Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)

Department

Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Roberta Carrlson

Abstract

Introduction: By attending summer camps, children with disabilities have the opportunity to retain skills they acquire during the school year in services including occupational therapy (Marr & Dimeo, 2006); however, the perception of occupational therapy services at these camps is limited. Not all children who receive therapy services during the school year are eligible for services in the summer, which means that occupational therapy at summer camps is an opportunity to prevent deterioration of skills in those not otherwise eligible (North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, 2016).

Methodology: A qualitative phenomenological research study was conducted to look at camp counselors’ perceptions of occupational therapy services for children at a summer camp for children with disabilities. Researchers interviewed six counselors from a summer camp in the Midwest using a semi-structured interview process. Data was coded and put into categories, which were then developed into three themes. This process was guided by the Person Environment Occupation (PEO) Model.

Results: The counselors’ perceptions were concerned with the camper’s experience at camp and occupational therapy. Three main themes emerged that revolved around the three domains of the PEO model: the person, environment, and occupation.

Conclusion: Counselors reported that campers experienced improvements in confidence, responsibility, social skills, activities of daily living, and participation in leisure activities and play. Occupational therapy services were perceived to be favorable by counselors in helping campers maintain skills, complete activities of daily living, and interact appropriately with peers in a camp setting.

Significance: Children and adolescents with disabilities can benefit with improved skills by attending summer camps where therapy services are provided. The profession of occupational therapy has limited presence in summer camps, however, children could benefit from increased services provided at summer camps.

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