Welcome to the 18th annual Occupational Therapy Graduate Student Research Conference! This year, with the help of the Salem State University Library and Digital Commons, we have reimagined how we connect our innovative student research projects with our wider Salem State and Occupational Therapy communities. While 2020 brought about an unprecedented year, 2021 finds our students looking forward to a bright future shaped by their resilience and passion for all things Occupational Therapy.

We welcome Virginia Spielmann, ABD, MSOT, Executive Director of the STAR Institute for Sensory Health & Wellness, as our keynote speaker. Ms. Spielmann shares her insights and experiences with Reflective Practice. After viewing the keynote address, please explore the student research projects and engage with the student presenters by leaving comments between April 17th and April 24th. Presentations can be accessed asynchronously, giving you time and flexibility to view all content on your own schedule.

To receive contact hours, please complete the registration form and conference survey.

In lieu of a registration fee, the graduating class of 2021 has selected a number of community organizations that have played a meaningful role in their growth as future OT practitioners. Please consider donating to one or more of these valuable community partners!

Thank you for joining us in celebrating the hard work and achievements of the Occupational Therapy Graduate class of 2021!

Collections in this community

Recent Submissions

  • Parental Perception of Risks and Benefits of Adolescents' Internet and Social Media Use

    Sutton, Sarah; Lauria, Emily; MacLachlan, Jean; Fink, Twyla (2021-04-17)
    Adolescents with and without cognitive impairments utilize the internet and social media as a means of entertainment, communication, and engagement. Due to the increased engagement of adolescents on the internet and social media, parents have expressed a variety of concerns, as well as benefits related to their adolescent’s participation. The purpose of this study is to determine parent’s perception of the risks and benefits of internet and social media use and determine if there is a difference in parent perception based on the adolescent’s cognitive function.
  • Effect of Adaptive Sports on Leisure & Social Participation Satisfaction of Adolescents with Cerebral Palsy

    Ring, Melissa; Schlenz, Kathleen (2021-04-10)
    This presentation describes an exploratory research study to examine the effects of participation in adaptive sports on the social & leisure participation satisfaction of adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP). CP is the most common childhood motor limitation (CDC ADDM, 2008) and young people with CP experience a decline in participation in recreational activities in the transition to adolescence (Majnemer et al., 2015). COVID-19 impacted recruitment of participants for the proposed study, but also provided the opportunity to examine the development of a virtual adaptive sports program and one young man's experience with it. The presentation explores the impact of both traditional & virtual adaptive sports on the lives of individuals with physical disabilities, such as adolescents with cerebral palsy (Blauwet et al., 2020). At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to: • Understand cerebral palsy (CP) and its impact on an individual’s function • Describe the social & leisure participation needs of adolescents of CP • Recognize the benefits of traditional & virtual adaptive sports for individuals with disabilities, such as CP References Blauwet, C. A., Robinson, D., Riley, A., MacEwan, K., Patstone, M., & Dubon, M. E. (2020). Developing a virtual adaptive sports program in response to the covid ‐19 pandemic. PM&R, 13(2), 211-216. doi:10.1002/pmrj.12481 Center for Disease Control Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (CDC ADDM). (2008). Data & Statistics for Cerebral Palsy. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/data.html Majnemer, A., Shihako-Thomas, K., Schmitz, N., Shevell, M., & Lach, L. (2015). Stability of leisure participation from school-age to adolescence in individuals with cerebral palsy. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 47, 73-79
  • Parent’s Perception of Occupational Therapy’s Role in Postsecondary Transition Planning

    McCormack, Marissa; Nihan, Amanda; Schlenz, Kathleen (2021-04-10)
    Transition planning and services for students with disabilities works to prepare students for adulthood through services provided through their Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Occupational therapy practitioners working on a transition team have a profound role in using their expertise and clinical knowledge to provide students with the skills and tools necessary to achieve maximum independence in adulthood. Because parent and caregiver input in their child’s IEP is critical, it is important that their perspective be considered. The goal of this research is to investigate how parents and caregivers perceive the role of occupational therapy (OT) in preparing students for the transition from school-based services to adult life. Parents and caregivers in Massachusetts (MA) completed an online survey to identify how they believe OT is involved in transition planning. Participants were recruited using informative online flyers, posting in online Facebook groups, and emails sent out to local schools. Results will be used to better define the role of occupational therapy practitioners working on transition planning teams.
  • The Role of The Occupational Therapy Practitioner in the Post-Secondary Transition Process​

