Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sarah Nielsen


Adolescent; Child; Caregivers; Family; Occupational Therapy -- methods


Purpose Family-centered care is considered the gold standard when working with children and their families (Darrah, Wiart, Magill-Evans, Ray, & Andersen, 2010). Despite there being a strong push toward family-centered care, there remains a disconnect in outpatient pediatric settings when working with children ages 3-18. The purpose of this scholarly project is to raise awareness of the need for caregiver engagement in pediatric, outpatient occupational therapy and identify best practice principles for caregiver engagement.

Methods An extensive literature review was conducted in order to understand caregiver engagement in pediatric occupational therapy. The information obtained from the literature review was analyzed and placed into emerging themes: (a) background information, (b) caregiver/therapist barriers, (c) caregiver/therapist perspectives on engagement, (d) methods of engagement, and (e) models and theories for caregiver engagement. The Adult Learning Theory of Andragogy (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007) was used to organize the information and guide the creation of the product.

Results The analysis of information indicated multiple best practice and evidence-based strategies to engage caregivers in their child’s occupational therapy services. Based on this conclusion, the researchers created an OT Practice article to inform occupational therapy practitioners of the current lack of engagement in occupational therapy, the barriers to engagement and best practice methods for engaging caregivers. Best practice strategies are presented throughout the therapeutic process. Additionally, a handout was created to inform occupational therapy practitioners and caregivers of their specific roles throughout the therapeutic process.

Conclusion The purpose of this product is to raise awareness of the lack of caregiver engagement in practice and provide best-practice strategies to promote engagement, however it does not give specific steps for how to implement these strategies throughout the therapeutic process. Additionally, there was a lack of occupational therapy literature that contributed to our literature review. Overall, these products were designed to reach a wide variety of occupational therapy practitioners and are intended to promote collaboration between the therapist and caregiver, thus increasing the outcomes for the child.