Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


The number of individuals enrolling in postsecondary education with a diagnosed disability is rising. However, the literature reflects a gap between mandated institutional policies and the extent of accommodation use and success. This study examines the use, type, and prevalence of accommodations used by students with disabilities completing occupational therapy fieldwork rotations, as well as the common barriers to accommodation access. Snowball sampling methodology was utilized to send out a 26-item questionnaire to occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants. Two hundred and ninety-two occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants answered the questionnaire to identify disability type, disclosure of disabilities, and types of accommodations used during fieldwork. Results indicated that 47 respondents (16.91%) reported having either a visible and/or invisible disability but of those respondents, only 25 (55.56%) disclosed their disability during postsecondary education. Of the respondents who identified having a disability during fieldwork, 22 (51.16%) perceived that their disability presented challenges, while only 17 (38.64%) requested accommodations. As more than half of respondents felt their disability presented challenges during their fieldwork, strategies are suggested to encourage students to feel more comfortable disclosing their disability. Through creating a culture of openness to disabilities and understanding individual student needs, there is a potential to help increase the rate of disclosure of disability and potentially decrease some of the challenges experienced by students with disabilities on fieldwork. Further research is needed to develop guidelines and programming for fieldwork educators on how to best incorporate accommodations into their programs.


Rebecca Ozelie, DHS, OTR/L, is an Associate Professor and the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at Rush University in Chicago, IL. Dr. Ozelie is actively involved in research and teaching with a focus on physical disabilities, fieldwork outcomes and use of simulation in clinical education.

Megan Delehoy, Sierra Jones, Erin Sykstus and Victoria Weil were Doctorate Students at Rush University in Chicago, IL at the time of the study.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.