    Gonzalez, Jenny; Libby, Sarah; Turcotte, Jill (2021-04-10)
    This research study aimed to investigate the role of the occupational therapy practitioner (OTP) within the post-secondary transition process for students with disabilities. This study was intended to use a 1- hour in-service presentation as a type of intervention to determine if practitioners increased their knowledge and levels of advocacy of their role during the transition planning process. Data was meant to be collected with the use of pre-post-posttest questionnaires as outcome measures.
  • A Self-Selected Musical Track to Increase Occupational Performance in Educational Settings for Adolescents with an Intellectual Disability and Visual Impairment

    Craven, Tom; Turcotte, Jill (2021-04-10)
    Studies have indicated that students with intellectual disabilities do not engage in full participation of school activities and are significantly dependent on others to maximize their participation level in educational settings (Selanikyo et al., 2017). A person with an intellectual disability and visual impairment has an increased risk of persistent problems behaviors (Lang & Sarimski, 2018). Music can help contribute to the learning experience for students with an intellectual disability by encouraging participation in educational settings (Kalgotra & Singh Warwal, 2017). Students with an intellectual disability benefit from self-determination skills such as choice- making being integrated at school (Burke et al., 2020). The purpose of this proposed study is to determine if the implementation of a self-selected musical track prior to classroom activities can increase classroom participation for students with an intellectual disability and visual impairment. Results can help to determine the effectiveness of the intervention with this population and provide further literature on interventions to help improve participation in formal education for adolescents with an intellectual disability and visual impairment.
  • Exploration of How Parents Perceive their Role Participation is Impacted by Parenting a Child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

    McKenna, Nicole; Silveira, Jeramie (2021-04-10)
    Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopmental disorder, impacts one’s ability to pay attention, control impulsive behaviors, and regulate activity (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019). The purpose of the study was to explore how parents of children with ADHD believe their role participation and engagement has been impacted by the diagnosis. Objectives:1. State one reason why it is important for occupational therapy professionals to explore how a child's ADHD diagnosis impacts the parent's role engagement. 2. Explain how role loss impacts an individual. 3. Discuss the relationship between role satisfaction and quality of life.
  • Identifying and Implementing Strategies Related to Occupational Injustices Impacting Child Rearing in Low-Income Families

    Gomes, Keiani; MacLachlan, Jean (2021-04-10)
    Parents living in poverty face chronic stress, which leads to higher levels of encountered barriers related to child rearing in comparison to those with a higher socioeconomic status. Previous research has revealed that parents living in poverty experience occupational injustices related to time, cost, and safety. The purpose of the proposed study is to investigate whether a 10-week, activity-based support group with a parent co-leader will assist parents living in poverty to identify and implement strategies to overcome injustices related to child rearing. Research in the field of occupational injustices related to parents in poverty is presently emerging and supports the need for further research in this area.
  • Parents of Preterm Infants and Coping Strategies Post Discharge

    Estrada, Adriana; Imposimato, Julia; Schlenz, Kathleen (2021-04-10)
    Research has shown that parents of preterm infants demonstrate increased rates of parental stress in the NICU, continuing into the home environment (Roque et al., 2017; Lakshmanan et al., 2017). Occupational therapy interventions provided to parents in the NICU have been researched and found to decrease parental stress (John et al., 2018). There is a gap in the literature regarding interventions that aim to decrease parental stress and support role competence, in the home. The purpose of this study is to explore the strategies that parents of preterm infants utilize to cope with parental stress in the home. This study will be conducted using a quantitative descriptive survey design, with qualitative data to support the quantitative results. Identifying coping strategies utilized by parents of preterm infants will help OT practitioners better understand these parents' needs in the home environment; and in addition, will help to support the development of effective strategies/interventions, to decrease parental stress post discharge from the NICU.
  • Neurobiological Patient Education: Effects on the Self-perception of Children with ADHD Aged 8-11

    Allen, Katie; Turcotte, Jill (2021-04-10)
    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects those diagnosed to varying degrees. Experiences of failure and a lack of knowledge about one’s diagnosis has the ability to negatively affect self-perception (i.e. self-esteem, self-worth, self-identity, and a sense of competency) (Jones & Hesse, 2018; Levanon-Erez et al., 2017). In a study by Jones and Hesse (2018), adolescents (aged 15-21) expressed a sense of relief when diagnosed and gained a better sense of self-worth and self-identity. Client education for children with chronic illness has the ability to lessen symptoms of distress and improve knowledge of the diagnosis (Stenberg, et al., 2019). This research study was to examine the effect of client education using Brain Talk Therapy (Bogen & Lindemuth, 2015) on the self-perception of a child with ADHD, specifically aged 8-11 and was to incorporate aspects of mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy strategies. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and health safety concerns the research study was not implemented. The following Power Point outlines the literature review, and details Brain Talk Therapy (Bogen & Lindemuth, 2015) more in depth. Learning Objectives After review of this presentation, participants will be able to describe the: 1. Importance of client education for those with chronic illness 2. Components of Brain Talk Therapy Curriculum (Bogen & Lindemuth, 2017)
  • Hoarding Disorder Education in Occupational Therapy Curriculums

