therapy courses of ERRJ were sold to the Unified Society of Higher Education Augusto Motta (SUAM), remaining, however, allocated to ABBR. Only in 1979, they were transferred to SUAM facilities (CAMPOS, 1985; BARROS, 2009). Since the teachers of the Occupational Therapy Course of the ERRJ did not teach at SUAM, the occupational therapist Ângela Maria Bittencourt Fernandes da Silva was hired as a teacher.

In 1979, I was invited by Professor João Marinômio Carneiro to be a professor at SUAM. At that time, he was neither an occupational therapist nor a COFFITO.9 At the time, SUAM was buying ERRJ, so the course came from ABBR to SUAM, came with everything from ABBR! The students of the first, second and third year of ABBR came along with the sale of the school to SUAM. I already had the third year students to internship, so they were sent to the internship. The first inbound class of SUAM I think was in [19] 80. [...] in 1979 the ERRJ was sold to SUAM, it was bought with the students, teachers and all its collection (Collaborator Ângela Bittencourt).

The structure and coordination of the courses were done by the military officer João Marinômio Aveiro Carneiro, who, at that moment, had nothing to do with occupational therapy or physical therapy. About his performance, Ângela Bittencourt comments:

Carneiro was very stiff! Carneiro was a military man, so he came with his colonel and... he was our coordinator there at SUAM, at the time he was the physio and OT coordinator, he came to set up the course and was a very serious person, a colonel, but he had already had five or six courses at the time and went to do occupational therapy after so much confusion that occupational therapy created with him, and physiotherapy too, but with less emphasis (Collaborator Ângela Bittencourt).

In SUAM, the occupational therapy course lasted until the late 1990s, and, according to Ângela Bittencourt (2015), its closure occurred due to lack of demand.

In 1956, while training in occupational therapy was implanted in the ERRJ with the support of ABBR, in São Paulo, the United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Organization of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) carried out part of a project whose purpose was to spread rehabilitation worldwide. It was intended to create rehabilitation courses, linked to an International Rehabilitation Center, which was implemented in Latin America in São Paulo, attached to the Chair of Orthopedics and Traumatology of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of São Paulo (FMUSP), in the Hospital das Clínicas of the University of São Paulo (HC-USP), in December 1956 (State Decree No. 27,083), called National Institute of Rehabilitation (INAR) (SOARES, 1987).

The functions of INAR were to provide technical assistance in the area of ​​rehabilitation and to train professionals to work in this field throughout Latin America (HAUCK, 1986; SOARES, 1987; LOUZÃ, 2015). However, the official creation of this center only occurred in December 1958 (Law no. 5,029), and the then INAR was renamed Institute of Rehabilitation (IR). Thus, the enacted law reinforced the institute’s charitable and educational obligations:

The purpose of the Rehabilitation Institute is to rehabilitate the physically disabled, to carry out research on rehabilitation, to carry out regular and in-service training courses for physicians and auxiliary technical personnel, necessary for rehabilitation services both in Portugal and abroad. To be a field for the training of physicians and auxiliary technical personnel, provide means for employment in the rehabilitation community, and cooperate with and cooperate with public and private entities regarding issues and services within their competence (SÃO PAULO, 1958).

The “... completion of normal and advanced courses for physicians and auxiliary technical personnel, necessary for rehabilitation services, both in Brazil and abroad”, as ordered by item III of article 2 of Law 5,029, was only placed in 1958, with the creation of regular courses for technical training in Physical Therapy10, Occupational Therapy, Orthosis and Prosthesis and Locomotion of the Blind (SÃO PAULO, 1958; SOARES, 1987; TRIGO-DE-SOUZA et al., 2008). The regulation of these courses was approved by the Technical Council of FMUSP in December 1958 (UNIVERSIDADE..., 1974).

In 1958, the first group of the Technical Course of Occupational Therapy of the IR began. As the course lasted two years, this class was formed in 1959 (CAAVC, 1960 apud MELO, 2015). In 1960, the IR students created a student representation body called Arnaldo Vieira de Carvalho Academic Center (CAAVC) (MELO, 2015).

In March 1964, the Canadian occupational therapist, Elisabeth Patricia Eagles, was sent by the UN to collaborate with the course, remaining in the institution until November 196511 (SOARES, 1987). According to Trigo-de-Souza et al. (2008), the departure of Eagles from IR terminated the UN partnership with the Institute, but this link was in fact broken when USP, through Ordinance 347, of April 1967, regulated the courses (UNIVERSIDADE..., 1974).

In 1969, the IR lost its care function, is only responsible for teaching. With the advent of the University Reform of 1968 and the changes that it caused in USP, the IR was excluded from the list of institutes attached to the university,

[...] awaiting, therefore, its transfer, by law, to the Hospital das Clínicas; and the part concerning education, as decided by the Congregation, was based in the Department of Orthopedics (UNIVERSIDADE..., 1974, p. 7).

