Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sclinda Janssen


Adolescent; Disabled Persons; Occupational Therapy; Social Adjustment


Purpose: The purpose of this scholarly project was to create a workshop for occupational therapists (OTs) who work with adolescents as they transition from high school to adulthood focusing on life skill development.

Methodology: An Internet search was completed to determine the current role of OT in the transition process and the needs of adolescents as they transition to adulthood. Information was obtained from the following databases: PubMed, PsychInfo, SCOPUS, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL). Resources included professional journals, scholarly text books, and government websites. The literature review also included information on the Ecology of Human Performance Model and Knowles Adult Learning theory to guide the development of this scholarly project.

Results: Adolescents with disabilities have more difficulty developing adult life skills in the areas of social skills, community involvement, employment, postsecondary education, affordable housing, and parental dependence. As an IEP team member, OTs have unique knowledge and skills to facilitate the transition process, increase adolescent independence and participation in meaningful occupations. This scholarly project includes a workshop and resource manual based on a theoretical foundation and evidence-based research to support the role expansion of occupational therapy in transitional programs.

Conclusions: In conclusion, it is recommended that occupational therapists expand their existing role in the transition process to include life skills development of adolescents. It is likely that this workshop will facilitate this role expansion by providing an opportunity for discussion, problem solving, idea sharing, learning about related legislation and research. It is expected that this workshop will be implemented in public school settings by the year 2012. Continued research is needed in the area of life skill development for adolescents with a disability who are in the process of transitioning to adulthood to continue to expand this workshop.