Supporting Black Mothers in Health Management Occupations During Prenatal Care: An Online Resource for Occupational Therapists
Aminee Alexander, Mary Smith, and Diamond Rashad
Black women are disproportionately affected by high maternal morbidity and mortality rates, impacting their ability to perform their role as mothers. Research has shown that close to half of these maternal morbidity and mortality events are preventable, demonstrating that care that employs prevention strategies and supports self-management of conditions is beneficial to lowering the rate at which these events occur. Although maternal health (MH) is an emerging area of practice for the profession, occupational therapists (OTs) are well equipped to provide preventative care to expectant mothers and assist in providing care that can aid in lowering the maternal morbidity and mortality rates.
Because there is limited guidance available for occupational therapy practitioners (OTP) on their role in working with black expectant mothers, the purpose of this capstone project was to create an online resource for OTs interested in black maternal health that focuses on improving health management occupations to aid in the prevention of maternal morbidity and mortality events. This was created by interviewing and observing MH stakeholders, interviewing OTP that practice in MH, and performing an extensive literature review. Once the resource was created, OTP and occupational therapy students peer reviewed the resource then provided feedback on the relevance of the information. Upon the conclusion of the revision process, the project dissemination included sharing the resource with the capstone team and capstone experiential site, releasing to the public, and future presentations at various conferences.
Tech 4 Kids: Increasing Opportunities for Children with Disabilities to Explore Technical Theatre Arts
Kaitlyn Allemand, Angela Blackwell, and Erik Pérez
This poster presentation is about a four-week program for children with disabilities named Tech 4 Kids. The program focused on expanding opportunities for a creative outlet and improving participants' self-competence, creativity, well-being, and social-emotional skills through activities surrounding the stage, set, lighting, props, and costuming.
CALM SR: Classroom Activities for Learning and Managing Self-Regulation
Corina Arroyo, Angela Labrie Blackwell, and Mallorie Garcia
CALM SR is a program developed for 3-4-year-olds to increase successful participation in desired occupations due to improved self-regulation skills. This program is designed for implementation in a preschool setting over the course of 9 weeks. This program incorporates activities that target sill acquisition across multiple domains. Activities are supplemented by literature, visual displays, modeling, and facilitation of the self-regulation process.
The Role of Occupational Therapy in a Student Athlete’s Transition from High School to College
Justus Basinger, Keisa Boykin, and Mary Shotwell
The purpose of the project is to identify the issues facing student-athletes as they transition from high school to college and to determine occupational therapists’ role in the transition for student-athletes. To allow for specialized help in the transition process from high school to college, this research project will provide greater detail about the areas in which student-athletes experience stressors.
Educational Modules Promoting Neurodiversity-Affirming Sensory Interventions
Deanna Bourgeois, Mary Smith, and Gina Benavente
Neurodivergent children often experience differences in sensory processing and self-regulation. Traditional sensory-based interventions are frequently used by occupational therapy practitioners (OTP) and caregivers to address dysregulation. Sensory-based interventions are strengths-based but not always neurodiversity-affirming. There are few educational resources available that promote neurodiversity-affirming sensory interventions.
The purpose of this project was to create self-paced educational modules to teach neurodiversity-affirming sensory interventions promoting children's self-regulation. The student investigator developed virtual educational modules and piloted them with OTP, occupational therapy students, and caregivers during the capstone experience. The participants engaged with the modules and also submitted responses to pre-and post-surveys. Based on analysis of the mixed-methods surveys, research participants increased confidence in their knowledge of neurodiversity principles, sensory processing, self-regulation, and neurodivergent experiences.
Database of Video Games and Their Therapeutic Properties
Tyler Brinkman, Steven M. Gerardi, and Kaitlyn Jones
A capstone project poster presentation showcasing the development of an online database that catalogs commercially available video games and their therapeutic properties to serve as a tool to facilitate video game use as therapeutic media in occupational therapy practice.
Promoting Neurodiversity Across The Lifespan
Erika Chavez and Karen Park
A poster to assess the overall needs of neurodiverse populations who participate in adult day programs and have opportunities to engage within their community. The purpose was to empower neurodiverse populations throughout adulthood to be themselves and engage with others and in occupations as they see fit.
