Defining a Role for Occupational Therapy in the Transition from the Military to Academia: A Scoping Review
Elizabeth Cifuentes and Steven M. Gerardi
There is a paucity of literature on the role of OT for veterans in transition to school, and the literature that is available has not been systematically reviewed. This makes it difficult for OT practitioners to address the needs of veterans in transition from military service to school.
This scoping review was conducted to answer the question, “What is currently being done to address the transition of veterans from military service to academia and are within the scope of practice of occupational therapy?” An in-depth search of the literature was completed, and it was confirmed that there is no literature focused on OT working with student veterans.
This scoping review revealed that OT has a role on college campuses that involved advocating for student veterans and their unique needs, educating staff on challenges and solutions to transition, assessing challenges to transition to the student role, and advise on the development of skills, habits and routines that support the student role. By having OT practitioners involved on campus, student veterans can obtain optimal success throughout this transition.
Collin Cooper, Becki Cohill, Susan MacDermott, and Karen Park
Equine-assisted therapy (EAT) is a treatment that incorporates activities with a horse and the equine environment to reach rehabilitative goals specific to the client's needs and the medical professional's standards of practice (Meregillano, 2004; Path Int, 2021). There are many methods of using a horse in treatment. Therapeutic riding is a component of EAT, as well as horsemanship, groundwork, horse care, and stable management. Hippotherapy is a healthcare professional (OT, PT, SLP) treatment tool that occupational therapists (OT) use the horse's movement to facilitate change (Meregillano, 2004). Some research has demonstrated veterans who work with horses show improvement in quality of life and lower PTSD symptoms, leading to positive changes in self-care, productivity, and leisure (Johnson et al., 2018; Lanning & Krenek, 2013; Olenick et al., 2018).
Using the Model of Human Occupation and Person-Environment-Occupation Model, the purpose of this capstone project was to determine OT's role in EAT with veterans to increase occupational engagement in a safe and supportive equine environment, which will allow the veteran to heal. There is a gap in the research related to OT's role in EAT with the veteran population. Using EAT, OTs can individualize treatment sessions to provide benefits in physical, mental, and emotional aspects of veteran lives.
This capstone project consisted of three phases of data collection. Phase one was the scoping literature review focused on answering the question: What was the occupational impact of working with equines on the veteran population. Five electronic databases were searched with search terms including equine-assisted therapy and veterans and acceptable related terms such as hippotherapy, therapeutic riding, and EAGALA. Due to the fact, there is little occupational therapy-based research, the OTPF was used as a guide to identifying terms related to OT practice to determine any impact on occupational performance in veterans who participate in EAT. Twelve articles were reviewed after meeting the inclusion criteria. Phase two consisted of a mixed-methods survey to learn the perspective of 11 participants, which included OTs using hippotherapy, veterans, and therapeutic riding staff. Phase three consisted of conducting four informal interviews with stakeholders to perform a needs assessment relative to EAT and veterans. Three main themes were revealed following a thorough thematic analysis process. Veterans who participated in EAT experienced a positive impact on occupational performance. Occupational therapists do have a role in EAT with veterans to contribute to the success of programs and client occupational performance. However, several barriers to practice include funding, reimbursement, and governing equine organization disagreement.
This capstone project attempts to promote advocacy for EAT and veterans via a fieldwork proposal to allow opportunities for OT students at USAHS to develop clinical skills in a non-traditional treatment setting with veterans and horses. Further research is needed on the impact of occupations in an equine environment relative to OT practice and research related to finding solutions to the identified barriers found in this project. Advocating to the American Hippotherapy Association to establish supported veteran programming to ensure OTs can use the power of horses to provide care to veterans in need.
Kaitlyn Domingo, Becki Cohill, Susan MacDermott, and Karen Park
The purpose of this capstone project was to develop a cultural intelligence program for occupational therapy practitioners (OTP[s]). However, due to the results of the project’s research component, this capstone shifted to addressing a potential need for a global shift in the occupational therapy (OT) process and diversifying the content and dissemination of cultural training courses.
