While preparing content for our Mental Health and Ayres Sensory Integration Series, I found this great article, revisiting Lorna Jean King’s s
1978 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture. In this lecture, Lorna Jean King proposed a “science of adaptive responses”. Kleinman and Bulkey’s paper from March 2020 explores her proposal that the adaptive response is a “unifying theoretical model comprehensive enough to encompass the scope of occupational therapy yet specific enough to account for its uniqueness”. I think this article refocuses us on the building blocks of occupation and our unique skills and abilities to understand the complex links and relationships between physiology, anatomy, neuroscience and participation in everyday life. Not forgetting everything else in between and a clear focus on occupation!

“She used the concept, individual adaptation, to refer to the adjustments made by an individual in the ongoing process of interacting with the environment. Personal survival and actualization of potential were identified as the goals of individual adaptation, as distinguished from the evolutionary concept of species adaptation. Inherent in individual adaptation are adaptive responses, characterized by King as actIVe, goal directed, integrated, and self-reinforcing. She showed that normal development is represented by a series of such responses, that ongoing adult function is maintained by them, and that stress can be countered by activation of responses so defined. King suggested that Ayres’s phrase, “eliciting an adaptive response” (1, p 431), succinctly sums up what occupational therapists do. “

Kleinman and Bulkey (2020)

These two diagrams from the article providing a way of thinking about the practice of occupational therapy beyond Ayres’ SI, but with theoretical concepts rooted in it’s theory.

Read this interview with her about Autism and ASI with Adults.

More about Lorna Jean KIng, in this lovely ‘in memorium’ tribute written by DIana Henry and Judith Reisman.