An Exploration of the Experience of Leisure Among Adults Who Immigrated to the United States from Latin American Countries
Violeta Chavez Serrano, Jazminne Orozco Arteaga, and Karen McCarthy
Kaplan (1975) defined leisure as a self determined activity that is pleasant and allows for personal growth. Although the diversity among the population in the United States has continued to increase over the past years (United States Census Bureau, 2019) the amount of leisure research related to race and ethnicity is relatively limited. According to Floyd et al., (2008) only 4.5% of published articles highlighted the impact of race and ethnicity on leisure. Exploring how personal context influences occupational engagement, by examining a specific group's experience engaging in an occupation can help further develop the understanding of how personal factors impact occupational performance and meaning. Adults who immigrate to the United States from Latin American Countries are faced with multiple factors that impact how they engage in leisure such as residing in a new environment, language barriers, cultural disconnect, and high emphasis on work productivity (Stodolska & Shinew, 2015). The results obtained from this research can help promote awareness regarding the lived experience of Latino immigrant adults, and increase understanding of how environmental factors impact immigrant adults' participation and definition in leisure. This information can help support the development of culturally relevant care and increase occupational science literature related to leisure, race and ethnicity.
Adaptive Sports Equipment: A Resource for Clinicians, Coaches, & Athletes
Allison Chown, Steven M. Gerardi, and Christopher Ebner
About 61 million adults who live in the United States (US) have a disability, which equates to about one in four adults in the US (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020). Unfortunately, only one out of every ten people who need assistive technology (AT) have access to the proper equipment, with lack of awareness of the devices being one of the causes (World Health Organization [WHO], 2018). It has been noted in literature that a lack of awareness exists amongst clinicians, coaches, & athletes regarding available adaptive equipment (AE) to support participation in adaptive sports ([AS] Bergem, 2020). The lack of knowledge of adaptive sports equipment amongst clinicians, coaches, and athletes with disabilities is a barrier to participation in AS. The purpose of this capstone project was to create an online resource that describes the types of AE available to enable participation in AS by athletes with disabilities. The Human Activity Assistive Technology (HAAT) Model was used to develop this online resource that considered a range of activities, contexts, and client factors that determine the selection of AE to participate in sports. A comprehensive adaptive sports equipment resource was published on CAF’s website that provides information on AE for 18 sports total. Further expansion of the webpage is needed to include AE for additional sports, ensuing improved access to and knowledge of adaptive sports equipment among clinicians, coaches, and athletes with disabilities.
An Occupational Therapy Approach to Play for Pediatric Cancer Patients
Michelle Erika Dytan and Karen Park
Play as an occupation has been long identified as a primary aspect of a child’s life (Moore & Lynch, 2017). Play provides children with ways to explore the world while learning skills to improve critical thinking, creativity, and positive self-esteem, and simply to have fun (Guirguis, 2018; Yanof, 2019). Children with cancer face barriers that limit their ability to engage in play, with negative consequences to their social, cognitive, and emotional development (Nijhof et al., 2018). There is an evident gap in a lack of play opportunities in community-based settings, which may limit a child’s personal development, social skills, and leave a negative impact on their mental health outcomes (Frygner-Holm et al., 2020). As families play a vital role in a child’s continuum of care, there is often a lack of social engagement and psychosocial support for caregivers (Jones et al. 2022). Therefore, this capstone project aimed to develop a program for children with cancer to increase play opportunities to improve social participation and mental health outcomes while providing support for caregivers in a community-based setting. In learning about the lived experiences of children with cancer and their caregivers, informal interviews and occupational profiles were gathered to examine supports and barriers in their environment that affected their occupational performance (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2020). Several barriers to occupational performance included the effects of cancer treatments, being in and out of hospitals, transitioning to a community, social isolation, and negative mental health outcomes. The program established weekly groups for children with cancer to engage in play, alongside caregiver support groups. Several resources were also provided to children, families, and staff, focusing on wellness, play considerations for children with cancer, mental health resources, cultural considerations, support groups, and much more. This project contributes to the profession of occupational therapy by providing a valuable, client-centered role in supporting children with cancer and their caregivers as they transition to a community-based setting to promote meaningful play activities and wellness resources to develop skills needed for their daily life as they transition into a new environment and unfamiliar time in their lives.