According to Ferrari (1987 apud LOPES, 1991, p. 79), from 1969, with the completion of IR, the courses were transferred to FMUSP, accommodated in a room on the fifth floor of the college (TRIGO-DE-SOUZA et al., 2008). In 1974, the courses were transferred to the Medical Clinic Department of FMUSP. In that same year, a new curricular proposal for the course of occupational therapy was structured and sent to the Graduation Chamber of USP. This proposal was approved by the university. However, according to Lopes (1991), it was continued graduation without the possibility of changes.

The feasibility of minimum conditions necessary for the functioning of physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy graduations only occurred at the beginning of 1982, when Prof. Dr. Atílio Silvano Raia assumed the board of FMUSP and also in the face of the mobilization of students and professionals of the area, mainly those linked to the HC-USP (LOPES, 1991).

During the 1960s, two technical courses were implemented: one in the city of Recife/PE, a pioneer in the Northeast region, and the other in Belo Horizonte/MG, the third in the Southeast region.

The training in Recife, as Nadeje Accioly, a former student and retired teacher of the Occupational Therapy Course of the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), says:

[...] began about 1960. Who was the coordinator, the owner, what invented it, what did the whole course was Dr. Ruy Neves Batista died. He was an orthopedist, he had a physical defect in shortening his left leg, and as a doctor, he went to Rio at ABBR, went to São Paulo and researched abroad, brought all subjects and founded a course here (Collaborator Nadeje Accioly).

Occupational therapy arrived in Recife, in fact, after the creation of the University Institute of Rehabilitation (IUR), attached to the chair of Clinical Children’s and Orthopedic Surgery of the Faculty of Medicine of Recife, current UFPE. This institute “[...] started to serve as an administrative base for courses and outpatient care for children with disabilities” (UNIVERSIDADE..., 2009) and hosted the First Rehabilitation Course, offered in 1960, in the premises of the Dom Pedro II Hospital (CASTELO BRANCO, 2003; MOURA FILHO, 2010 apud BATTISTEL, 2016; UNIVERSIDADE..., 2009).

The IUR course has only 75 days, in which theoretical classes and internships would be given by the professors of the chair to which the IUR was attached. However, because of the hours of internship, the course, which was to be completed in October 1960, was completed in January 1961 (MOURA FILHO, 2010 apud BATTISTEL, 2016).

After that, Ruy Neves Batista asked the director of the Medical School of Recife for permission to create two-year courses in physical therapy and occupational therapy. Attended his request, the Technical Course on Rehabilitation: Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy at the IUR was started in 1962, as private, with admission by the annual selection process, carried out by the Institute (CASTELO BRANCO, 2003; PACÍFICO; CAVALCANTE; SOUZA FILHO, 2014; UNIVERSIDADE..., 2009). According to Nadeje Accyoli:

The course was just a room, because we were in the Pedro II Hospital, away from the campus, and had only one practice room that was full of old stuff, it was a room for OT and physio, everyone was studying together. To give classes, the doctors would come to this room and give the class, everyone, seventy people in a room that was reasonably large, but then we would divide, the physio went to practice elsewhere and we would stay in that horrible little room. Sometimes we would go to the hospital rooms to take a class in cardiology, orthopedics, or traumatology. We were in a little room learning to work with straw, there were some rusty things, old, very rustic (Collaborator Nadeje Accioly).

The class of 1962 was formed in December of 1964 (CASTELO BRANCO, 2003; UNIVERSIDADE..., 2009). According to Moura Filho (2010 apud BATTISTEL, 2016), the director of the IUR, Ruy Neves Batista, asked the director of the Faculty of Medicine of Recife for the recognition of the course at university level, being responsible for its supervision and expedition of the diplomas of graduates of the which was consolidated only in 1968, when the course12 was administratively recognized and officialized by the University Council of the University of Recife, becoming public, federal, and the IUR was extinguished (MOURA FILHO, 2014 apud BATTISTEL, 2016). However, in fact, the course was officialized only in May 1973 (Decree No. 72.213) (CASTELO BRANCO, 2003).

Also in 1964, the academic coordination of the course was transferred to Professor Bianor Germano da Hora (BATTISTEL, 2016), and, according to Nadeje Accioly (2016), its duration was extended to three years.

Nadeje Accioly (2016) reported that the course was transferred from the Dom Pedro II Hospital to the UFPE university campus around 1980, but only in 1982 the first vestibular with a direct option for the graduation of occupational therapy occur, being extinguished once for all the name of rehabilitation course (CASTELO BRANCO, 2003; UNIVERSIDADE..., 2009).

In Belo Horizonte, technical training in physiotherapy and occupational therapy was articulated with the need to create a workforce in the area of ​​rehabilitation to work at the Hospital Arapiara, specialized in the care of diseases of the locomotor system. The courses were established by the agreement between the Arapiara Foundation and the Faculty of Medical Sciences of Minas Gerais (FCMMG), signed in October 1961 (NASCIMENTO et al., 2006; MEDEIROS, 2008; FACULDADE..., 2012). This college had a connection with the Catholic University of Minas Gerais. In the words of Carmen Tereza Costa, who was a student and later lecturer in the Occupational Therapy Course at FCMMG:

It was a course beginning at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of Minas Gerais and came from a process in which it had been created by a great Rehabilitation Center, Hospital Arapiara, as it happened in other places in Brazil... This course was incorporated by the Catholic University, and this university, together with the private faculty of Medical Sciences, took the course. Exactly in 1969, it was already recognized as a top-level course by the decree of October 13, 1969 (Collaborator Carmen Teresa Costa).

