Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2021

Academic Department

Occupational Therapy

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Diane Martin


During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of telehealth has increased significantly, including for occupational therapy (OT) services provided in the early intervention (EI) setting. While preliminary research evaluates the effectiveness and benefits of telehealth services in early intervention occupational therapy (EI OT), few studies compare telehealth to traditional in-person services. The purpose of this research study is to understand experiences with telehealth for EI OT services during COVID-19 as compared to experiences with previous in-person services from the perspective of OTs and parents. Using a qualitative case study design, interviews were conducted with one EI OT practitioner and two of their patient families. Major results identified using thematic content analysis include positive aspects of telehealth, such as increased access to the service provider, flexibility, and limited exposure to illness in general, as well as challenges to the use of telehealth, including significant safety concerns and problems associated with the lack of physical interaction and in-person services, resulting in perceived ineffectiveness of telehealth for specific EI OT services, dependent on the type of service. These findings add to existing research by identifying aspects of telehealth services that need to be considered by EI OTs when evaluating whether telehealth is an appropriate form of service delivery, as well as identifying aspects that may need to be adapted in order to increase feasibility and safety of telehealth services.


Honors Senior Thesis; Honors in the Discipline; OT 492 Undergraduate Scholarship Practicum I; OT 494 Undergraduate Scholarship Practicum II; Scholarship and Creative Arts Day (SCAD)