A mixed-methods survey was conducted to assess 45 OTPs’ confidence levels with delivering culturally intelligent care, their means of overcoming cultural barriers in clinical practice, and to collect anecdotes on the process of becoming a culturally intelligent practitioner.
Four primary research themes are developed during the data analysis phase: (1) A global shift in the OT process, (2) Occupational therapy education and cultural intelligence, (3) Language and the occupational therapy process, and (4) Becoming a Lifelong Cultural Learner.
This capstone project attempts to address the identified gaps via an outline to integrate increased cultural opportunities for OT students at USAHS during their fieldwork experiences. Future implementation and evaluation of the program is necessary to determine the efficacy of lived-experience on the student’s cultural intelligence and confidence levels. This project also hopes to expand and include programs for current OTPs in the future.
Priscilla Gim, Karen Park, Becki Cohill, and Susan MacDermott
The purpose of this capstone project was to advocate occupational therapy in low vision rehabilitation for improved access to low vision rehabilitation (LVR) for the adult population. However, due to COVID-19 pandemic, this capstone project shifted to a research study assessing limiting factors for occupational therapy collaboration with low vision services and exploring eye physician’s perception on low vision occupational therapy.
A mixed-methods survey was conducted to explore 54 eye physicians including Doctor of Medicine (MD) specialized in ophthalmology and Doctor of Optometry (OD)’s perception on the role of low vision occupational therapy, benefit of low vision occupational therapy, current referral status with low vision clients, and perceived barriers that limit collaboration. Three primary themes emerged during the analysis phase: (1) Doctors experienced barriers collaborating with low vision occupational therapy (LVOT), (2) Doctors had a good understanding on the role of LVOT, and (3) Doctors perceived LVOT as an integral low vision team member.
A qualitative study was conducted to assess 4 LVOT practitioners’ experience collaborating with LVR team members, perceived barriers providing services, and perceived needs for improvement. Three themes emerged during the analysis phase: (1) LVOT experienced a lack of knowledge on the role of LVOT by other professionals, (2) a lack of LVOT practitioners from limited job opportunity, and (3) a lack of training on low vision to become LVOT.
Additional needs assessment interviews were conducted to gain in-depth understanding of ophthalmology and optometry perspective on barriers that limit collaboration with LVOT and future direction of low vision rehabilitation.
The care coordination in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary LVR was complex and multifactorial. Future research should continue to explore and examine perception on low vision occupational therapy by other vision staff at non-profit organizations and other medical staff and management at the hospitals. This will be a vital next step in creating an interprofessional practice model for occupational therapy and low vision rehabilitation that is applicable to various settings including hospitals and non-profit organizations.
Burnout in Occupational Therapy Practice: An Investigation of Contributing Factors among Practitioners in Different Practice Settings within the United States
Zsienne Antonette Isidro, Susan MacDermott, Becki Cohill, and Karen Park
Burnout is a syndrome that can impact physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing (Cooper & Campbell Quick, 2017). It occurs in job-specific contexts and can materialize in any work setting where stress is unmanaged (Cooper & Campbell Quick, 2017). Burnout stems from an imbalance of work demands and resource availability, and it often results in poor personal and professional outcomes (Donovan et al., 2010; Glicken & Robinson, 2013; Maslach, 1998). Occupational therapists (OTs) are not exempt from experiencing burnout. The work of OTs can be psychologically and emotionally demanding, which places them at a higher risk for depersonalization and burnout (Lopez Munhoz et al., 2020). Burnout does not just hurt the practitioners; it can also impact recipients of care, employers, and the profession itself.
The purpose of this study is to investigate what personal, professional, and practice area or setting-specific factors contribute to the burnout experiences of OTs practicing in the United States. The study aims to provide insight on burnout in occupational therapy to determine what measures could be taken to prevent or manage it. It will also serve as a resource for future program development.
