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Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Health Science

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Whitney Lucas Molitor, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, BCG


Occupational therapy, immigrants, life skills, mental health, occupational performance

Subject Categories

Occupational Therapy


The purpose of this 14-week capstone project was to gain skills in creating community programming and gain experience in working with the immigrant population, an emerging area of practice in occupational therapy. The completion of this experience took place at St. Michaels Home for Children in Houston, TX, a shelter for unaccompanied immigrant adolescents detained by immigration officials. Though this is an emerging area in the field of occupational therapy, there is still a need continue expanding and growing within this area to reach more clients. This capstone project focused on providing occupational therapy services to asylum seeking immigrants in order to prepare them as they transition to their host country. This was completed by providing education to caregivers to promote mental health and healing and creating life skills modules addressing varying areas of needs. A needs assessment was completed in order to identify the needs of the clients. Following the completion of the needs assessment, a life skills training program, consisting of 10 modules, was created and implemented with clients. The program was evaluated by tracking attendance, the use of client satisfaction surveys, assessments of knowledge, and surveys regarding the sustainability and effectiveness of the program to meet the clients needs. Overall, the evaluations demonstrated clients were satisfied with modules and knowledge was gained following the completion of all modules except for one. The completion of this project demonstrates that the role of occupational therapy in working with the immigrant population can be further expanded to working with this population in a shelter setting. The holistic approach of occupational therapy services is beneficial with this type of setting as it allows therapists to address multiple areas of needs that may impact the clients’ ability to engage in meaningful activities and their overall well-being.