An Occupational Therapy Approach to Promote Body Positivity in Middle School Aged Youth
Janis Galindez and Jazminne Orozco Arteaga
Middle school aged children are in a vulnerable developmental period that pose challenges toward maintaining a positive body image. Consequently, body image can be a mental health concern that can lead to a decrease in occupational performance in education, leisure, and social participation.
School settings currently do not have the appropriate resources or mental health initiatives to address occupational performance problems related to body image with middle school aged youth. However, occupational therapists (OTs) have the potential to provide mental health services to address body image in school and community settings that promote skills needed for meaningful participation in education, leisure, and socializing.
The purpose of this capstone project was to demonstrate OT’s value in promoting body positivity through sensory and social emotional learning (SEL) approaches. This capstone experience revealed that school mental health initiatives can recognize how body image can be implemented as tier 1 interventions to promote performance in education, leisure, and social participation with an entire student body.
Analysis of Firefighters’ Psychological Trauma and Interrupted Domains
Alyssa Garcia, Pamela Kasyan-Howe, Kristin Domville, and Kristian Llaca
Firefighters are at a high risk of experiencing posttraumatic stress, anxiety, depression (Teoh et al., 2019), suicidality, substance abuse (Bing-Canar et al., 2019), and burnout (Teoh et al., 2019). Firefighters are regularly exposed to traumatic events on calls which results in their decreased mental health; and associated decreased participation in meaningful occupations, routines, and roles (Edgelow & Cramm, 2020; Edgelow et al., 2021; Wittwer et al., 2021). This project contains both research and a program. The purpose of this research was to understand how firefighter demographics interact with interrupted occupations, routines, and roles and at what frequency when faced with work-related psychological trauma and stress (Edgelow et al., 2021; Gulliver et al., 2021; Pennington et al., 2022). There were relationships between the years of firefighter experience as well as marital status with participation in occupations, routine changes, and role identification. The next step for research is to further study demographic interactions with stress and functional impairment and with more nuance in a qualitative, mixed methods, and longitudinal study. The purpose of this program was to educate firefighters on ways to re-engage in interrupted occupations, routines, and roles to reduce the negative effects of work-related psychological trauma (Edgelow & Cramm, 2020; Torchalla et al., 2019). Participants found the workshop interesting, useful, and informative, especially the mental health statistics for firefighters. Future implications for this program are to implement it at every level of the career, deliver education to loved ones, and advocate to administration, unions, and local council members.
An Online Adapted Yoga Program for Adults with Parkinson's Disease
Abby Hani, Mary Smith, and Christienne Parten
Background: Parkinson’s (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting nearly 10 million people and ~1 million Americans (Parkinson’s Foundation, 2022). PD affects motor and nonmotor functions, increasing disability over time (Dutta, 2020). Research shows that yoga improves motor function, balance, and functional mobility, reduces anxiety and depression, and increases QoL for patients with PD (Ban et al., 2021, Green et al., 2019).
Problem/Purpose: Individuals with PD experience decreased function in many areas of occupational performance and lack access to alternative options for yoga, such as a resource for an online adapted yoga program. The purpose of this project was to develop an online adapted yoga program resource for people with PD and increase accessibility. The project hypothesis was that developing this online resource would assist in incorporating yoga into their daily routine and sustain their practice. In addition, the goal of this project was to promote occupational engagement of those with neuromuscular impairments like PD.
Methods: The project consisted of five phases: the pre-development phase, planning phase, development phase, recording phase, and test/launch phase. Each phase expanded on the previous one or concurrently on each other and served as a guide throughout the creation of the online resource.
Results: An online resource of an adapted yoga program was developed to assist individuals in incorporating yoga into their daily routine and sustain their practice. This online resource was also developed to improve accessibility by allowing individuals to practice yoga from the comfort of their own homes.
Disability Advocacy in Fashion Design
Erin Higinbotham and Susan MacDermott OTD, OTR/L
Originally marketed towards older adults followed by children, adaptive fashion greatly impacts the everyday independence of all disabled people. Utilizing the Person-Environment-Occupation model and understanding the relationship between the disabled community, clothing, and occupational participation and again with the fashion company, the designer, and their fulfillment of a need or gap in accessibility lead to the purpose of this capstone of identifying occupational therapy’s role in designing ready-to-wear adaptive clothing through understanding and bridging the gaps in fashion education for designers. To address this, advocacy in education and educational materials were created to fill this gap and promote accessibility and production of adaptive fashion. Future work is necessary to advocate for adaptive fashion and disability inclusion within the design process. Inclusion and discussions for accessibility are the precursors to action and implementation of change that will increase the quality of life for all.
