Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Cindy Janssen-Holweger


Developmental Disabilities -- rehabilitation; Health Promotion


When researching wellness programs for adults with developmental disabilities, the authors found there to be several barriers to wellness for this population, with one of these barriers being physical activity. Many adults with developmental disabilities do not engage in adequate amounts of physical activity (Havercamp, Scandlin, and Roth, 2004). This may be impart to inadequate access to transportation to get to and from the fitness facility (Heller, Hsieh, & Rimmer, 2004; U.S. Public Health Service, 2001), the cost of joining a fitness facility program (Heller, Hsieh, & Rimmer, 2004; Temple & Walkley, 2007), or challenges in accessing fitness equipment (Heller, Hsieh, & Rimmer, 2002; Temple & Walkley, 2007).

Another challenge facing adults with developmental disabilities is nutrition. One problem currently being experienced in this area is that the nutrition material is not printed at a low enough reading level for those with developmental disabilities to read and follow through (Carlson, 2002). Without the proper education and training on nutrition, individuals with developmental disabilities are not going to be able to engage in the proper diet that best suits their needs.

Currently, there are only three wellness programs designed to meet the needs of this population. However, these programs are not holistic and have limitations. Therefore, the purpose of this scholarly project is to develop a wellness program that meets all of the unique wellness needs of adults with developmental disabilities in order to increase their overall the health and well-being.

The methodology used to conduct this scholarly project was an extensive review of literature. From the information obtained through the various literature reviews, the authors developed a holistic wellness program to meet the unique needs of adults with developmental disabilities.

The product of the wellness program includes a workbook for the adults with developmental disabilities, or the participants, and interdisciplinary team guide, which contains protocols to follow when implementing the wellness activities. Activities addressed within the workbook and the interdisciplinary guide are nutrition, physical activities, and environmental wellness activities. The nutrition activities include the following: health benefits, food pyramid, meal planning, favorite foods, serving sizes, nutrition games, and grocery store outings. There are also a variety of activities listed for physical activities, such as: dance classes, tai-chi, intramural sports, walking club, exercise equipment, yoga, Pilates, and cardio class.