Exploring Accessibility and Social Inclusion for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children in Residential Camps through the Occupational Therapy Lens
Tiffany Coles, Susan MacDermott, and Becki Cohill
Children engage in various play, leisure, and social participation activities to enhance the development of life skills, independence, and social skills. Residential camps provide an opportunity to engage in leisure activities while learning to become independent and self-confident while socializing and making new friends. However, having a disability such as deafness and hearing loss may impact the camper’s experience.
This digital guidebook offers videos, pop-in information, and links to valuable resources for working with and understanding the Deaf and Hard of Hearing culture. The guidebook incorporates inclusionary strategies to help the campers and the staff develop inclusive mindsets and social skills that can be applied within their daily lives. Throughout the guidebook are tips and tricks of inclusion from the occupational therapy lens, in addition to relevant data from the authors research study. The guidebook is then broken down into seven chapters that range from learning the basics about hearing impairment, the camp environment, inclusion strategies, and American Sign Language education
Charissa Endow, Susan MacDermott, Becki Cohill, and Karen Park
Teaching is well-documented as a high-stress career and teachers who work with high-risk youth are exposed to additional stressors exacerbating this problem (Bottiani et al., 2019).
An in-depth needs assessment was conducted using an online survey, observations, interviews, and the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Educator Survey. The needs assessment revealed demand to increase communication and positive acknowledgment, promote a healthier lifestyle, and provide more wellness resources.
A program was developed and proposed to address high psychological stress and burnout which can result in teachers experiencing dissatisfaction, absenteeism, and high turnover. The program is designed to help enhance workplace wellness for teachers and staff working with high-risk youth using an occupational therapy perspective.
Occupational therapy has the potential to enhance workplace wellness by means of promoting overall health in addition to improving the physical environment. A toolkit was developed which includes a wellness resource packet, guide for a 6-week group communication session series, positive feedback initiatives, and a gamified health incentive plan.
Enhancing Quality of Life for Individuals with Dementia through a Virtual OT Based Equine-Assisted Activities Program
Lauren Fearn, Becki Cohill, Karen Park, and Martha Gipson
Individuals living with dementia typically experience progressive, cognitive, and functional decline which limits their ability to communicate and fully perform activities (Pimouguet el al., 2019). Horses have been shown to benefit individuals with dementia by improving well-being, physical health, functional capacity, and social relationships (Fields et. al., 2019). A 6-week OT based virtual equine-assisted activities program was conducted to determine if participation in equine-assisted activities could improve the quality of life of individuals with dementia. Outcomes of the program resulted in improvements in mood, energy level, engagement, communication, memory, socialization, and overall quality of life.
FromSubjectReceivedSizeCategoriesLauren FearnAbstract for Poster7:11 PM26 KB
Brittney Grant, Susan MacDermott, Becki Cohill, and Karen Park
Older adults report they disengage from adventurous leisure activities as they age, such as camping, because it becomes more physically difficult to complete and it is challenging to find peers willing to participate. A study was developed to determine strengths and challenges (if any) older adults (65+) experience while participating in the occupation of camping. Mixed methods virtual surveys (n=64) and semi structured interviews (n=19) were implemented to develop qualitative and quantitative data. The results were categorized into five themes: barriers and challenges affecting participation in camping, camping for socialization, upgrade in accommodation for increased “creature comforts”, camping as a tradition, and the benefits of camping as an older adult. The results were then used to develop the Camp-OT.com website. The website is a useful tool for older adults to use when planning a camping trip for the first time or looking for activity adaptions to continue participation in camping. The goal of the website is to increase the client’s personal causation towards camping and therefore increase engagement.
Self-Regulation for Adolescent Survivors of Sex Trafficking: An Occupational Therapist’s Perspective
Elyse Harmon, Becki Cohill, Susan MacDermott, and Karen Park
Adolescent survivors of sex trafficking (SST) are susceptible to being in a continual dysregulated arousal state due to a lack of mastery in self-regulation. During the trafficking experience, many adolescent SST experience severe trauma and are deprived of opportunities that foster essential regulatory capacities needed for occupational engagement. The use of sensory-based approaches that focus on addressing arousal dysregulation and the impact it has on occupation is an evidence-based practice grounded in occupational therapy research.
This capstone sought to support community reintegration for adolescent SST through the development of sensory-based programming that fosters self-regulation, a skill necessary for lifelong occupational participation. A needs assessment at a short term residential therapeutic program identified that challenges in self-regulation had a negative impact on sleep, education, feeding, leisure, and social participation. Program development targeted the establishment of meaningful sensory and occupation-based routines that focus on regulating arousal levels. Through empowering survivors to establish routines that foster self-regulation, this program lays a foundation for lifelong occupational participation.