OT Employment Program Addressing Homelessness for Women Experiencing Homelessness
Amber Hoffman and Susan MacDermott
Women experiencing homelessness face many barriers to employment participation. Occupational therapy (OT) is a well-suited profession to address employment barriers; however, there is a lack of OT programs that address the unique barriers to employment participation for women experiencing homelessness. The purpose of the capstone project was to develop a program focused on employment obtainment and maintenance for women experiencing homelessness. The employment program was developed based upon the findings from an in-depth literature review and needs assessment.
Collaboration between Occupational Therapists and Architects to Incorporate Universal Design to Increase Accessibility
Michelle C. L. Hoff and Susan MacDermott
The design of the built environment plays a key role in occupational participation. When the built environment is poorly designed, it severely limits accessibility for an individual with a disability. In contrast, when the built environment is well designed, it can support the occupational performance of individuals of all ages and abilities. Interprofessional collaboration between occupational therapists and architects can improve environmental barriers to occupational participation within home and community settings. Interprofessional collaboration between occupational therapists and architects has involved direct input through consultations, interprofessional education experiences, and the formation of interprofessional organizations. However, barriers to interprofessional collaboration have included the architect’s preference for autonomy, differences between each profession’s terminology, and lack of understanding of each profession’s skill set and scope of practice. This doctoral capstone project sought to bring awareness to and advocate for the inclusion of occupational therapists on design teams to incorporate universal design in new homes and community buildings to increase accessibility. A variety of learning experiences, such as interactions with professionals in both the home modification and architecture fields, conducting interviews and surveys, and attending in-person and online events, contributed to the development of advocacy skills and an understanding of universal design and the architectural culture.
Employment and Career Planning Opportunities for Young Adults with Disabilities: Advocating for Occupational Therapy
Ashley Jenkins and Keisa Boykin
Problem: There is greater involvement of OT in transition planning services to provide a unique, client-centered perspective to enable greater engagement in meaningful employment opportunities
Purpose: The purpose of this capstone project is to advocate for the role of OT in employment-based training programs for young adults with disabilities following their transition out of high school.
Exploring Relationships and Intimacy with Adults with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (I/DD)
Gabrielle Kennedy, Jazminne Orozco Arteaga, and Thais Petrocelli
This capstone project, Exploring Relationships and Intimacy with Adults with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (I/DD), was completed by a Doctor of Occupational Therapy candidate at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. The purpose of the project is to increase adults with I/DD's access to intimate partner relationships, sexual expression, and occupations related to intimacy by providing adaptive, community-centered, and meaningful resources.
The current occupational deprivation that the population experiences surrounding intimacy, sexual expression, and intimate partner relationships must be addressed to improve the population’s overall quality of life, health, and well-being. This project aims to inspire and empower healthcare providers, day program administrators, support staff members, and caregivers to address the intimacy education and intimate social participation needs for the people they support. With more training in and experiences of intimacy and intimate partner relationships, adults with I/DD will be better equipped to understand and express their sexuality, and advocate for their human rights.
Examining the Utility of the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) vs. Cognitive Mapping and Motivational Interviewing (CM/MI) to Provide Person-Centered Care (PCC) for People with Parkinson’s Disease (PwPD)
Mary Lagasca and Karen Aranha
Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) limits occupational engagement and quality of life. Clinicians need tools to help understand the lived experiences of people with PD to provide more person-centered care (PCC). The Canadian Occupational Performance Model (COPM) is one tool used with this population, but its predetermined categories may be limiting. In contrast, Cognitive Mapping and Motivational Interviewing (CM/MI) is a non-standardized method that may provide more insight. Objective: To identify the benefits of the COPM to CM/MI in delivering more person-centered care (PCC). Methodology: A qualitative phenomenological self-study was used. Data collection compared the assessments and reflected on determining if data led to PCC. The analysis examined the emerging themes. Findings: The benefits of using the COPM to CM/MI to deliver better PCC were identified. Conclusions: Knowledge gained from the study will add to the knowledge of CM/MI and its potential to provide PCC.
