Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sarah K. Nielsen


Behavior Control -- methods; Child; Motivation; Occupational Therapy -- methods; Students


Problem: School-based occupational therapists have reported barriers to working with children with psychosocial needs including a limited knowledge of psychosocial methods (Barnes, Beck, Vogel, Grice, & Murphy, 2003; Case-Smith & Archer, 2008). These issues prevent children with motivational and behavioral issues from receiving the best care possible and, in some cases, from receiving therapy at all.

Methods: An extensive literature review was conducted to understand current utilization of psychosocial strategies in school-based occupational therapy practice, barriers therapists experience in applying these strategies, and effective psychosocial strategies for children with motivational issues. Findings of the literature suggested that continuing education was correlated with increased confidence in employing psychosocial methods, therefore the authors decided to focus on educating therapists regarding psychosocial methods that are utilized with children.

Summary of Results: The outcome of this scholarly project was an article titled: Motivating the Unmotivated Child: Using Psychosocial Intervention Methods in the School. The difficulty occupational therapists face in using psychosocial strategies in school-based practice is illustrated in this article, as well as eight concepts that occupational therapists can apply when working to engage the unmotivated child in the therapy process.

Conclusions: The article for submission is only one step in overcoming barriers to using psychosocial strategies in school-based practice. The authors recommend providing further continuing education for therapists to address the use of psychosocial methods within the school system. It is also recommended that a research study be conducted in order to understand the effectiveness of the psychosocial methods in the school system. Limitations of the project include difficulty accessing the entire targeted audience.