Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dana M. Howell

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy


The purpose of this narrative case study was to understand how a young man with pediatric-onset tetraplegia described his life experiences during his upper teen and young adult years. Data was obtained through two individual semi-structured interviews and observations. Interviews were conducted, recorded and transcribed by the primary investigator at the home of the participant. The participant provided information about his life including his experiences with family, friends, and healthcare providers. Six themes that emerged from the data included I always have someone with me, I'm not easily broken, I'm stubborn, I've made it the best I can make it, I'm just like everybody else, and Right now it's about me doing what I want to do. Results showed that the participant and his family viewed his experiences as typical, but they were actually rather unique. This included never being able to spend time alone, having to use adaptive equipment or transportation, and having a positive attitude about most situations including his ability to find ways to make things work.