Sexual Activity and Intimacy within Occupational Therapy Practice
Anya Levanduski and Susan MacDermott
Sexual activity is often the forgotten ADL, that is underdressed in practice, and not spoken about in academia. This presentation aims to explore the role of occupational therapy addressing sexuality and intimacy following the onset of long term physical or neurological disabilities. This project outlines the role of OT in emerging practice in advocating for the development of a referral pathway specific for sexual activity and intimacy, and OT within an emerging setting.
An Occupational Therapy Guide to Regulation and Resilience in the Classroom
Catherine Newton and Jazminne Orozco-Arteaga
An occupational therapy educational program that focuses on increasing teachers' knowledge surrounding childhood trauma as well as promoting regulation and resilience in the classroom.
Exploring the Occupational Impact of Experiencing an Unexpected Death in Adulthood
Amanda Reann O'Donnell and Susan MacDermott
Experiencing the unexpected death of a close family member or friend may cause occupational disruptions in social participation, work and school performance, home management, and personal care maintenance (Simpson & Elberty, 2018; Forhan, 2010; Hoppes, 2005; Weis et al., 2019). Little research highlights the unique occupational impacts of unexpected loss, distinguished from other types of loss, and from a direct occupational perspective. Therefore little is known about how to provide aid, resources, and programming to this population. The purpose of this research project was to understand how occupations are uniquely impacted by experiencing the unexpected death of a loved one. The quantitative descriptive study used interviews and online questionnaires to explore first-person perspectives on experiencing unexpected loss (n = 33). Four major themes emerged from the data: unexpected death’s unique occupational impacts, grief as a new role, grief language as a tool for breaking or building connections, and occupational resiliency against unexpected grief. Experiencing the unexpected death of a loved one may disrupt processing and mourning timelines, add psychological challenges, create a grieving identity shift, and be greatly impacted by the use of grief language and the grievers’ motivation to perform occupations. Occupational therapists working with unexpected grievers should use a trauma based approach with appropriate grief language and withhold grieving timeline expectations.
Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis [IPA]: Examining the Impact of Sleep Disturbances on Lived Experiences of Persons with Parkinson’s Disease (PwPD)
Adriana Ornelas, Angela Blackwell, and Karen Aranha
Introduction: This investigation aimed to examine the lived experiences of PwPD who suffer from insomnia. Sleep disturbance affects up to 96% of individuals with PD. The non-motor symptom (NMS) significantly reduces HR-QOL, positively correlates with disease severity and duration, and increases the disease burden of care. Due to the nature of the disease, typical sleep hygiene protocols may not be the most effective intervention for this population. Understanding their challenges is vital to developing a sleep hygiene protocol tailored to their needs.
Methodology: A pilot qualitative study using an interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) with PwPD (N=12). The study received IRB approval. The inclusion criteria for the participants include a score of >18 on the MOCA, reporting any of the sleep issues listed on the PDSS, being older than 50, and having transportation to attend the in-person focus group. Data collection consisted of two focus groups (n=6) using a semi-structured format. Data analysis included open coding, memoing, fracturing the data, and examining emerging themes. The IPA methodology allowed the investigator to take a constructivist approach and examine the data generated in the study within the context of the extant literature to understand the unique experiences of PwPD and sleep issues prevalent with PD.
Findings: The superordinate theme that emerged was a “lonely path dealing with sleep issues” or PwPD. The subordinate themes included: “need a crane to lift—to roll over”, “Knobs to tune” (strategist), maintaining the well-being of the household, and dealing with the intersectionality of life,
Conclusion: Saturated and unsaturated superordinate themes generated will be utilized to engage in a larger study to establish sleep hygiene recommendations unique to the PD population. It will also be used to increase awareness of sleep issues to advocate for a healthcare support system that caters specifically to the sleep needs of PwPD.
