Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2024

Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Health Science

Faculty Mentor

Megan Johnke OTD, OTR/L


occupational therapy, emotional regulation, childhood trauma, trauma-informed care, mental health

Subject Categories

Occupational Therapy


Children who have experienced trauma often have poor emotional regulation skills which can lead to peer rejection, decline in engagement at school, and poor academic performance. Occupational therapists have the knowledge and skills to create a client-centered approach when working with children who have experienced trauma. This emotional regulation program is guided by a trauma-informed care approach and a public health approach to mental health. The program consisted of 59 students between transitional kindergarten and 5th grade meeting in small groups once a week for 30 minutes over 11 to 12 weeks. The sessions included activities related to emotional regulation such as identifying emotions, exploring calming strategies, learning about the brain, and using an interoception body chart. The results of the program showed small improvements in perceived emotions and behaviors in the classroom with statistical significance for reducing hyperactivity, emotional behavioral difficulties, and overall total difficulties with the paired t-test and reducing emotional behavioral difficulties for the independent t-test.



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