OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY SUPPORT IN THE KINDERGARTEN CLASSROOM THROUGH RTI TIER I INTERVENTIONS: KINDERGARTEN TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF NEED
Open Access Capstone
Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
Known for the protection it affords children with disabilities, the federal statute, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 2004, also provides Local Education Agencies (LEA) funding to support general education students that may be at risk of or are demonstrating difficulty within their educational programming. Response to Intervention (RtI) is one such framework commonly used in school districts around the country to provide multi-tiered support to at-need general education students to facilitate their successful participation in their academic programming. The purpose of this study was to learn what occupational-therapy performance skills kindergarten teachers saw as areas of concern in children entering the educational setting and what types of support from occupational therapists kindergarten teachers would prefer were occupational therapy (OT) services available as a RtI Tier I intervention in the study’s school system. The Occupational Therapy Performance and Framework: Domain and Process 4th edition (OTPF-4) (American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA], 2020) and the Person-Environment-Occupation-Performance model by Bass et al. (2017) are the theoretical frameworks that guided this study. Semi-structured interviews were completed for this qualitative, phenomenological study with participants from a convenience sample. A list of performance skills (i.e. cognitive, fine motor, gross motor, sensory, and visual perception) was provided to participants for use during the interview to facilitate consistent wording used among participants. Interviews were audio-visually recorded, transcribed, and coded for categories and themes. Although the general education kindergarten teachers in this study reported limited knowledge of and limited exposure to occupational therapy services, they discussed that OT-related performance skills were areas of concern for incoming kindergarten students, with cognition and fine motor being the two greatest areas. Following directions and listening/attending, as well as using scissors and developing pencil grasps were the skills most frequently discussed. If made available in the school district, kindergarten teachers reported they would be receptive to OT support in their classrooms for student-specific input, modeling, and feedback, learning opportunities during or after the school day, and provision of resources and materials. Existing literature provides efficacy of OT services as a RtI intervention provider. This study provides evidence that kindergarten teachers see OT-related performance areas as important skills for kindergarten students’ successful participation in their academic programming, supports the premise that occupational therapy can play an important role in general education kindergarten students’ academic success through RtI services, and indicates the need for increasing understanding of occupational therapy’s role in the school-based setting among general education educators.
Leslie J. Hardman, OTD, OTR/L
Jennifer Hight, OTD, OTR/L
2020 Robyn R. Scarlett
Scarlett, Robyn R., "OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY SUPPORT IN THE KINDERGARTEN CLASSROOM THROUGH RTI TIER I INTERVENTIONS: KINDERGARTEN TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF NEED" (2020). Occupational Therapy Doctorate Capstone Projects. 61.
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