In 1962, the first courses were started, under the legal responsibility of the Arapiara Foundation. Only in March 1969, the courses were transferred to FCMMG (MEDEIROS, 2008). That same year, the FCMMG left the Catholic University (MEDEIROS, 2008; FACULDADE..., 2012, 2017). According to the collaborator Carmen Teresa Costa (2016), after the administrative transfer of the courses to the FCMMG, they were formatted, even giving four years to the training period.

Also in 1969, the graduation of occupational therapy started with the collaboration of Débora Wood, a North American occupational therapist sent by psychcorps to assist the Arapiara Hospital. In 1971, Debora Wood was replaced by Johanna Noordhoek, a Dutch occupational therapist (SOARES, 1987; NOORDHOEK, [2015?] apud BATTISTEL, 2016).

The recognition of the courses took place in December 1971 (Decree No. 69,687). In 1974, the first proposal for curricular reformulation was launched (FACULDADE..., 2012).

In 1982, the courses were separated, allocated to specific departments. After 1983, training in occupational therapy was extended to five years (FACULDADE..., 2012). Currently, the institution does not open classes for the course. At the end of the 1960s, specifically in 1969, the profession was regulated in Brazil and its demand for higher education was recognized through Decree-Law Nº 938, of October 13, 1969 (BRASIL, 1969). Because of these regulations, new courses had to be created in the 1970s to comply with legislation. As a reflection of the consolidation of a legal basis given to occupational therapy in the 1960s, in which, besides the aforementioned decree-law, Opinion 388 of December 10, 1963, delimiting the minimum course load physiotherapy and occupational therapy (2,160 hours) and defined its minimum curriculum, and Ordinance 511 of July 23, 1964, which effectively established the first minimum curriculum for the courses, in a context of claiming and defending a Reform of the Brazilian Higher Education, which came to take place in 1968, during the 1970s, the first expansion of higher education courses in the area took place, to the detriment of the technical character (average level) of the initial courses.

This first “boom” in occupational therapy courses (LOPES, 2004; LOPES; PAN, 2013), in which the private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) were highlighted, can be divided into two phases: from 1970 to 1975 and from 1976 to 1979.

In the first half, two courses were created, one in Salvador/BA and another in Fortaleza/CE. According to Ester de Lima Pires (2016), a former student and pioneer teacher in the Occupational Therapy Course of the Bahia School of Medicine and Public Health (EBMSP), a private HEI:

In 1972, the Federal University of Bahia - UFBA opened a course in the rehabilitation of physiotherapy/ occupational therapy, corresponding to technological, with a minimum duration of one year and a half and was not recognized as a university. The creation of the course at UFBA was encouraged by a national mobilization. With many disabled and mentally handicapped people, AACD and APAEs13 needed professionals to work with those with disabilities; and in Bahia, the IBR14 also needed to meet the physically handicapped (Collaborator Ester de Lima Pires).

Around 1970, a class for a technical course in rehabilitation was started: physical therapy and occupational therapy in Salvador, but the institution responsible for offering the course demonstrated a certain lack of interest in its continuity. However, the lack of specific professionals to work in the rehabilitation area stimulated the interest of incorporating the course by the maintainer of Hospital Santa Izabel and EBMSP. This interest led to the incorporation of the course by these institutions in 1972 (SOLIONI, 2012), getting even their first class closing to finish.

On December 15, 1972, the first class completed the course, and the students had their diplomas issued by the EBMSP, respecting their technical level (SOUZA; SENA, 2005). Based on Decree-Law No. 930 of October 13, 1969, which guaranteed university training to physiotherapy and occupational therapy courses, in 1973 the EBMSP offered a college entrance exam for physiotherapy and occupational therapy courses independently and at a higher level.

For Ester de Lima Pires (2016), since the beginning of graduation, the classes had a small number of students, forming an insufficient number of professionals to meet the demands of the State. Also, there was some subjection of the course of occupational therapy to the medical course, impeding a graduation advance within the institution. Due to these and other factors, in 1986 the institution chose not to offer more classes. Currently, after numerous deployment during the 1990s and 2000s, the course is closed.

In Fortaleza, the undergraduate degree in occupational therapy was created in 1973 at the university level, along with physiotherapy, which worked as a single course with emphasis on one or the other area at the end. The course was implemented by the University of Fortaleza (UNIFOR), also private, as reported by Maria Marta de Oliveira Sampaio (2016), a student of the first class and former professor of the university:

[...] UNIFOR’s first college entrance examination was in 1973. The OT/physio course had three years. In college, they had three courses in the health area: OT/physio, nursing, and physical education; were the three that entered in 1973 (Collaborator Maria Marta de Oliveira Sampaio).

