Date of Award


Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Health Science

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Ranelle Nissen, OTR/L

Second Advisor

Jill Zaruba, OTR/L


Developmental delay, childcare settings, neurodevelopmental skills, sensory processing, reflex screening

Subject Categories

Occupational Therapy


This study focused on exploring the occupational therapist's role in childcare settings. The program development, observations, and hands-on activity allowed for first-hand experience of the role occupational therapists could play in a daycare setting. Incorporating meaningful participation, education, and environmental modifications were a part of this study. The study was conducted in Northeast Nebraska, with a total of 31 participants.

Early detection is key to addressing developmental delays in many areas (play, social, leisure, dressing, eating, etc). Developmental screenings can assist caregivers and specialists in knowing and understanding how a child is developing compared to his or her same-aged peers.

All participating children completed three screenings, which included a neurodevelopmental checklist, Sensory Profile-2, and a five-reflex screening checklist. A total of 31 children (77% of those attending the daycare) were screened in relation to the three areas discussed. The results of this study did not indicate any significant delays or changes. However, through observation, several children were identified with developmental concerns related to reflexes, sensory processing, and neurodevelopmental skills.

Further research is needed on early detection and implementation of best practices within a daycare setting. Childcare providers are in an optimal position to detect and address developmental delays that arise with their respective ages. However, lack of education and inconsistency in training hinder one’s ability to address concerns effectively.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.