Cultural Humility When Caring for LGBTQIA+ Older Adults: A Resource Guide for Occupational Therapy Practitioners and Students
Michele Ramos, Deb Meyers, and Mary Ann Smith
The LGBTQIA+ older adult population has unique needs due to their experience as diverse individuals in a cisgender, heteronormative society. Experiences and effects of discrimination need to be considered when providing care. Occupational therapists have a role in addressing disparities of all marginalized groups, including LGBTQIA+ older adults. Practitioners may utilize cultural humility and trauma-informed practices when treating the LGBTQIA+ population. Existing resources to guide culturally humble occupational therapy care for LGBTQIA+ older adults are insufficient. The purpose of this project was to build on existing cultural humble resources and create a website on the focus of occupational therapy cultural humility considering the LGBTQIA+ older adult population. The capstone project, https://ot4lgbtqia.wordpress.com , was created in conjunction with field experience, providing needed insight while examining the older adult population in general as well as the LGBTQIA+ older adult population specifically. After a two-step process, in which observations at field sites prompted a continued literature search, discussion on the following barriers were added to the website content: internalized discrimination, LGBTQIA+ specific housing options, lack of support for caregiver role, intergenerational differences, and coming out late in life. 20 videos and supplemental resources were created to provide the audience an opportunity to increase knowledge and awareness, as well as augment skills, therefore increasing cultural humility toward the LGBTQIA+ older population.
The Participation and Exploration of Play for Children in Foster Care
Isabella J. Relph and Jazminne Orozco Arteaga
This capstone project, The Participation and Exploration of Play for Children in Foster Care, was completed by a Doctor of Occupational Therapy candidate at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. Project objectives develop an understanding of the occupational therapy involvement in foster care and how to improve current advocacy and educational efforts related to play. A literature review of play participation, engagement, and exploration was conducted in conjunction with analysis of environmental barriers, generalized background information on children in foster care, and the role of occupational therapy for children in foster care. Play is essential for the pediatric population, regardless of the barriers presented by environment, trauma, and lack of opportunities that foster care may pose. The occupational therapy advocacy and educational efforts for the foster care population are relatively limited with consideration to play, therefore by identifying areas to improve these efforts internally (within the site) and externally (highlighted with other stakeholders), the opportunity to raise awareness and provide an occupational therapy perspective is enhanced. The analysis from this project provide further implications related to the role of occupational therapy for children in foster care, specifically related to play, and how to utilize advocacy and educational opportunities to enhance play participation and exploration.
Occupational Therapist Perception and Utilization of Occupation-Based Evaluation and Assessment with Children and Youth with ASD.
Zalome Restrepo, Pam Kasyan-Howe, Kristin Domville, and Kristina Hartsook
Children with ASD participate less in ADLs & IADLs than typically developing children(Travers et al.,2022). The problem is a gap between the known occupation-based assessments and utilization of the assessments by occupational therapists treating children and youth with ASD (Manee et al., 2020; Luna, 2019). This gap results in decreased activity participation diversity for the child and decreased ability for the occupational therapists to evidence effectiveness of occupation-based services (Manee et al., 2020; Luna, 2019). The purpose of this quantitative type of capstone project is to analyze occupational therapists who treat children and youth with ASD to determine the utilization frequency of occupation-based assessments in home, school, and community contexts. The findings of this quantitative research study were that there was no relationship between the years of experience and the use of OB Assessment tools or performance skills assessment tools and OTs are experiencing barriers at a high frequency. Findings also include that there is a lack of knowledge and unawareness on OB assessment tools. The future implications are to further understand why the knowledge of occupation-based assessments so limited to occupational therapy practitioners and why aren’t rehab managers and occupational therapy leaders ensuring the availability of a wide range of suitable assessment tools in their settings.
Occupational Therapy's Role in Mealtime Participation in Schools
Jaidee Mae Reyes and Karen Park
A mixed-methods research design was utilized to explore the role of occupational therapy in mealtime participation in school-based settings. Interviews and surveys were completed to understand occupational therapy practicers' perceptions, attitudes, and experiences with providing services related to mealtime. The themes that emerged from the study including (a) occupational therapy practitioners experience inhibiting and supporting contextual factors that affect their involvement in mealtime, (b) admin and occupational therapy culture and the interpretation of educational relevance can differ between each school, and (c) occupational therapy practitioners go through a decision-making process when deciding to address mealtime.
