Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Gail Bass


Brain Injuries -- prevention and control; Brain Injuries -- rehabilitation; Caregivers -- education; Disabled Children; Safety


The prevalence of infant TBI, 0 to 4 years of age, is one of the highest population groups to experience TBI (Faul, Xu, Wald, & Coronado, 2010). The age group between 0-4 years old has contributed to 251,546 emergency department visits, 15,239 hospital visits, and 998 deaths (Faul et aI., 2010). The purpose of this scholarly project is to increase awareness and knowledge of infant and young child traumatic brain injury across all contexts, to reduce incidence of traumatic brain injury and re-injury and to promote development for the vulnerable, at-risk, infant and young child population through the creation and implementation of a caregiver manual.

A comprehensive literature review was completed to identify the main causes, risk factors, types, severity, and symptoms of traumatic brain injury in young children. The authors also met with the director of Safe Kids to discuss current preventative measures and obtained useful information about safety, prevention and education for parents and caregivers. Principles of the adult learning models and the occupation-based model, Person-Environment-Occupation (PEO, Strong & Gruhl, 2010), were used as a guide in developing the caregiver manual. The emphasis of PEO on person, environment and occupation is illustrated through the three areas the occupational therapists address equally within the caregiver manual: the caregiver, home context, and the caregiver's ability to care for the child.

The product of this scholarly project is a caregiver manual with the purpose of reducing the prevalence of TBI in infants and young children and educating parents on safety techniques. The caregiver manual is made up of two sections; the first section focuses on prevention and education for parents and caregivers with vulnerable, at-risk infants and young children and the second section focuses on prevention and education for parents and caregivers with injured, at-risk infants and young children. Preventative techniques are a cost-effective way to provide treatment and avoid injury. The caregiver manual is intended for use and implementation in various regions in the United States to prevent TBI and reduce the national prevalence rate.

Currently, the literature on intervention and treatment for infants and young children who experience TBI is limited, especially in the area of occupational therapy. This supports the creation of a preventative and educational caregiver manual for occupational therapists to utilize as a part of intervention. It is also recommended that the manual be piloted by occupational therapists who are willing to collect data on the effectiveness of the use of the materials in the manual. It is further recommended that future research be completed on the role of occupational therapy with this population.