Trisha Irwin, Angela Blackwell, Anne H. Watson, and Steven M. Gerardi
The capstone project discusses disproportionate rates of disciplinary practices utilized in public education and examines the negative impact current disciplinary practices have on adolescent well-being, school climate, student engagement, and student outcomes. Public schools across the United States are utilizing exclusionary disciplinary practices wherein the consequence often is more extreme than necessary, influencing continued student misconduct, failing to address trauma and deficits in social-emotional skills, and limiting academic performance and participation for all students.
The purpose of this project is to inform occupational therapy practitioners of their potential roles in addressing school disciplinary practices to better support students in promoting positive behavior in the classroom, preventing misconduct, establishing appropriate social-emotional skills, and enhancing academic participation through a holistic and strengths-based approach. The capstone project was divided into phases including the data gathering phase, the writing phase, the peer review phase, and the revising phase.
The product of the capstone project is a concept paper for occupational therapy practitioners of the roles in which they may become involved in addressing school disciplinary practices. Occupational therapy practitioners are an asset to schools in improving disciplinary practices that foster active participation in their educational community and promote more effective school performance of the child. The capstone project urges school-based occupational therapy practitioners to consider their available role in addressing disciplinary practices to better enable the engagement of all children in public education.
Life After Death: An Occupational Therapy Perspective on Supporting Hospice Caregivers in the Transition out of the Caregiver Role
Shreya Patel, Susan MacDermott, Becki Cohill, and Karen Park
A phenomenological study was conducted to evaluate the occupational impact of transitioning out of the hospice family caregiver role in order to define and advocate for occupational therapy’s role in hospice and bereavement care, during and after hospice services. This study was conducted using qualitative in-depth interviews of former hospice family caregivers recruited from Facebook groups, online caregiver forums, and snowball sampling. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded using the software Dedoose, and analyzed thematically. The results of the thematic analysis suggested that the occupational impact of losing the caregiver role is correlated to (1) the quality of support systems, (2) social, cultural, spiritual and religious influences, and (3) participation in occupations that connect them to their loved one, personal projects and goals, and health-promoting restorative occupations. Occupational therapy can be a beneficial support in the assessment and intervention of occupational impacts in pre-bereavement and bereavement services to increase positive health outcomes and quality of life.
Bryana Salazar, Susan MacDermott, Becki Cohill, and Karen Park
Objective: The purpose of this study is to identify occupational therapy’s role in supporting paternal wellness and mental health through routines and occupations, following the transition from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) back home.
Study Design: Online surveys (n=32) and virtual interviews (n=11) were collected in order to complete a mixed-method design study. Interviews were manually transcribed and coded onto Dedoose. Thematic analysis was conducted in order to derive overall themes.
Results: This study delved into the experience of fathers’ post NICU discharge. Five overall themes were identified in this study Adjusting Expectations of the initial transition, Changes in Priorities, The Unexpected Toll of the NICU, Coping and Healing and Fathers and Healthcare Providers. This study emphasized how the continued difficulties and emotional toll following a NICU stay affects fathers’ engagement in self-care due to feelings of guilt. Narrative writing became an important occupation for fathers creating a therapeutic and community space for them to cope. Furthermore, this study indicates areas in which to improve communication between fathers and healthcare providers.
Conclusions: Findings from this study indicate that fathers would benefit from continued support post NICU discharge due to the continued challenges following a NICU stay. Occupational therapists can help support father’s occupational balance in order to promote positive engagement in self-care activities. Furthermore, occupational therapists are in the perfect role to create future programming addressing the needs of fathers in order to promote a smooth transition home.
Alejandra Sanchez, Angela Blackwell, and Gina Benevente
This project aims to create a safe and inclusive playroom for children 0-4-year-old with visual impairment (VI), and to promote the development in social interaction, motor, and process (thinking) skills. With the use of play, children with VI can improve their developmental skills by their interaction with peers and the environment which will improve their well-being. The Person-Environment-Occupation- Performance Model was used to find dysfunction in the constructs that would limit the performance in play for children with VI. The project renovated the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SALBVI) playroom to accommodate the needs of the children with VI. Universal design principles were used to increase inclusivity and safety to reduce parental overprotection during activity and encourage exploration for children with VI. Handouts were created to increase caregiver role competence and understanding of what are the needs of children with VI and how to support the children's development and participation in play.
Valerie Maxine Sanderson, Steven M. Gerardi, and Jerilyn Callen
Transitioning from high school to college can be a challenge for many students, especially those with social anxiety disorder (SAD). SAD can negatively impact a student’s ability to effectively participate in school. Occupational therapy intervention could be useful to students with SAD but many do not seek out treatment due to fear of stigmatization or discrimination. Not seeking services may place students with SAD at risk of developing unhealthy coping strategies (e.g., avoidant behaviors, alcohol use). The availability of an online resource to support participation in school, without the need to disclose their condition, could be helpful to students with SAD. However, online resources that provide evidence-based, occupation-based approaches that students with SAD can employ to foster effective participation in school are not currently available.
