Occupational Therapy’s Role in Addressing Sensory Deficits in Children with Behavioral Health Challenges Through Teacher Training
Devon A. Ayres, Becki Cohill, Susan MacDermott, and Mark Wilson
Sensory processing difficulties have been well-documented in children who have behavioral health challenges. Addressing a child’s sensory processing needs may decrease behaviors that disrupt occupational participation and thus leading to improved learning and better information retention. A review of current literature revealed that teachers who work with children with behavioral health challenges are not required to receive education in addressing sensory deficits in the classroom. This capstone project performed a needs assessment, exploring current teacher understanding of sensory processing and what role occupational therapy could play in providing training for teachers. The project also generated pertinent online teacher training modules so that teachers may be supported despite the current Covid-19 pandemic in the United States.
Occupational Therapy’s Role in Assisting with Community Reintegration for Survivors of Human Trafficking
Jane Huynh, Becki Cohill, and Susan MacDermott
Victims of human trafficking were exposed to traumatic experiences that affected their physical, psychological, cognitive, and social health. As the survivors entered the healing stage and progressed in their journey to community reintegration, the complex traumatic experiences may affect their independence with occupational tasks. This capstone explored the areas where occupational therapy can assist with community reintegration for survivors of human trafficking. Interviews were conducted through casual conversation using the modified-COPM as guidance, and the QOL was used to gather baseline data. Survivors identified priorities of their everyday living and the barriers to them achieving their goals: education, vocation, transportation, health, leisure, and healthy relationships. The essential staff working with clients identified the same concerns as clients and concerns for the staff’s emotional and cognitive health due to emotional exposure to client trauma. A program was developed to guide survivors in vocation, education, physical health, and emotional health to promote independence and autonomy. A separate program was developed to guide staff into emotionally supportive conversations and encourage reflective program meetings to reduce the risk of compassion fatigue.
Understanding the Impact of Social Distancing on Older Adults and Senior Organizations to Better Adapt Towards a New Normal
Salina Jivan, Christine Mary Childers, Susan MacDermott, and Becki Cohill
COVID-19 brought about social distancing mandates that posed as a new barrier to meaningful social participation in the community. The purpose of this project was to understand the impact of social distancing on older adults and senior organizations to better inform the role of OT in helping seniors adapt to towards a new normal within the community. A qualitative study and needs assessment were performed through phone interviews with seniors and organizations that support them from around the United States. Themes highlighted seniors desire for social contact and cautious return to the community once mandates are lifted. Both seniors and organizations were accepting towards a new normal.
David M. Lewis, Susan MacDermott, and Becki Cohill
Opportunities for positive youth development (PYD) are promoted through both outdoor and camp experiences. The experiences provided by the outdoors and camps are ideal for developing physically, cognitively, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. These areas of PYD are further generalizable to several aspects of occupational performance and participation, while continuing to have benefits throughout the lifespan. While the outdoors and camps provide these valuable opportunities for development, the environments and contexts of these opportunities are often limiting factors for individuals with disabilities.
Utilizing an occupational therapy approach allows for further understanding of how to promote inclusion and accessibility practices in these settings and further support occupational performance and participation for individuals of all abilities. The application of an occupational therapy perspective combined with research, review, and collaboration within these communities determined appropriate project objectives to address these areas of need. Further development based on project objectives led to the creation of Access Outdoors Occupational Therapy and the associated website www.accessoutdoorsot.com. Access Outdoors Occupational Therapy is a cumulative result of fulfilling project objectives and aims to promote and advocate for inclusion and accessibility in the outdoors and camp programs while also expanding available knowledge. Areas of growth for Access Outdoors Occupational Therapy include expanding occupational therapy roles, community partnerships, on the ground advocacy and outreach, and individualized consulting for outdoors and camp programs.
Assessing the Impact of Online Occupational Therapy Content on Professional Development for Occupational Therapists
Lisa Nguyen, Susan MacDermott, and Becki Cohill
Social media has provided a virtual space for occupational therapists around the world to connect and to share practical information and this type of media has great potential as a source of social support and mentorship. This project’s purpose is to assess the qualitative impact of online occupational therapy-based content among occupational therapists. Data was collected and compiled from the currently available blogs and podcasts with OT-based content. Surveys were conducted among 40 occupational therapy students and occupational therapy practitioners and five occupational therapy content creators were interviewed on their experiences producing OT-based content online. The themes that resulted from the survey showed that occupational therapists valued content popularity, evidence-based content, clinical expertise, and the overall sense of community.
Rupa Parikh, Becki Cohill, and Susan MacDermott
The transition period from high school to postsecondary education has been shown to be a difficult time for youth, especially those with disabilities. The use of occupational therapists in transition services can positively affect a student's ability to attend postsecondary education. Guidance and support are necessary to teach these individuals life skills needed for future success in the transition to postsecondary education. This capstone project aims to assess the needs of students at the Winston school to identify occupational limitations in the area of life skills. Through identification of problem areas, a detailed program was created and implemented to meet the needs of this population during this difficult transition.