One hundred ninety-four (n=194) OTs participated in this mixed-methods survey including open and closed-ended questions. Participants were recruited through various online OT communities to maximize the survey’s visibility and to represent as many practice settings as possible.
Of the 194 participants, only 17 did not self-identify to have experienced burnout. The 17 participants still contributed to the rest of the survey and provided their input on potential personal and setting-specific factors that contribute to burnout in occupational therapy. 13 occupational therapy practice areas were represented in this study. The practice areas include academia, assisted living facility, forensics, general outpatient, general home health, pediatric home health, hospital-based rehab, psych& mental health, outpatient hands, pediatrics, school-based, skilled nursing facility, and travel therapy. The data confirms that burnout is a result of different factors and can be experienced by practitioners in any practice area. This study supports initial contributing factors identified through literature such as lack of understanding of the profession, increasing professional demands, financial constraints and student loan debt, and personal factors. Other contributing factors that emerged from this study include institutional factors, including factors unique to each represented practice area or specialty; work culture-related, and factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Burnout cannot be fixed by generic wellness programming alone. Future programming should be focused on the training and education of occupational therapy supervisors, managers, and administrators. Burnout management and prevention should also be tackled in personal and institutional levels. Additionally, early intervention through the integration of burnout education in OT curricula should be considered.
May Rose Lazarte, Karen Park, Becki Cohill, and Susan MacDermott
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported by the year 2050, about 26% of the population would be 60 years of age or older (CDC, 2020). As Baby Boomers (individuals born between 1946-1964) enter the Third Age, defined by lifestyle choice, consumption, and preservation of youthfulness, more and more individuals are given the opportunity to age in place and participate in new/refined lifestyles (Hostetler, 2011). Although, research has proven older adults, who are now in their later years in life, are prone to experience social isolation, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and social stressors (Valtorta et al., 2018). Older adults are typically in the life stages of retirement, experiencing multiple deaths of family members or friends, and/or a decline in health and well-being. Dattilo et al., (2015) stated it is important to consider the needs of older adults who lack social interactions at home and in the community, as it affects their overall quality of life. There is limited understanding of what specific leisure and social participation programs can be transitioned from the senior center to the home and community setting.
The purpose of this capstone project was to evaluate the needs of well-elderly adults’ leisure and social participation in order to improve successful aging and advocate for OTs role at a senior center. A needs assessment was conducted to understand the complexity of Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center (LMPSC) members’ leisure and social participation needs as it affects successful aging. Seventy-three LMPSC members completed the Life Satisfaction Index of the Third Age-Short Form (LSTA-SF) screening tool and 16 senior center members completed the semi-structured interview. The LMPSC members scored 41.01 out of 72 points on the LSTA-SF.
Four major themes were discovered through the semi-structured interviews and observations. Themes included: 1) Impact from COVID-19 Restrictions, 2) Needs for Technology Training, 3) Needs of Organization Skills, and 4) Needs for Aging in Place. This project displayed how an occupational therapist (OT) has the potential to play a significant role in supporting senior center members’ leisure and social participation.
Three key takeaways became evident from the needs assessment results: 1) the need to adapt activities from the senior center to the home and community setting to encourage leisure and social participation, 2) the need to teach older adults how to use technology to enhance engagement during online Zoom classes, presentations, and events, and 3) the need to evaluate services regularly to improve issues/problems in real-time.
The Role of Occupational Therapy in Supporting the Enculturation and Acculturation Process for Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Immigrants
Sherry A. Manoly, Susan MacDermott, Karen Park, and Becki Cohill
Objectives: The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox population in America has grown exponentially due to religious intolerance in Egypt. Many Copts move to the U.S. and experience feelings of helplessness because of the stark difference in American culture compared to the culture they had left behind. Occupational therapy (OT) is a profession that can impact the Copts due to the focus on gaining independence in life through participation in meaningful occupations. This qualitative study sought to answer the research question, “what is the current state of occupational engagement for recently immigrated Coptic Christian immigrants, and how can occupational therapy support immigrant populations?”
