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Date of Award


Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Health Science

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Moses Ikiugu, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA


school occupational therapy, American Sign Language (ASL), social participation, academic performance, program development

Subject Categories

Occupational Therapy


Approximately 76% of general education students are not eligible for services through an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) and display difficulties with academic occupations. American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language typically utilized for Deaf or hard of hearing individuals and is being implemented into educational programs for all students to address occupational deficits and enhance inclusivity. Due to the gap in literature, this capstone project aimed to examine the use of ASL in an occupation-based program for elementary students with various hearing abilities to enhance academic performance in areas of formal education and social participation. A total of 26 students were selected by convenience sampling and completed the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency Second Edition (BOT-2) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) as pre- and post-test assessments. Quantitative results indicate that the participants improved in areas of fine motor precision, integration, dexterity, and coordination, as well as hyperactivity, peer relationships, and overall social behaviors. Qualitative themes depict changes in students’ peer relationships and interactions, inclusivity, and participation in academic tasks. However, further research is needed to understand the impact of using ASL in occupational therapy interventions among children who are hearing, Deaf, and hard of hearing to enhance academic performance.