The first class was formed in December 1975 and the recognition of the course took place in November 1976, through Decree nº 78.813 (LIMA, 2013). Maria Marta de Oliveira Sampaio assumed the coordination of the course in 1976 when the curriculum was reformulated, and in the second semester of the same year, the entrance exam for physiotherapy and occupational therapy began to be carried out independently.

According to Maria Marta de Oliveira Sampaio (2016), the course experienced moments of great demand by the community. However, with the emergence of new HEIs in the city and the creation of new options for higher courses, the demand for undergraduate occupational therapy UNIFOR was decreasing and, in 2016, after 43 years, there was no offer of classes (UNIVERSIDADE..., 2016).

In the second half of the 1970s, five courses were created, all in the Southeast region, three in the State of São Paulo, two in private institutions, in the Piracicaba Methodist University (UNIMEP), Piracicaba municipality, and the Pontifical University Catholic University of Campinas (PUC-Campinas), in Campinas, and one in a public institution, at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), in the city of São Carlos. The other two were in the city of Rio de Janeiro/RJ, at the Faculty of Rehabilitation of the Association of Solidarity to Exceptional Children (FRASCE), and in Belo Horizonte/MG, at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).

UNIMEP hosted the second occupational therapy course in the State of São Paulo, beginning in 1976, the first course in the area linked to a denominational, Methodist institution of private origin. In the testimony of Maria Heloísa da Rocha Medeiros, one of the first occupational therapists of the course, one can understand how this was structured:

One day I was at my house giving Mom and ringing the bel ... Iracema Vergotti15 She said “Helô”! I said, “What is it? Come in!” She said she was opening an OT course in Piracicaba and went to call me to teach in this course. She said that she and Maricy16 were in this course and they had just created a subject that called OT applied to social conditions, she said that the only OT that understood social conditions was me. I said, “I? I did not notice! I will not! It’s a lie!” In the second semester of 1977, I started to go once a week from São Paulo to Piracicaba. At UNIMEP the course was also paid (Collaborator Maria Heloísa da Rocha Medeiros).

At UNIMEP, the course lasted three years and it was recognized by the Ministry of Education (MEC) in January 1980 (Ordinance 92). With the formation of the first group, students were hired for teaching and coordination. There was also some institutional investment in the undergraduate infrastructure, including the expansion of internships. Nevertheless, in the 1980s, this course was closed.

The Occupational Therapy Course of PUC-Campinas was created in 1977, under the coordination of the occupational therapist Irene de Aquino Vilar, as Maria Heloísa da Rocha Medeiros (2015), points out, also a pioneer teacher of this institution:

[...] in 1978, Irene came to my house to say that she had started the occupational therapy course at PUC-Campinas in 1977 and was in need of a teacher. The course was paid.

This was the second course of the country linked to a private confessional institution, linked to the Catholic Church.

According to Maria Heloísa da Rocha Medeiros (2015), the university’s infrastructure to receive graduation was insufficient and classes were taught at the recently inaugurated Campus I, at the Faculdade de Artes Plásticas. However, Toldrá, Carvalho e Ballarin (2008, p. 132) emphasize that the pedagogical proposal of the course was “innovative and differentiated”, based on the standards advocated by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, which did not avoid claims of its alteration at this beginning. The training time was extended from three to four years and the requirement of the Course Completion Work was introduced since the first group, graduated in December 1980.

The recognition of the course took place in July 1981 (Ordinance nº 432). In 1982, a curricular restructuring of the course was begun, resulting from the elaboration, in the 1980’s, of the Pedagogical Project of the University, but also the result of the construction of the new minimum curriculum for occupational therapy graduations in Brazil (ASSOCIAÇÃO..., 1980; MAGALHÃES, 1989).

The PUC-Campinas course underwent periods of intense development, as well as several crises. Around 2010/2011, the institution did not offer a selective process in the area, however, this was reversed, and, currently, the graduation is in operation.

Concomitant to the establishment of the PUC-Campinas course, in Rio de Janeiro, the Occupational Therapy Graduation Course of the Faculty of Rehabilitation of the Association of Solidarity to Exceptional Children (FRASCE) was created, a private institution linked to a Rehabilitation Center. The first vestibular took place in March of 1977, offering 100 vacancies. Its regulation came by Decree 83,479, in May 1979.

Virgílio Cordeiro de Melo Filho (2015), a pioneer teacher of this course, comments:

[...] in the course of FRASCE’s OT was like this: Nelcy17 was before me to FRASCE, but it was not yet time for me to enter; I would only enter when the course began to give specifics OT. So when I started the specific subjects of OT, I went there (Collaborator Virgílio Cordeiro de Melo Filho).

In 1982, there was a favorable opinion on the change of the regiment of FRASCE, which contained the curricular structure of the graduations and the departmentalization of the subjects (BRASIL, 1982) However, the demands in 1983 by the minimum curriculum for occupational therapy courses did not please the Judge Libórni Bernardino Siqueira, president of the Association of Exceptional Child Solidarity (ASCE)18. With the authorization of the speech therapy course, 50 occupational therapy vacancies were relocated to the new area, since according to CFE Opinions 905 (1987) and 32 (1988), the occupational therapy course was extinguished, enabling such relocation. Thus, around 1985/1987, FRASCE would have stopped opening vacancies and finished its last occupational therapy classes (BRASIL, 1989). However, Silva ([2015?] apud BATTISTEL, 2016) states that graduation ran until 1991 or 1993.

