Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

First Advisor

Sarah K. Nielsen

Second Advisor

Cherie Graves


Accidents, Traffic -- prevention & control; Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders; Child Development Disorders, Pervasive; Child; Child Development Disorders, Pervasive; Compulsive Personality Disorder; Mood Disorders; Safety


Purpose: More than 148,000 children were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2011 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Currently, while it is understood that transporting children with special needs likely to affect behaviors (SNLAB) provide safety challenges (Yonkman, Lawler, Talty, O’Neil, & Bull, 2013), there is little information regarding how to evaluate and intervene for this significant aspect of daily life. The purpose of this project was to develop an occupational therapy protocol for evaluation and intervention for car safety to be used by occupational therapists working with children who have emotional and behavioral needs.

Methodology: An extensive literature review was conducted in order to better understand the targeted population and supports and barriers to providing transportation safety services to this population. Utilizing the Person Environment Occupation Model (PEO) (Law et al., 1996), a systematic analysis of occupational performance issues for riding safely in a car was conducted and was the basis for creating the evaluation and intervention tools to be used by occupational therapists.

Results: The Traveling Safely Evaluation and Intervention Protocol was developed to address the issue of vehicle transportation safety for children with SNLAB. This protocol includes an assessment for evaluation and resources to be utilized by the occupational therapist and parent when planning for car safety.

Conclusion: This protocol development is only a first step in addressing car safety for children with SNLAB. It is recommended this protocol be piloted and further refined. In addition, there is need for development of resources to assist in problem solving solutions for car safety for children.