Methods: Eighteen participants filled out the 9-question open-ended survey discussing overall perceptions about moving to America. The survey data was analyzed based on thematic analysis guided by Braun and Clarke (2006).
Results: The seven overarching themes analyzed were consistent with the literature review conducted about the immigrant experience; participants stated that their experience moving to the US was challenging, and that connections to Egyptian culture are still strong. Participants overwhelmingly stated that services to ease transition into American lifestyle would have been beneficial.
Conclusion: Findings from this study would allow for OTs to expand knowledge about the impact of immigration to the US for minority groups such as the Copts using evidence-based practice. OTs can facilitate the enculturation of the Copts by re-establishing daily occupational routines and educating them on new cultural norms.
Incorporating Reminiscence Therapy into Traditional OT Practice for Adults with ADRD Residing in a SNF/LTC
Natasha Menard, Becki Cohill, Susan MacDermott, and Karen Park
As the population diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) raises from 5.3 to 12.7 million over the next three decades, this calls for a demand for treatments to address this population (Alzheimer’s Association, 2021; Atchinson & Dirette, 2017). While traditional practice often focuses on symptom management, the inclusion of functional activities alone does not fully address the negative side effects of ADRD (Kok et al., 2013; Lepore et al., 2017; Mayo Clinic, 2019). Both occupational therapy (OT) and reminiscence therapy have been shown to be effective methods to treat the ADRD population separately, but there is limited evidence currently demonstrating the benefits of the combined approach. This study aimed to address this gap by completing a needs assessment and developing a resulting program.
There were three methods to complete the needs assessment which included: (1) a qualitative study with OT practitioners addressing their current perceptions of the use of including reminiscence therapy into traditional OT practice for the ADRD population specifically in skilled nursing facilities (SNF) and long-term care centers (LTC), (2) semi-informal interviews were completed with level II fieldwork students regarding their education when treating this population and the use of the environment in their treatments, and (3) observations and 1:1 interactions were completed at an immersive reminiscence-based adult day program, which aimed to address the viability of the use of the Menorah Park Engagement Scale (MPES; Camp et al., 2015) in clinical OT practice, as well as identify how to utilize and incorporate reminiscence therapy into OT practice.
Themes found during the interviews included limited education for both the OT practitioners and level II fieldwork students with a desire to learn more, the practitioners also identified perceived barriers were largely intrinsic, while supports were intrinsic. The developed program, Creating Meaningful Moments, aims to fill the gap and address the barriers to use in practice identified by the OT practitioners and fieldwork students. The program is available online and will have a presentation developed and disseminated to OT practitioners at SNF and LTC facilities to increase education.
Overall, this approach serves to be another “tool in the toolbox of interventions” for OT practitioners, which can be selected when appropriate for patients with ADRD as a means to promote the therapeutic relationship and engagement in meaningful occupations.
Khalil Mrabe, Pam Kasyan-Howe, Kristin Domville, Stanley Paul, Tom Kowalski, and Derek Corley
As a result of many global conflicts and environmental instabilities, the refugee population is increasing in numbers throughout the world including North America. Refugees experience a distinct susceptibility to systemic barriers (Matlin, Depoux, Flahault, Saso, & Schütte 2018). As such, refugees suffer from a higher rate of physical and mental stress as a result of extreme suffering from the accumulative effects of physical and mental trauma, geological and cultural displacement (Hameed, S., Sadiq, A., & Din, A. U., 2019; Jamil et al., 2007). This unique and often neglected segment of the population can benefit from occupational therapy services to meet the demands within host communities.
In order to serve this population, there is a need to understand their unique experiences so that their occupational needs may be addressed and met by the OT profession. This qualitative research approach utilizing a mixed-methods survey questionnaire was designed to capture current refugee integration service structure and to propose the role occupational therapy might serve to help this growing population.