Also in the late 1970s, the second course in a public HEI in the State of São Paulo, at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) was created in the city of São Carlos. The first vestibular one took place in August of 1978, offering 30 vacancies, as Maria Luísa Guillaumon Emmel, occupational therapist, professor pioneer of this graduation:

At the beginning of 1978, I learned that I would open the course of OT here [São Carlos]. I had a professor, from USP, José Rodrigues Louzã, a physiatrist, who came to have a course of OT at the request of the rectory. He had directed the Institute of Rehabilitation of USP, so I think the reference to bring him to open the course of UFSCar may have been from the Institute of Rehabilitation. The Occupational Therapy Course at UFSCar began in August 1978, because the entrance exam was in the middle of the year, and thirty students entered. As I took on the tasks of the course, prof. Louzã spaced his welcome to São Carlos and that is how I assumed the coordination of the course, with all the responsibility of assembling the structure of laboratories, the hiring of teachers and the construction of the first grade of trainees of the students. Also, of course, to prepare classes and teach various subjects. Initially, we were within the Department of Health Sciences, which had nursing, physio, OT and the entire basic health area (Collaborator Maria Luísa Guillaumon Emmel).

The course of the UFSCar was structured by the gynecologist physician José Rodrigues Louzã, former professor of the IR of the HC-USP. However, Maria Luísa Guillaumon Emmel was quickly hired by the HEIs to assume the obligations related to teaching and, later, to the coordination of the course, the position at that time still little occupied by occupational therapists. According to Rosa e Emmel (2001), the administrative and management activities developed by the teacher, such as coordination of courses and research centers, department heads, representation in collegiate bodies, an organization of events, to a certain extent delimit a political space and demarcate a position in the university space. With this, having courses coordinated by occupational therapists meant the possibility of academic advancement in the area.

According to Maria Luisa Guillaumon Emmel (2016), “[...] the course worked in the same building that was the rectory formerly, along with nursing. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy had a small room with two desks, one for each coordinator”; classrooms were common to all university courses. The coordinator’s first investment was the current curriculum change. In her words, “[...] I immediately began restructuring the curriculum by proposing a four-year course because I wanted this first group to take the course to the new profile”. The curricular change was approved in November of 1979 by the Education and Research Council of UFSCar (UNIVERSIDADE..., 2007).

New occupational therapist teachers were hired and began to contribute to the structuring of the course, including, according to Maria Luísa Guillaumon Emmel (2016), request to the National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) investments for research.

The recognition of this graduation occurred in September 1983, through Ordinance 400, but in 1984, there was a new curricular restructuring motivated by the national minimum curriculum of 1983 and the decision of the Undergraduate Chamber of UFSCar (UNIVERSIDADE..., 2007). Other curricular changes followed at UFSCar, and the last was carried out in 2015 and implemented in 2016.

The fifth and last occupational therapy course opened in the second half of the 1970s was installed in 1979 at the UFMG in Belo Horizonte, and the second graduation from the State of Minas Gerais, the first of a public nature. Carmen Teresa Costa, second lecturer occupational therapist of the course, comments:

In 1980, I went for the new course that I had opened at Federal (UFMG). When I got in it was already six months the first class had started. The course was hosted by the School of Physical Education, which at the time generated a series of discussions. It was being implanted by a great friend of mine, a physiotherapist, named Maria Lúcia Paixão, and had a pedagogical advisor, Rosa Belman Viote. Also, a proposal was made to open the course and I think I participated in some meetings, I made a collection of curricula of occupational therapists worldwide (Collaborator Carmen Teresa Costa).

The UFMG Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Courses were linked to the Physical Education School, which, according to the collaborator Carmen Teresa Costa, “[...] it had been founded by the military, even though it was public”; this connection shows the national historical context in which the first courses of occupational therapy were created in the midst of the effervescence of the military dictatorship.

Carmen Teresa Costa (2016) says that the course was structured in five years. The first group began in the second half of 1979 and, about two years later, the Department of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy was created at that school.

The first curricular reformulation of the UFMG occurred in 1985, motivated by the minimum curriculum of 1983 (UNIVERSIDADE..., 2008). Also, as the pioneer reports, the infrastructure of the course was being modified, as well as agreements to implement the internships. Currently, the course is consolidated and in operation.

In the beginning of the 1980s, until Resolution 4, of February 28, 1983, which established four years as a minimum time for undergraduate professional training and specified the need for proper content of the profession (LOPES, 1991),changing good part of the structure of the existing courses, there were three other undergraduate courses in occupational therapy in the country, all linked to private HEIs, two in the South region and one in the Southeast region - in Lins/SP, the fifth in that State.