A Mindfulness Intervention for Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Ashley N. Ries; Steven M. Gerardi PhD, OTD, MSS, OTR; and Mary Horne LCSW
Every day, many United States veterans are suffering from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Responses to trauma may vary from person to person; however, a diagnosis of PTSD includes the individual experiencing clinically significant distress in their social and occupational areas of functioning. The impact of PTSD on a veteran’s life could impact their ability to carry out activities of daily living, decrease the amount of social participation they have, and limit their ability to perform instrumental daily activities, such as grocery shopping. Mindfulness is the practice of paying full attention to the present moment, without judgment, and has been utilized for centuries. Occupational therapists are qualified mental health practitioners for treating sequelae of PTSD and for utilizing mindfulness interventions in practice. There is limited literature available that evaluates the effectiveness of mindfulness practices with PTSD in an occupational therapy (OT) setting. Though, the literature calls for the creation of an OT mindfulness module for veterans with PTSD. At present, an OT manualized module has yet to be published within the literature. This capstone project sought to fill the gap in literature and provide a resource to occupational therapists looking to utilize mindfulness interventions for veteran clients with PTSD. An OT mindfulness module for veterans with PTSD is presented in this paper.
Improving Performance and Participation of Elementary School Students through a Coteaching Model
Carson Roberts, Angela Labrie Blackwell, and Anna Fung
This project explored the use of a coteaching program with a general education teacher and OTD student at an elementary school. The poster provides an overview of the methods used, an overview of the coteaching program that was implemented, and the significance and implications of this project. The purpose of this coteaching program was to develop a coteaching program in which occupational therapists and general education teachers work together in classrooms to improve performance and participation of students with and without disabilities.
An Exploration of Intimate Partner Violence in LGBT Relationships
Amaris Sanvictores and Karen Park
Background: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals experience disproportionate rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) compared to their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. Findings report rates of IPV among LGBT individuals ranging from 31.1%-61.1%, which is higher compared to 29%-35% with their cisgender peers. There is limited research regarding the impact of IPV in LGBT relationships through an occupational therapy lens. Purpose: This research project intends to identify occupational limitations by addressing the required needs and resources of individuals from LGBT IPV to improve their quality of life. The research acquired can be used to identify problem areas to provide culturally safe care to an underserved population during a vulnerable period. Research Question: The study hopes to answer the research question: “How does LGBT intimate partner violence impact occupational performance?” and “How does LGBT intimate partner violence impact personal narratives?” Methods: Surveys and voluntary live formal interviews. Results: Qualitative data: Data analysis generated five themes: (a) universal experience, (b) power of connection, (c) blurring of lines, and (d) nuance and complexity. Quantitative data: 75%+ moderate impact on pursuing or engaging in intimate relationships, friends, leisure, and play. 100% of participants did not identify religious participation as a major role in their life; 27-36% of participants identified being a family member, friend, and worker to be the major role in their life. Conclusion: Further research on the difference in needs of LGBTQ+ versus heteronormative IPV; to inform OT practice and advocacy needs. OTs' role in providing culturally relevant care in LGBTQ+ safe spaces (i.e., LGBT centers) and across all healthcare settings.
Mental Health in College Athletes: An OT Perspective
Olivia Sarik, Lakeisa Boykin, and Susan DiDino
Problem: There is often increased stigma surrounding college athletes in the spotlight, thus preventing them from seeking help with their mental health (Kaier et al., 2015). There are currently no known programs that offer resources specifically for college athletes (Sudano & Miles, 2016). It is important for occupational therapists to advocate for mental health resources for student-athletes to create healthy habits and routines within the athletic environment.
Purpose: The purpose of this capstone was to increase awareness of mental health resources that are available to student-athletes and coaching staff at Baldwin Wallace University to improve mental health in athletics and on campus.
Expanding Accessibility for Guests with Autism-Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Who Visit the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Jacksonville, FL
Lauren Schermerhorn and Thais Petrocelli
Problem: Due to public events being commonly characterized by crowded spaces, loud volumes, and unpredictable changes, attractions such as the Jacksonville Zoo can be challenging for those with ASD without proper accommodations (Kimura et al., 2020)
Purpose: The purpose of this capstone project was to advocate for updated evidence-based sensory accommodations at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens for those with an ASD diagnosis with the intention of creating a more inclusive zoo experience.
Occupation-Based Social Skills Training Program with Animal-Assisted Therapy for Individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD)
Jason Sebastian and Karen Park
This presentation describes the development and implementation of an occupation-based social skills training program with Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) for Individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and the implications for occupational therapy after program implementation.
