Date of Award


Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Health Science

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Jessica McHugh


NICU, Post-NICU, occupational therapy, pediatrics, feeding, sensory, development

Subject Categories

Occupational Therapy


The purpose of this capstone experience was to gain advanced clinical experience and explore occupational therapy’s role in the NICU and post-NICU settings. Further focus of this capstone was on the feeding concerns and sensory development of infants following a NICU stay. This capstone project was completed at a Level IV NICU and an outpatient speech and occupational therapy clinic in a midwestern city. Theoretical models of Ayres’ Sensory Integration, Neonatal Integrative Developmental Care Model, and Biopsychosocial Model of Pediatric Feeding were used to develop and implement this capstone experience. A two-day continuing education course was completed prior to the student’s time in the NICU to better understand common conditions and treatment interventions in the NICU setting. Deliverable projects were created to support the role of occupational therapy in the post-NICU setting, specifically regarding feeding therapy and sensory development. These deliverables were presented in the form of educational handouts. The deliverables created were directly corresponded with my objectives, which included 1) Enhance basic knowledge of the NICU setting through continuing education course(s), 2) Explore the role of occupational therapy in the NICU, 3) Explore the role of occupational therapy in the post-NICU setting, 4) Collaborate with therapy staff to create educational handouts for the outpatient setting, 5) Analyze personal experiences in the NICU and post-NICU settings, and 6) Identify knowledge gained throughout the capstone experience through weekly journaling. The six learning objectives were completed through extensive investigation, hands-on experience, observation, and the creation of 18 deliverables.