Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Jan Stube


Architectural Accessibility; Occupational Therapy -- methods


Purpose: Universal design is an emerging practice area within the profession of occupational therapy. Because universal design is an emerging area, educational resources on the topic are limited. If practitioners wish to work in this emerging area, more knowledge and skills need to be developed. The purpose of this scholarly project was to create a resource that could be used to educate occupational therapy students on universal design concepts. Information included in the presentation will help students understand the role of the occupational therapist in the design process.

Method: A literature review was conducted to examine the impact of the environment on occupational performance, analyze terminology, and examine the benefits and drawbacks of universal design. In addition, textbooks and websites addressing universal design were reviewed. The information gathered in the literature review was organized into a Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation.

Results: From the literature, it was found that the physical enviromnent plays a strong role in impacting the occupational performance of individuals with and without disabilities. Both barriers and facilitators exist within the physical environment, and universal design concepts can be applied to eliminate the number of barriers that negatively affect occupational performance. In this scholarly project presentation, universal design principles and guidelines are discussed along with their application to the physical environment. In addition, the relationship between occupational therapy and the universal design process are explored. The specific knowledge and skills that occupational therapists have are discussed as well as how they correlate with implementing universal design concepts.

Conclusion: Through viewing the educational presentation, occupational therapy students will have a better understanding of the impact of the physical environment on occupational performance as well as the application of universal design concepts. In addition, students will have a better understanding of the role of the practitioner in the design process. It is hoped that this presentation will educate students and encourage them to consider furthering their knowledge and practicing in this emerging area.