Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2019

Academic Department

Occupational Therapy

Faculty Advisor(s)

Nancy Steadman


Occupational therapy practitioners working in the school setting play a role in contributing to student’s lives. Through many interventions, these practitioners contribute to promoting student performance within the academic setting. Yet, there is more research to be done related to the overall impact school-based interventions have on performance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between role perceptions of school-based occupational therapy, interventions implemented, and the impact on student performance. A qualitative approach guided this study. Participants currently employed through a local, rural school district participated in this research by completing an online survey. A total of five occupational therapy practitioners provided informative data used for analysis. Four were Registered Occupational Therapists (OTR) and one was a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). The survey responses were analyzed for common themes that existed among the questions and throughout the data. Four themes emerged from the data. First, the role of the student in the academic setting is to learn. Second, the role of the occupational therapy practitioner in school-based practice is to help, assist, and provide support for students to achieve maximum ability and independence about their school learning. Third, intervention activities should address underlying deficits that compromise handwriting and other fine motor tasks. Fourth, focusing on underlying deficit skills improves student academic participation. These findings have implications for current occupational therapy practice, as well as future research.


OT 494 Undergraduate Scholarship Practicum; Senior Occupational Therapy Honors in the Discipline Project