Alexandra N. Murguido, Pam Kasyan-Howe, and Kristin Domville
Strokes are the second leading cause of death and leading cause of long-term disability worldwide and incidence is on the rise (Katan & Luft, 2018). In the past 25 years, the burden of disability from neurological disorders, including strokes, have increased exponentially due to the increase in the aging population and decrease in mortality rates (Raghavan, 2019). Out of the 795,000 new victims of stroke annually, 26% remain disabled during activities of daily living (ADLs) and 50% experience a reduction in mobility due to hemiparesis (Katan & Luft, 2018). Although stroke survivors do receive rehabilitation services after the onset of the stroke, few receive the full course of proper rehabilitation to regain prior level of function and enhance quality of life (Lynch, et al, 2017). This is a result of the inequality of access to rehabilitation after a stroke, which is not only a problem in the United States but internationally as well (Lynch, et al., 2017).
Telerehabilitation is a form of technology that can be used to create a safe rehabilitation environment from the comfort of one’s home in addition to being cost-effective (Chen, et al., 2016). Telerehabilitation is a tool that occupational therapists can utilize to promote access to necessary rehabilitation services long-term. This emerging approach can enhance the continuity of care once patients are discharged from rehabilitation by ensuring that they continue to improve their recovery beyond what is available currently (Kairy, et al., 2016).
The purpose of this quantitative research project is to analyze stroke survivor’s perception regarding participating occupational therapy services via telehealth to improve their long-term recovery. Through survey methods, this project aims to identify how long-term participation in telerehabilitation improves stroke survivor’s participation in meaningful activities.
Ailien Nguyenly, Susan MacDermott, Karen Park, and Becki Cohill
The purpose of this capstone project was to develop a training program for swim instructors to better interact with individuals with disabilities before, during, and after swim lessons. However, due to the current pandemic, an online educational resource was created instead.
The educational resource utilized an occupational therapy approach to meet swim instructors' identified needs to work with individuals with disabilities. The e-book was intended to lay a foundation of basic knowledge of conditions, resources, tools, adaptations and provide support to shape swim lessons around individual needs.
A qualitative research study was conducted to assess the effectiveness and usefulness of the educational resource to 74 participants.
The findings indicated the participants lacked formal training, knowledge and resources to teach individuals with disabilities but would like to learn. Due to the low participation rate for the post-survey, these results are worth mentioning as preliminary findings but are not significant enough to determine the effectiveness and usefulness of the educational resource.
This capstone project can continue to be explored in the future to support swim instructors by providing in-person, in-water, hands-on training with additional resources and tool, current information on conditions, and modifications specific to an individuals' condition. This capstone project also hopes to influence interest in swimming and other aquatic sports for all individuals.
Shelby Osborne, Steven M. Gerardi, and Gina Benevente
Homelessness is a global and national occurring pandemic. Individuals experiencing homelessness tend to lack education; health resources; stress management; social, independent, vocational, and leisure skills. These causes of homelessness create adverse impacts on occupations leading to situations described as occupational injustice and barriers to occupational engagement. Due to these adverse impacts on occupations, homelessness is of concern to the occupational therapy profession. It is necessary to identify in what behaviors occupational therapy practitioners are engaging with this population to increase occupational performance and decrease occupational injustice.
The theoretical framework of the Model of Human Occupation and the Occupational Therapy Practice and Framework: Doman and Process 4th edition were used to outline this role of occupational therapy with the homeless population in a scoping review, as the literature has not been systematically organized to create a clearly defined role.
The results of this scoping review yielded 24 articles that met the inclusion criteria. The results of these articles were analyzed as six roles of occupational therapy with the homeless population: to screen, evaluate, assess, intervene, consult, and advocate.
As an implication for practice, the defined role of occupational therapy with the homeless population is to assess barriers, implement interventions that enhance the skills needed to independently engage in occupations, and advocate for inclusive services that involve the non-sanctioned occupations that are specific to this population.