The first graduation created in the 1980s was implemented in the Porto Alegre Institute (IPA), an institution linked to the Methodist Church, authorized by Administrative Rule no. 84,369, with the first selection process in January 1980 offering 50 vacancies (PACHECO, 2006). The occupational therapist Eliana Maria Dantas Anjos, the collaborator of this study, was the second specific teacher of the course and tells about her arrival at the IPA:

When I was a year and a half of graduation, in August of 1981, I came to Porto Alegre invited by the IPA. The Faculty of Health Sciences of the Porto Alegre Institute - IPA was creating courses in physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The institution I worked for was Methodist. I started teaching in a college in August of 1981 (Collaborator Eliana Maria Dantas Anjos).

According to Pacheco (2006), the IPA Occupational Therapy Undergraduate Course was implemented with the support of the São Paulo occupational therapist Marina Schivoleto, some physiotherapists from other states and the then director of the institution, Washington Gutierrez. The author points out that, after eight months at the IPA, Marina Schivoleto, coordinator of the course, left the HEI, leaving the coordination in charge of one of the physiotherapists participating in the foundation of the courses and coordinator of physiotherapy. This led to conflicts among the students of occupational therapy, since, even after the hiring of the occupational therapist Eliana Maria Dantas Anjos, the physiotherapist was maintained in the coordination of the course, passed on to Eliana only in 1982 (PACHECO, 2006).

In 1982, other occupational therapists began to be hired to teach in the course, when there was also a shift in the supply shift from nocturnal to evening (PACHECO, 2006). According to Eliana Maria Dantas, the schedule change among other purposes was carried out seeking to add value to the profession and attract other audiences (ANJOS, 2015).

The first class of the course in the IPA was graduated in 1983 and its recognition occurred in December of 1984 (Ordinance nº 524). In 1985, the first curricular restructuring occurred, motivated by the minimum curriculum of 1983. In 2013, the IPA course, a pioneer in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, no longer opened classes.

A course at the Salesian Colleges of Lins, in the city of Lins/SP, authorized by Decree 85,551, December 1980, was created at the time of the graduation of the IPA. The fourth course in the country was linked to a denominational institution - in this case, the Catholic church. According to Vendrame et al. (2005), in 1980, the course coordinator was under the responsibility of the occupational therapist Maria Augusta Gaiani, the first teacher of the course.

As in the UFMG, in Lins, occupational therapy training was linked to the Faculty of Physical Education for a long period, as described by the occupational therapist and second specific teacher of the area, Nuhad Dargham Simionato (2015):

As soon as I graduated in 1982, I was invited to work in the Occupational Therapy Course of the Faculty of Physical Education of Lins, that’s how it was called. When I started, the course had been working for two years. There was a faculty of physical education in Lins - FEFIL, and the director of the time, Father Eloy, wanted to expand the area of health and sought other courses, opened the courses of physiotherapy and occupational therapy. Thus, it remained for years until the processes of the courses were recognized and became known as Faculties of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy. These faculties were linked to the Mato Grosso Salesian Mission, based in Campo Grande (MS) (Collaborator Nuhad Dargham Simionato).

The first course began in 1981, with full-time classes for three years, but when Nuhad Dargham Simionato took over the coordination in 1982, he identified gaps in the curriculum and proposed the restructuring. However, given the current recognition process, the current curriculum could not be changed, and, in order to better train the first class, extracurricular courses were created, as well as a Clinical Rehabilitation School. According to the collaborator, the graduation of this first class was postponed to January 1984. Ordinance nº 389, in May of 1985, recognized the graduation, with the later extension of the course for four years (CENTRO..., 2007). In 2013, even after numerous academic achievements, the course was closed.

At the Tuiuti College in Curitiba/PR, the last course was established before the approval of the second national minimum curriculum, authorized in February 1981 by Federal Decree 85734 (NICKEL, 2007). This HEI belonged to Colonel Sidney Lima Santos, also the owner of the Sydney Antônio Rehabilitation Center (CRESA), as reported by the occupational therapist Milton Carlos Mariotti, one of the pioneer teachers of the course:

Tuiuti’s course opened in 1981. It was a family university, the university’s owner was a colonel named Sidney Lima Santos, he had a deaf son and at the time the son was a child/adolescent, he and the family created a rehabilitation center for deaf people. This center was growing and, as it also had a lot of difficulty in having the professionals in Curitiba, at that time there were few universities here, there was only the Federal and the PUC, so this Rehabilitation Center was growing and became a College of Rehabilitation and they created courses in physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and psychology. Later Tuiuti became a university center and later a university (Collaborator Milton Carlos Mariotti).

The structuring and coordination of this course were carried out by the occupational therapist and

[...] Professor Doris Broide Fridman. She lived in Curitiba for a while, she was a coordinator and participated in the assembly of the course (Collaborator Milton Carlos Mariotti).

After a selection process that offered 80 places for a four-year course, the first group began in 1981. The curriculum was prepared based on the one from 1963 but quickly adapted to the parameters put in 1983. For Ana Maria Silvello Pereira (2015), a pioneer teacher of the course, as the new teachers of the area arrived at the institution, the graduation was being consolidated.

