Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Debra Hanson


Occupational Therapy -- methods; Spinal Cord Injuries -- therapy


The purpose of this scholarly project was to provide occupational therapists with a practical guide for implementing occupation-based leisure interventions for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). In recent years, the occupational therapy (OT) profession has seen a shift from a biomechanically driven paradigm back to the occupation-centered practice from which OT is rooted. Though the definition and mission of OT involves the use of occupation-centered interventions, this vision is not always evident within current treatment plans for people with a SCI diagnosis. Research has indicated that leisure participation is essential for this population due to the physical benefits and more importantly for the emotional and social benefits. This manual was created to guide OTs to address leisure engagement with individuals with SCI, ultimately resulting in higher quality of life.

An extensive literature review was completed to support the need for this product and identify areas of focus. Topics of research included: 1) etiology and incidence of SCI, 2) functional ability at each SCI level, 3) role of OT, 4) problems with current OT intervention, 5) importance of occupation-based leisure interventions, and 6) utilization of the Ecological Model of Human Performance to facilitate leisure engagement with individuals with SCI.

In order to address the needs identified through the literature review, a manual was created to assist OTs in enabling client-centered, occupation-based interventions for individuals with SCI. To provide highest level of care for today’s clients, OTs need to be equipped with the correct resources for creating individualized, meaningful intervention plans with client-driven goals. This manual will assist OTs in extending the range of leisure tasks available to individuals with SCI, resulting in successful engagement and increased quality of life.