    Evans, Kimberly; Silveira, Jeramie (2021-04-10)
    The purpose of this poster is to is to inform people if and how hoarding disorder (HD) is taught in occupational therapy practitioner (OTP) programs. The treatment of hoarding disorder is an emerging practice in the occupational therapy (OT) field (Clarke, 2019). However, over 75% percent of OTPs have encountered clients with hoarding behaviors and have identified that more training and education is needed to support treatment of this disorder (Dissanayake, Barnard, & Willis, 2017). This research study was conducted by asking professors and chairpersons of OT practitioner programs to complete an online survey regarding how HD is taught in their curriculum. An understanding of the education provided to students regarding the disorder can identify the knowledge base they have entering the field and identify any areas for improvement. References Clarke, C. (2019). Can occupational therapy address the occupational implications of hoarding? Occupational Therapy International, 2019, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/5347403. Dissanayake, S., Barnard, E., & Willis, S. (2017). The emerging role of occupational therapists in the assessment and treatment of compulsive hoarding: An exploratory study. New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64(2), 22-30.
  • The Effects of Interprofessional Education on Interdisciplinary Collaboration

    Becque, Jessica; Turcotte, Jill (2021-04-10)
    The American Occupational Therapy Association (2020) identifies interprofessional collaboration as best practice, yet research suggests occupational therapy practitioners are confronted with barriers impacting professional collaboration (Delahunt et al., 2018; Orentlicher et al., 2019). Interprofessional Education is a dynamic group process enabling interprofessional collaboration by outlining strategies to support collaboration in practice with the goal of improving client outcomes (World Health Organization, 2010, p. 7). Interprofessional education may be a platform to engage professionals from other disciplines and facilitate interprofessional collaboration to improve student outcomes (Orentlicher et al., 2019; van Dongen et al., 2016).
  • Nature-based Interventions in Occupational Therapy

    Parseghian, Jackie; Schlenz, Kathleen (2021-04-10)
    Nature-based activities have been shown to improve physical health, psychological wellbeing, and functional performance. Yet despite evidence on the psychophysiological benefits of these activities, few studies have been done on their use within occupational therapy practice. This presenter shares current literature on nature-based interventions, as well as resources for implementing nature-based interventions in practice. Learning Objectives At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to: • Recognize the broad scope of activities that classify as nature-based • Identify three benefits of nature-based activities • Describe the relevance of nature-based interventions to the OT profession
  • The Current Use of Animal-Assisted Therapy by Occupational Therapy Practitioners

    Neubert, Kimberly; Silveira, Jeramie (2021-04-10)
    This study collected data on the following question: How is animal-assisted therapy (AAT) currently being used amongst occupational therapy practitioners (OTP) in New England? While research demonstrates the efficacy of AAT within occupational therapy, little demonstrates how it is being used within the field currently. Data was collected on how AAT is being used amongst OTPs, under what circumstances, and what barriers may exist to its utilization.
  • Occupational Therapy and Chronic Pelvic Pain

    Naze, Kathleen Arregoces; MacLachlan, Jean (2021-04-10)
    This presentation will explore how occupational therapy practitioners are addressing the needs of those with chronic pelvic pain. The International Pelvic Pain Society (2019) estimates 25 million women (individuals with female organs) worldwide experience chronic pelvic pain (CPP) and individuals with CPP are more likely to present with functional impairment in household tasks, sleep, and work due to psychosocial barriers and pain (Miller-Matero et al., 2016; Facchin et al., 2015). A qualitative survey consisting of topics related to education, intervention, and population served was electronically distributed to occupational therapy practitioners across the United States. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Implications for this study include increasing awareness and evidence supporting occupational therapy’s role in gender specific health, the need for advocacy within and outside the field of occupational therapy, and increasing continuing education opportunities for addressing pelvic pain. A recent initiative by AOTA Community of Practice for Women’s Health is gathering resources linking occupational therapy and women’s health (Podvey & Lenington, 2019). Results from this study will contribute to the foundation of literature necessary for the emerging practice of women’s/gender specific health to create a relationship between occupational therapy and clients experiencing CPP. Objectives:• Participants will describe chronic pelvic pain • Participants will describe how chronic pelvic pain may impact occupational performance • Participants will identify the need for occupational therapy practitioners in the emerging area of women’s health
  • Journal Club Utilization as a Means of Implementing Evidence-Based Research to Pediatric Occupational Therapy Practice