In 1985, the first group was formed, with 30 students, recognized as professionals of higher level in May of 1986 (Ordinance nº 329), because until then they received the title of technologists (NICKEL, 2007).

One problem faced by the course was the emptying of classes throughout the school year. According to Nickel (2007), after 1991, the candidate/vacancy ratio did not exceed one to one, emptying that, coupled with the high monthly cost and the low social recognition of the profession, motivated the closing of the course. For the occupational therapist Nazaré de Andrade Monteiro (2015), a teacher from 1983 until the end of the course, this was due to the private nature of the HEI and the charges that had to be reached and to keep the students.

4 Final Words: Inventing/Building a Graduate Training in Occupational Therapy in Brazil

With the advent of occupational therapy courses, the need arose to hire professionals from the area to teach the subjects related to the specifics of the profession. However, there were still no people qualified for this role in Brazil.

In the first two courses, the specific teaching of the area was under the responsibility of two Brazilian social workers who took courses in occupational therapy abroad. One of them was Lila Linhares Blandy who was supported by the Occupational Pensions and Retirement Institute of São Paulo to study occupational therapy abroad and, upon returning to Brazil, she was assigned to contribute to the formation of the first group of the Occupational Therapy Technical Course of ERRJ (SOARES, 1987; CAMPOS, 1985).The other was Neyde Tosetti Hauck, an HC-USP employee, sent by the UN to the United States for an elementary occupational therapy course at New York University, from 1952 to 1954, and later from 1955 to 1957, supported by WHO, attended a regular course of occupational therapy at McGiel University in Montreal, Canada. Upon returning to Brazil, she was assigned to structure and teach in the IR Occupational Therapy Course (HAUCK, 1986).

As these courses were the first occupational therapists in the country, HEIs hired their graduates for technical work in Rehabilitation Centers and some of them also for teaching. This was the case with Hilde Wanderley Catanhede, who took the place of Lila in ERRJ, and with Maria Auxiliadora Cursino Ferrari, who, upon completing her training at IR, she was hired to teach on the course due to the departure of her teacher, the Canadian Elizabeth Eagles, at the end of 1965 (SOARES, 1987; FERRARI, 2013).

The collaborator Virgilio Cordeiro de Melo Filho refers to his graduation in 1971 at ERRJ and the simultaneity of the beginning of his teaching career. For the pioneer,

[...] the process of becoming a teacher was something like that, there was no one to give, you have a recent education. There is not you, you go! At that time, the course was three years. In my third year of school, I was already teaching. When I finished the course, I stayed at ABBR teaching (Collaborator Virgílio Cordeiro de Melo Filho).

At the beginning of the creation and consolidation of the courses, the newly trained professionals also went to other states to teach in those courses that were being founded. This was the case for Eliana Maria Dantas Anjos, a graduate of the EBMSP in Salvador, and one of the pioneers of teaching in Porto Alegre, as well as the pioneers Ana Maria Silvello Pereira, Milton Carlos Mariotti and Nazaré de Andrade Monteiro, who, graduated by PUC-Campinas, in the early 1980s, went to teaching in the course created in Curitiba. Ana Maria Silvello Pereira says that:

Regarding the process of selection and admission as a faculty member at Tuiuti College, it was not difficult, the course needed a teacher, there was no professional in Curitiba, so it was quiet. The professional interviewed the coordinator of the course, with the director of the university (he wanted to meet all the professors who were applying for the position), so access to this position was very simple (Colaboradora Ana Maria Silvelo Pereira).

In the dialogue with Milton Carlos Mariotti, the pioneer refers to the same selection process for hiring a teacher, reaffirming the selection criteria used. Even in the early 1980s, the simplicity of the selective process for the teaching function, as the pioneers report, reflected in the professional and academic incipience of the area.

Besides the lack of academic qualification of the new teachers, they suffered from the difficulty of accessing the specific bibliographic contents of the profession, something that they knew during their graduation. Most pioneers refer to only two occupational therapy books: “Williard & Spackman” and “MacDonald”, in the Spanish version, called by Virgilio Cordeiro de Melo Filho (2015) of “The Bibles of Occupational Therapy”. There were also some international journals of occupational therapy, but Maria Luisa Guillaumon Emmel (2016) reports that

[...] international journals were not like today that you go in the database and find; you had to ask the library to sign the journal. [...] but they arrived at six months, a year later.

The pioneer Nadeje Accioly, graduated by UFPE, comments on this difficulty:

I had some books, [...] but OT had almost nothing. In the book of Neurology, there was a sheet that was from OT but said very little. We were like crazy cockroaches, how would we know what occupational therapy was if there was no book, had nothing to divulge, had to look in newspapers and scientific journals abroad and ask to translate (Collaborator Nadeje Accioly).

The insufficient training of pioneer teachers, coupled with the difficulty of accessing bibliographical materials and insecurity arising from the exercise of the new profession, increased the difficulties of the teaching career, related to the lack of physical and administrative structure of HEI.

In fact, the first occupational therapists who entered the teaching career had to face numerous obstacles to continue the courses; they had to invent a new profession and, while inventing as teachers, it was necessary to build courses, train people and open up the labor market for new generations of professionals.