Breann H. Paul, Becki Cohill, and Susan MacDermott
Occupational therapists have an essential role in overcoming the gaps in maternal health care by providing the necessary support to both mothers and children. There is currently limited research on the unique needs of survivors of human trafficking who are mothers, especially their psychosocial needs. Survivors of human trafficking may experience severe trauma, physical violence, long-term emotional distress, and health problems. Therefore, it is essential that survivors of human trafficking are provided the appropriate resources, education, support, and guidance throughout the transition to motherhood and this life changing role. The program created for this population focuses on the occupational needs of survivors of human trafficking and the transition to motherhood and includes education/resources on topics such as maternal mental health, physical self-care, parenting skills, and healthy coping strategies. The purpose of this program is to ease early motherhood demands for survivors of human trafficking by providing trauma-informed care to support women’s overall health and well-being to ensure healthy child development.
Occupational Therapy's Role in Addressing Sex and Intimacy for individuals with Progressive Neuromuscular Disorders
Lindsay N. Richards, Becki Cohill, Kathryn Ellis, and Susan MacDermott
Individuals with progressive neuromuscular disorders (PND); specifically, Parkinson’s disease (PD), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Huntington’s Disease (HD), and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) often face physical, psychological, and social challenges related to sex and intimacy. Occupational therapy (OT) practitioners are experts in activity analysis and are equipped with unique knowledge of performance skills and client factors to address deficits in occupational performance. Though there is literature presenting the effects of PND on sexual occupations, a gap exists as it relates to qualitative data from the perspective of the individual and their partners.
A mixed-methods survey was conducted examining the lived experience of adults with progressive neuromuscular disorders to inform programming addressing intimate and sexual needs. Themes were identified from study results in order to inform an evidence-based program addressing sexual and intimate participation and enhance relationships.
This research reaffirmed that sexual occupations should not go unaddressed as these can be beneficial not only to the individual patient's well-being, but their partnership and social domains as well. Occupational therapists can facilitate meaningful participation in sexual occupations for these individuals by addressing: their unique physical barriers through positioning and adaptations, providing stress management strategies for both internal and external stressors, and facilitating positive communication between individuals with PND and their partners. The findings from this study support an increased role for OT practitioners in the domain of sexuality.
Turning Everyday Activities into Play: Building Relationships and Fostering Connections for Adopted and Foster Children
Marissa E. Siu, Becki Cohill, and Susan MacDermott
Turning Everyday Activities into Play is a program that was created for foster children, adopted children, and individuals who work with this population in the community. This program uses everyday activities to foster the connection between children and adults. The goal of this program is to use the power of play to support regulation and build stronger bonds and relationships by turning everyday activities into play.
Kelcey Storkersen, Susan MacDermott, and Becki Cohill
This capstone project is focused on assessing the occupational needs and barriers of women at-risk of homelessness at a resource center. A needs assessment, facility observations, and research study were conducted to identify population needs and create a client-centered program for offering occupational enrichment to these women at CMOH.
The Effect of a Parental Diagnosis of Cancer on the Occupational Performance of Adolescent and Young Adult Offspring
Brianna Wong, Susan MacDermott, Becki Cohill, and Pandora Patterson
Objective: To gain an understanding on the current knowledge and practice of OTs relating to the occupational impact that a parental diagnosis of cancer can have on AYA offspring. In addition, to determine if there is occupational disruption or imbalance impacting AYAs whose parents have cancer and if OT is a good fit to treat this population.
Methods: A scoping literature review was conducted gathering relevant peer-reviewed articles, analyzing and creating themes with the current literature. In tandem with the scoping review, a qualitative study was conducted. Eight occupational therapists working in either an oncology care setting or pediatric setting were interviewed. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using thematic analysis.
Results: The scoping review yielded 28 articles that met the inclusion criteria of this study. The articles were then organized in a table based on terms related to the OTPF- ADLs, IADLs, education, work, play/leisure, social participation, roles, routines, and rituals. Six dominant themes emerged from occupational therapists’ responses to questions about their knowledge and experiences with adolescent and young adult offspring with a parent diagnosed with cancer: occupational performance, roles/rituals/routines, scope of practice, assessments and treatment, barriers, and support systems. Participants believed that performance in all occupations including ADLs, IADLs, education, work, play/leisure, and social participation could potentially be impacted due to a parental diagnosis of cancer.
Conclusions: Throughout the scoping review and interview process, many themes were found relating a parental diagnosis of cancer to changes in the occupations and performance patterns of AYA offspring. There is evidence that shows that occupations such as IADLs, education, play and leisure and social participation become imbalanced after a parental diagnosis of cancer. Performance patterns such as roles and routines are also heavily disrupted with AYA offspring taking on a caregiver or parental role in their families. Current occupational therapists see the significance of treating this population. With continued research into this impact, we can make a case for occupational therapists to continue to expand into the emerging practice of oncology.
This collection gathers research posters presented at the Summer 2020 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, an online mini-conference held at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences on August 13, 2020, where doctoral students in occupational therapy presented their capstone projects via online poster presentations.
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