Date of Award

Spring 5-2024

Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Health Science

Faculty Mentor

Moses Ikiugu, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA


mental health, pediatrics, children, youth, occupation-based, healthcare, occupational therapy

Subject Categories

Occupational Therapy


Children and youth experiencing mental health concerns often have limited or decreased engagement in meaningful occupations. Additionally, children and youth who experience mental health concerns at an early age are more likely to experience negative health outcomes such as poor occupational engagement, academic achievement, adverse childhood experiences (ACES), maltreatment/abuse/neglect, family and peer conflict/rejection, low self-esteem, early substance use, and many others impacting their overall health and well-being. My capstone project aimed to administer occupation-based interventions in a pediatric mental health program while I advance my skills working with an interdisciplinary team. The literature and needs assessment indicated a need for occupational therapy practitioners to further address the mental health needs of children and youth given the increasingly large number of individuals with mental health concerns. Occupational therapy practitioners offer a unique approach to the care they provide by utilizing a client-centered approach, supporting the individual holistically. Principles from occupational therapy theoretical models were used to guide my capstone experience, and I administered the Child Occupational Self-Assessment (COSA) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) to determine specific areas of concern for individuals and to plan and facilitate client-centered, occupation-based treatment sessions. 7 individuals completed the assessments; however, all individuals with occupational therapy orders received treatment. The findings from the COSA demonstrated an overall increase in perceived competence and perceived value, and the results of the SDQ demonstrated a sustained decrease in perceived emotional and behavioral health difficulties throughout interventions. These results along with the evidence-based literature indicate that occupational therapy has an important role in providing mental health services to children and youth suffering from mental health concerns.



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