As reported by Eliana Maria Dantas Anjos,

[...] conceiving my adult self and conceiving an occupational therapy was all together. For me, it was together because I was a girl when I came to Porto Alegre. Conceive this, implementing OT here, make OT be respected here, give interview [...]. (Collaborator Eliana Maria Dantas Anjos).

In the speech of some pioneers, they were not always convinced of the graduation they were promoting or even of the profession that they were following. For Maria Luísa Guillaumon Emmel,

[...] this very beginning, especially the beginning, was very lonely; not that it was bad, but sometimes it gave me a great deal of anguish to know if what I was doing was truly what had to be done if it was right. (Collaborator Maria Luísa Guillaumon Emmel).

Nonetheless, without this pioneering commitment, it would not have started towards what is being built today and continues to be built in Brazil. Little was had in those first decades, but with the presence of the quality of what is desired.


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1 Ana Lúcia Soares, Amara Lúcia Holanda Tavares Battistel, Marisa Cotta Mancini, Michelle Selma Hahn, Omar Luís Rocha da Silva, Rosa Maria de Araújo Mitre, Rosé Colom Toldrá, Roseli Esquerdo Lopes, Sandra Maria Galheigo, Regional Council of Occupational Therapy and Therapy of the 7th Region.

2 Ângela Maria Bittencourt Fernandes da Silva, Ana Maria Silvello Pereira, Carmen Teresa Costa, Eliana Dantas Anjos, Ester de Lima Pires, Maria Heloísa da Rocha Medeiros, Maria Luísa Guillaunom Emmel, Maria Marta de Oliveira Sampaio, Milton Carlos Mariotti, Nadeje Accyoli Oliveira, Nazaré de Andrade Monteiro, Nuhad Draghan Simionato, Rosana Maria Silvestre Garcia de Oliveira and Virgílio Cordeiro de Melo Filho.

3 Retired Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar).

4 Professor of the Department of Physical Therapy, Speech and Hearing Therapy and Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo (USP).

5 Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, UFSCar.

6 In the interviews, after the presentations, there was a conversation to explain again the purpose of the study and to answer possible doubts, for the signing of a consent term for the academic use of the narrative and then the recording of the story. It is important to emphasize that a pre-established script was not used. The themes for the composition of the narratives were those presented initially. During the speech of the collaborator, interruptions were made only when the content was not understood.

7 This transcription took place only in the sense of the formalization of the oral language for the writing and for the creation of the biorhythms of the text, trying to establish a vital tone to the narratives (GATTAZ, 2015).

8 Photographs, school graduation histories, diplomas, leaflets, books, meeting minutes, journals and curricular structures of the first courses were collected.

9 Federal Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy.

10 It is worth noting that according to Trigo-de-Souza et al. (2008, p.10-11), “less than a decade after the installation of the Hospital das Clínicas, Dr. Waldo Rolim de Moraes was able to install there, in 1951, on the seventh floor of the Central Institute, the first course of Physiotherapy of Brazil, at a technical level, with a duration of one year, planned and sponsored by the Center of Studies Raquel de Barros with the objective of training the first qualified professionals to carry out activities in Physiotherapy. The classes were taught by the Faculty of Medicine and members of the Hospital’s clinical staff”.

11 Before the Eagles, the course was taught by Brazilian occupational therapists Neyde Tosetti Hauck, Eunice Pouchet and Olívia Ferreira (HAUCK, 1986).

12 For Moura Filho (2010 apud BATTISTEL, 2016), the aggregate recognition in 1968 officialized different courses denominated “occupational therapy and physiotherapy”, extinguishing the old rehabilitation course. However, the courses continued to be called a “rehabilitation course”. Only in 1974, Decree 73.666 corrected the name of the course for “Course of Rehabilitation of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy” (BATTISTEL, 2016).

13 Association of Parents and Friends of the Exceptional.

14 Bahia Institute of Rehabilitation.

15 Iracema Serrat Vergotti Ferrigno, occupational therapist, first specific teacher of the area in the Occupational Therapy Course of UNIMEP.

16 Maria Auxiliadora Cursino Ferrari, occupational therapist, a retired professor at FMUSP.

17 Nelcy Cocchiareli Teixeira, occupational therapist, a first specific teacher in the area of the Occupational Therapy Course of FRASCE.

18 Informal conversation with Omar Luís Rocha da Silva during the XV National Meeting of Occupational Therapy Teachers in 2016.

Received: May 05, 2017; Accepted: July 04, 2017; Accepted: August 15, 2017

Corresponding author: Stéphany Conceição Correia Alves Guedes Reis, Laboratório METUIA, Departamento de Terapia Ocupacional, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Rodovia Washington Luis, Km 235, CP 676, CEP 13565-905, São Carlos, SP, Brasil, e-mail:

Authors’ Contribution

Stéphany Conceição Correia Alves Guedes Reis and Roseli Esquerdo Lopes idealized the research proposal that this text is derived. The first author did the empirical research and drafted the initial version of the text, under the guidance of the second, both working directly in its final version. All authors approved the final version of the text.

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