    Borges, Amanda; MacLachlan, Jean (2021-04-10)
    Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a key component of occupational therapy (OT) treatment, including pediatric settings (AOTA, 2019). The overall utilization of EBP to guide treatment is low across all practice areas (Wressle & Samuelsson, 2014). The purpose of this study is to determine whether the implementation of a journal club, in combination with the Traffic Light Grading System, will improve the utilization of EBP throughout various pediatric OT settings. A quasi-experimental instructional group design, with pre-post-post test measures, would be used over a period of 12 weeks with OT practitioners (OTP) to determine if EBP utilization increases. It is anticipated that the implementation of these measures will assist in overcoming the barriers to implementing EBP to treatment. Objectives: At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to; - Describe what EBP is and why it is important to the OT profession. - Describe why a journal club could potentially assist in the utilization and implementation of EBP. - Describe why the "Evidence Alert Traffic Light Grading System" could be an effective tool to organize and implement research to OT practice. - Identify how EBP influences quality treatment within pediatric OT practice.
  • How Psychological and Cognitive Symptoms of an Eating Disorder Impact Individual Roles

    Stanley, Emily; MacLachlan, Jean (2021-04-10)
    The purpose of this study is to understand how psychological and cognitive symptoms of an eating disorder impact individuals throughout their recovery process. This researcher hopes to understand how these symptoms impact participation in daily roles beyond remission of physical and behavioral symptoms. The information gained from this study may help clinicians and occupational therapy practitioners enhance treatment throughout all stages of recovery from an eating disorder.
  • How is Trauma-Informed-Care Being Used By Occupational Therapy Professionals In Mental Health Settings?

    Pierce, Stacie; MacLachlan, Jean (2021-04-10)
    This qualitative and quantitative study was compiled from occupational therapists from across the country to identify their current practices of trauma-informed care. The results of this research showed that although trauma-informed care is present in the treatment of individuals with PTSD by occupational therapy professionals further research is still needed.
  • The Effects of Sensory-Enhanced Yoga® on Reducing Trauma Symptoms in Individuals with Substance Use Disorder

    Crane, Sadie; MacLachlan, Jean (2021-04-10)
    Substance use disorder has a major functional impact on an individual’s well-being. Addiction becomes a major role, and everyday routines focus on seeking and using drugs. Substance use disorder has been seen to have a relationship with trauma. Trauma and substance use disorder overlap because commonly trauma survivors seek out psychoactive substances as a way to self-medicate due to traumatic distress and those who heavily use substances are more easily victimized. Both of these conditions have a functional impact on an individual’s life skills. The goal of occupational therapy practitioners is to help clients identify and implement healthy habits, rituals, and routines to support a wellness lifestyle by addressing barriers and building on existing abilities. Yoga has been accepted by the occupational therapy profession as an evidence-based treatment modality that can be included in the therapeutic process as a preparatory or purposeful activity. Sensory strategies have been part of occupational therapy for decades. By incorporating sensory strategies in interventions occupational therapy practitioners have been able to help individuals with trauma manage self-regulation difficulties, which can interfere with participation in daily activities and meaningful roles and routines. The focus of this research is to identify if utilizing Sensory Enhanced Yoga can be an effective coping strategy for reducing trauma symptoms and improving self-perceived competency in roles and routine of those in recovery from substance use disorder.
  • Social Engagement in the Adult Day Service Setting

    Boulay, Mike; Parker, Maria (2021-04-10)
    This is a survey-based, exploratory research study that aims to identify the quality, frequency, and types of social participation opportunities offered to individuals with developmental disabilities, severe mobility deficits, and with minimal cognitive impairment in the adult day service (ADS) setting. It also aims to further explore the presence and roles of occupational therapy (OT) practitioners in the ADS setting.
  • Reflective Supervision

    Spielmann, Virginia (2021-04-17)
    Reflective practice and reflective supervision are considered best practice for Occupational Therapists in every setting. This presentation gets to the heart of the purpose and principles of professional reflection and demystifies professional reflection activities. Participants will be introduced to: the difference between clinical and reflective supervision reflection as a critical support for the Occupational Therapist navigating the biomedical model reflection as a vehicle for cultivating client-centered care, applying therapeutic using of self and therapeutic alliance relatable and practical steps for implementing or improving reflective supervision in your practice. This 60-minute presentation is designed for Fieldwork Educators, Students and Occupational Therapists of any level of experience.

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