An IPA Analysis Examining Transportation, Community Engagement, and Healthcare Access of Elderly Adults in a Rural Border Community
Madison Rowlinson, Angela Blackwell, and Karen Aranha
Introduction: There is a lack of understanding about the accessibility needs of elderly borderland residents, and the barriers that they face when they try to maintain their health and well-being.
Objectives: To analyze transportation and community engagement in a rural community on the US-Mexico border. To analyze the findings of transportation and community engagement in a rural community on the US-Mexico border.
Methodology: A triangulated study using the Place Standard Assessment, Semi-Structured Interviews, and a walking survey with the theoretical framework of the Person, Occupation, Environment, Performance (N=3). Data analysis consisted of comparing means generated by the PSA on 14 topics ranging from feelings of safety to self-control in their community setting, to emerging themes from SSIs on participants' perceptions on the same topics. Walking Survey findings were analyzed for emergent themes and used to support or refute the superordinate themes.
Findings: Feelings of generativity despite their frailty was important to the participants. Sustainability and the future of the community were a prime concern. Participants were Motivated to maintain their health, well-being, and independence to overcome the challenges of poor social and environmental determinants of health. Participants expressed a yearning for social engagement with others in the community and that the current physical and social environment of Sunland Park was not meeting their needs.
Implications: Elderly borderland residents would benefit from improved local public health services, with diverse stakeholders and interprofessional collaboration. There is a gap in the Occupational Therapy base of evidence on elderly borderland residents. There is a need for advocacy to enhance the well-being of this population. Elderly borderland residents would benefit from community-based occupational therapy to improve their well-being and facilitate social engagement with their peers.
Claire Ruth, Susan MacDermott, Becki Cohill, and Karen Park
Background: Those with chronic pain have worse drug and alcohol treatment outcomes and higher rates of relapse compared to those without pain or with reduced pain (Ilgen et al., 2020).
Methods: A descriptive study was employed with the aim of determining what are the sensory processing pattens of those with co-morbid chronic pain and in recovery for substance use. All participants completed the Adolescent and Adult Sensory Profile, the Brief Pain Inventory, and the Personal Recovery Outcome Measure (PROM).
Results: From the preliminary findings, individuals with co-morbid chronic pain and substance use may have atypical sensory processing in areas of sensation sensitive, sensation avoiding, and low registration, compared to the normative sample. Individuals within this clinical setting in general were not receiving non-pharmacological treatment for their pain. With pain fluctuating between mild (2.2/10) and severe (6.0/10) throughout the day. Results of the PROM were an average of 21/30. Item 21 states “I can manage stress”. From these findings a 5-week sensory based OT Group was implemented at a PHP/IOP treatment center focusing on self-management, health-management, and stress reduction strategies to improve overall occupational performance.
Conclusion: Individuals with co-morbid chronic pain and substance use may have sensory processing patterns that are impacting function and recovery. This highlights the potential value of further research and consideration in clinical practice of these unique patterns and how they may be impacting recovery and long-term sobriety.
Jessica Sabbara, Becki Cohill, Susan MacDermott, and Karen Park
Food insecurity is a prevalent problem in the United States (Feeding America, 2021). The COVID-19 pandemic has exasperated existing health disparities including access to the food resources necessary for a healthy lifestyle (Feeding America, 2021). The impact of food insecurity on health, well-being, and quality of life is well-documented Schmelzer & Leto, 2018; Seligman et al., 2010 Emerging adults and college students may experience food insecurity due to limited access to nutrition assistance programming and low food literacy (El Zein, et al., 2019; Owens, et al, 2020). Occupational therapy (OT) practitioners can serve an important role in reducing food insecurity by addressing barriers and supporting participation in food-related occupations (Juckett & Robinson 2019; Schmeltzer & Leto, 2018). OT practitioners can also improve food literacy through skill acquisition, as well as lifestyle or environmental modifications
The purpose of this project was to conduct a needs assessment in order to design programming that will promote lasting food security and occupational engagement among emerging adults and college students of all ages.
