Graduation Year


Document Type


Degree Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy


Acting Creates Therapeutic Success (ACTS Jr.) is a program that uses theater and drama activities to address a variety of skills. Theater advantageously offers a variety of activities that suit the individual (costume and prop making, set design, screenplay writing, etc.), many that fall under the scope of occupational therapy, and is executed well as a form of group therapy given its innate camaraderie of actors and production members working together to form a final cohesive product (Phillips, 1996). The purpose of this study was to demonstrate how theater can be used as a meaningful activity for students with disabilities to develop skills by: exploring the perceptions of students who participate in the ACTS Jr. program and exploring their caregivers’ perspectives of the influence the program on their lives. Occupational Adaptation (OA) (Schultz, & Schkade, 1992) was used as the theoretical underpinnings. Participants of the ACTS Jr. program were their own agents of change and learned to adapt to their environment while the program director and volunteers acted as facilitators to the process. Elements of OA were incorporated such as therapeutic-use-of-self, focus placed on progress throughout the program, and adapting to a changing environment consisting of activities that promote mental flexibility. Collages created by students were administered and analyzed at the beginning and end of the eight-week program along with parent interviews to explore value perceptions from participation. The results of the students and caregivers’ shared experience of the program demonstrated a positive influence of the program in their lives. Four themes were constructed, based upon coding and categorization of data. The themes from the data were: the joy of theater, a positive environment, building confidence and ability, and flexibility and the future. Implications for OT practice are suggested for implementation in a variety of settings, based upon the OTPF-4 (American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 2020)

Faculty Mentor

Camille Skubik-Peplaski PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Department Affiliation

Occupational Therapy

Committee Member

Shirley O’Brien, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Department Affiliation

Occupational Therapy


Thank you, EKU, and the OTD program administration for helping me achieve my goals and gain more knowledge in occupation-based practice.

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)