The purpose of this project was too create an educational online resource for individuals with SAD that contains evidence-based occupation-based interventions that have been shown to decrease anxiety and promote adaptive habits and routines. The website, Student Mental Health Matters (SMHM), was created to promote the participation in therapeutic occupations that have been shown to reduce anxiety. Participation in these occupations may enable students to more effectively participate in the academic setting. Future studies on the effectiveness of Internet-based approaches to help students with SAD are warranted.
Cadence Starr and Angela Blackwell
Sexual activity is the most neglected and unspoken about Activity of Daily Living (ADL) in occupational therapy clinical practice due to lack training on how to address it with clients. Addressing the Unspoken ADL is a professional development training, created to train occupational therapist on how to talk about and include sexuality into evaluations and intervention strategies when working with individuals with spinal cord injury. This poster presentation outlines the completed literature review and development and implementation of Addressing the Unspoken ADL: A Professional Development Training.
Creating a Sustainable Occupational Therapy International Collaboration through the Development of a Cross-Cultural Pediatric Experience
Melissa Valencia, Becki Cohill, Beverly Hoffman, Susan MacDermott, and Karen Park
The multicultural population is expected to rise to 56% by the year 2060 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017). Despite the ongoing increase in cultural diversity of the U.S. population, there still continues to be limited diversity in the field of occupational therapy (Crowe et al., 2016). In academia, it is recognized that there is a need for a necessary to focus on culture and occupational therapy. However, it is questioned to what extent this is actually implemented into the academic curriculum as what constitutes cultural competency in entry level practitioners varies (Humbert et al., 2012). Society is becoming less mono-cultural, indicating that health care professionals will likely be working in culturally diverse communities (Shield et al., 2016). However, only providing and teaching culturally specific information does not create competence (Shield et al., 2016).
Developing an experience that allows for cultural encounters followed by reflections creates cultural awareness (McAllister et al., 2006). These experiences can be created through developing global partnerships. In order for global partnerships to be effective, there must also be a shared awareness of the mutual benefits that the experience will bring. There are limited global partnerships between professionals, students, and scholars in occupational therapy from the U.S. and Belize, as the profession of occupational therapy has not been established there yet. A collaboration between the U.S. and Belize could be the first step to create a global partnership to further advocate for the profession of occupational therapy within each country and worldwide.
The purpose of this project is to create a sustainable international occupational therapy partnership between an occupational therapy institution in the U.S. specifically the University of St. Augustine in San Marcos, California and The Inspiration Center in Belize. This will be accomplished by creating an opportunity to participate in a cross-cultural pediatric experience with the Belizean population.
Occupational Therapist Role in Post-Secondary Education Transition Program: Emphasis on Self-Advocacy Skills
Nikki Voorhees, Becki Cohill, and Susan MacDermott
It is becoming increasingly important for individuals to obtain post-secondary education in order to gain employment (Alverson et al., 2019; Chandroo et al., 2018). This increased importance to attend post-secondary education makes it imperative for students who are graduating from high school to be fully prepared for the transition to post-secondary education (Rothman et al., 2008). The transition from high school to post-secondary education is difficult for any individual. However, it is even more difficult for students with learning differences, as they tend to have problems in the areas of social skills, communication, problem solving, self-advocacy, and executive functioning (Alverson et al., 2019). These are critical skills required for successful post-secondary transition planning. This indicates a necessary role for OTs to contribute to students’ transition planning as OTs are fully equipped to support the development of skills such as self-advocacy and self-determination (Angell et al., 2019; Spencer et al., 2017). However, currently, there is a limited number of OTs working in transition planning for postsecondary education (Dirette, 2019).
The purpose of this capstone project is to develop an occupational therapy-based transition program from high school to post-secondary education. The program will focus on social, self-advocacy, and self-determination skills to help the students transition from high school to post-secondary education as smoothly as possible.
Shayal Ram, Susan MacDermott, Becki Cohill, and Karen Park
The purpose of this capstone project was to create an occupation-based program that could be integrated into the lifestyle patterns of adults to potentially assist reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The number of Americans living with AD is expected to grow up to 16 million by 2050 (Smallfield & Heckenlaible, 2017). The risk for developing the disease could be reduced through lifestyle modifications (Hussenoeder & Riedel-Heller, 2018). Using occupation as a means for health promotion and disease prevention is an emerging area for occupational therapy practice (AOTA, 2014). This capstone sought to increase awareness of internal motivators that could help foster healthy behaviors incorporated into lifestyle to reduce the risk of AD and contribute to an overall well-being.
This collection of SOAR@USA gathers poster presentations by graduating students of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. These students presented the results of their capstone research at the Fall 2020 Virtual OTD Symposium, held online on December 11, 2020.
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