This project included three components: a research study, a needs assessment, and program development. The mixed-methods research study was designed to answer how does food insecurity impact occupational engagement/performance? The study involved a survey (n=5) and semi-structured interview (n=1) with five students from a rural community college in California. The needs assessment (n=14) explored areas of need for basic needs programming to support college students experiencing food insecurity. The findings indicated that to reduce food insecurity in college, future programming should address 1) financial literacy, 2) food literacy and nutrition, 3) CalFresh and food resource barriers, and 4) system or external barriers. The need to support food literacy was a common connection between the literature, the research study, and the needs assessment. The study and needs assessment informed the development of an online resource for college students and college professionals to access in order to reduce food insecurity among college students.
This project adds to the literature on the role of OT for food security and identifies a need for OT practitioners to be more involved in health promotion and prevention services. Future research should explore the role of OT for food security with emerging adults and college students at various institutions.
Jasmine Shahin, Pam Kasyan-Howe, and Kristin Domville
Throughout the years, youth participating in violence has become an increased concern around the nation as there is an increase in media outlets displaying tragedies, such as mass school shootings caused by students. The at-risk youth population is a specific population disadvantaged in engaging in safe and health-promoting activities due to limited resources or opportunities. As a result, at-risk youth make decisions based on their disadvantaged environment (Farajzadegan et al., 2018; Gallagher et al., 2015a). Factors including socioeconomic status, social support from family or friends, and mental health impact an individual’s opinions, attitudes, and interests as well as their occupational choices. When one or more of these factors are lacking, it may hinder both social participation and self-regulation skills. Poor social participation and self-regulation skills impair initiating and maintaining positive relationships and the ability to cope and adapt to the social environment. When constantly faced with traumatic or significant life challenges, at-risk youth are more likely to have lower self-efficacy or beliefs in their capabilities (Burger & Samuel, 2017). Occupational therapists can further develop social participation and self-regulation skills. However, they are underutilized on intervention teams for the at-risk youth population despite their trained background in mental health. Therefore, the purpose of this capstone project was to implement an occupation-based program to improve social participation and self-regulation skills in at-risk youth to prevent youth violence and decrease maladaptive behaviors.
Exploring the Benefits of Adaptive Baseball From the Parent Perspective / Exploring the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Athletes
Kristen Yee, Karen Park, Becki Cohill, and Susan MacDermott
Sports can be an integral part of a child and adolescent’s life; however, those with disabilities, regardless of severity, are less likely to participate in organized sports compared to their peers. Adaptive sports accommodate the varying ability levels of individuals through environmental modifications or the use of specialized equipment.
The purpose of this project was to understand the benefits of participation in adaptive baseball from the parent perspective to increase awareness of the sport and better inform the role occupational therapy has in helping individuals engage in meaningful occupations that promote health and well-being, social participation, and a sense of belonging.A qualitative study was performed through virtual interviews with parents from around the United States.
Themes revealed the impact participation in adaptive baseball had on the child’s sense of self-efficacy and participation in school as well as an increased sense of community and opportunity for new social relationships for both the parent and player.
This project also consisted of a separate quantitative study that focused on exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on athletes across the country to better inform the role of occupational therapy in helping athletes adjust to new life transitions within the community. The COVID-19 virus led to a global pandemic that disrupted sport participation and left many athletes with increased feelings of fear and anxiety and decreased self-identity. A quantitative study was performed through online surveys to gain the perspective of how the pandemic has impacted current athletes from across the United States.
Results highlighted the athletes’ current emotions and challenges due to reduced sport participation. Both athletes and sports organizations remain resilient and flexible towards a new normal.
This collection of SOAR@USA gathers poster presentations from 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 April 15, 2021.
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