Date of Award
Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
Intergenerational Relations; Learning Disorders -- therapy
Intergenerational programs are known to bring older adults together with children in order to promote social inclusion, and increased self-confidence and motivation for both age groups (Hatton-Yeo, 2010). Programs of this nature have proven to influence greater academic outcomes and school performance, decreased criminal behavior and greater personal adaptability in younger populations (Hatton-Yeo, 2010). Research with community dwelling seniors who participated in intergenerational programs indicated that older adults showed a decrease in depressive symptomology after participating in weekly programming (Kamei et. al., 2011). While the outcomes of these studies clearly identify the benefits of intergenerational programming on both youth and the elderly, the healthcare professions identified as facilitating these studies are largely nursing, social work, or student in health education. There has been little evidence based research connecting intergenerational programs to occupational therapy facilitation.
Through an extensive literature review, a product was developed that outlines a school based intergenerational program, facilitated by an occupational therapist, that brings together school aged children and community based seniors.
The primary objective is to increase reading, writing, and communication skills of elementary school children diagnosed with specific learning disabilities through the facilitation of a relationship with community based seniors. A secondary objective is to decrease social isolation and depressive symptomology for senior participants while providing an opportunity to benefit the community through support of youth academic improvement. Program activities will highlight collaboration through shared experiences to decrease the generational gap (Wright et. al., 2012) through mentorship, relationship building, and occupation-based learning activities. This scholarly project will provide support for the development and implementation of an occupational therapist facilitated intergenerational program. Further development of such beneficial programming is warranted.
Nelson, Cynthia and Prusak, Laurel, "Fostering Reading, Writing, and Communication Skills through Intergenerational Relationships: An After-School Program" (2015). Occupational Therapy Capstones. 147.