Is College Liberating For All Students? The Impact of Sensory Challenges on Participation of Students on the Autism Spectrum and With Other Neurodivergent Diagnoses
Sophia Starvaggi and Mary Smith OTR/L, PhD
Neurodiversity describes unique ways in which an individual's brain works, impacting skills such as executive function, social interaction, communication, and sensory processing. Sensory processing describes the system which receives, processes, organizes, and responds to sensory information received in several environments throughout the day. Sensory sensitivity involves both over- and under-responsiveness to sensory information received, both causing an impact on one’s participation. An occupational area that seems to lack support for sensory challenges is that of postsecondary, or college, settings.
Several policies exist to protect the right to equal education for students with disabilities, however, these protections only last until students have graduated high school or turned 21 years old. For those neurodivergent students planning to go on to college, there is a great lack of support for the unique sensory challenges they prepare to face.
Sensory challenges interfere with the participation and performance of neurodivergent college students, not only in their academic efforts, but in other areas of occupation such as social interaction, sports, and leisure activity. It is currently unknown how to support the sensory challenges of neurodivergent college students.
Guidebook for Occupational Therapy for End-of-Life Care
Shannon Sudrla, Mary Smith, Alexandria Cannata, and Anna Norene Carlson
Patients at the end-of-life (EoL) experience functional decline in response to terminal illness and the active dying process, inhibiting participation and engagement in meaningful daily activities. Occupational therapy practitioners (OTP) are equipped to address patients’ occupational needs and desires despite their declining capacities; however, the absence of occupational therapy (OT) services in EoL care leaves patients’ occupational needs unmet, directly affecting their quality of life. The literature demonstrates the need for enhanced education and training among occupational therapy students (OTS) and practitioners to better prepare them to work with terminally ill patients who face progressive functional decline and imminent death. To address this problem, a Guidebook for Occupational Therapy in End-of-Life Care was developed to educate OTS and OTP on the EoL care setting, the need for OT services within this setting, and the role, scope, and delivery of OT services for this population. The purpose of this guidebook is to promote the presence of OTP and enhance the utilization of OT services in EoL care to facilitate occupational participation and engagement, and therefore promote quality of life preceding death. A capstone document consisting of five chapters provides foundational information on OT in EoL care and the methodology for guidebook creation. The development of this capstone and project will expand OT practice and broaden the scope of EoL care to comprehensively meet the needs of terminally ill patients and their families.
Past, Present, and Projected Occupational Impacts of Adults who Experienced Parentification in Childhood
Olivia Vanni and Jazminne Orozco-Arteaga
Background: Parentification is a functional and/or emotional role reversal where the child sacrifices their own needs for attention, comfort, and guidance in order to accommodate and care for the needs of a parent and/or sibling. OTs need an understanding of how to recognize and support the impact of parentification during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
Methods: Mixed methods were used to explore the experience of adults (18-65) that served as caregivers for their sibling(s), and/or their parent(s) during their childhood/adolescence. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through questionnaires (N=20) and interviews (n=6), allowing for a deeper understanding of the pattern of occurrence of instrumental/ emotional caregiving and a person-centered body of knowledge on the lasting impacts of this role into adulthood and projected occupational engagement.
Results: Incidences of instrumental and emotional parentification increased from childhood to adolescence. Qualitative themes that emerged were the emotional toll of emotional caregiving, the need for control, delayed self-prioritization, and contributions to identity.
Conclusion: The findings highlight the continual impact of parentification from childhood into adulthood. Further research is needed to understand the potential for OT involvement in the treatment of children and adults who experienced parentification.
Occupation Based Program Enhancement: Promoting Social and Leisure Participation Post-Stroke
Emma Welch and Amy Lyons-Brown
This presentation describes the importance of social and leisure participation for individuals who have had a stroke and explores the role of occupational therapy in promoting this area of occupation for the population.
Functional Literacy in Early Education
Katelyn Welch, Lakeisa Boykin, and Thais Petrcelli
The significance of this project is to promote, adapt, and incorporate occupational functional literacy components in the current reading program in second grade. By educating professionals inside the school system to establish a mindset that literacy is not just reading books it will also develop skills to improve functional activities and instrumental activities of daily living in the classroom with second-grade students.
This collection of SOAR@USA includes the poster presentations from the Spring 2023 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, April 4 and 12, 2023. The posters present the work done by graduating students in their OTD capstone project.
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