Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sclinda Janssen

Second Advisor

Wanda Lauer


Title: The “Nature” of Growth: A Virtual Education Platform for Caregivers of Children with Trauma

Background: More than two thirds of all children report having been exposed to at least one traumatic event prior to the age of 16 (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2021). These children are considered at risk due to the previous trauma that they have been exposed to (Ryan, Jane, & Powers, 2017). Children exposed to trauma face significant barriers to engagement in meaningful tasks, delays in development, longterm health issues, and unpredictable emotions (Forkey et al., 2021). Caregivers of these children have a crucial role in promoting recovery, but they often are faced with unknown variables and difficulties regarding the impacts that trauma has on their child.

Purpose: The purpose of the product for this scholarly project is to promote effective engagement in tasks consisting of child rearing, health management, social participation, play, leisure, and activities of daily living (American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA], 2020) through caregiver education and evidence-based nature activities that help overcome a child’s barriers to participation as a result of trauma.

Methods: A literature review was conducted on topics centered around trauma, caregiver education following trauma, and nature-based interventions. Through the research, it was determined that there is a need for more accessible caregiver education materials (Benesh & Cui, 2017). Concepts from the Ecology of Human Performance (EHP) model (Dunn, 2017) and Kaplan’s (1995) Attention Restoration Theory (ART) were used for the development of the product. This product was developed for use by caregivers of children with trauma.

Conclusion: The “Nature” of Growth: A Virtual Education Platform for Caregivers of Children with Trauma is a virtual module platform for caregivers of children with trauma. This product was designed to be disseminated by occupational therapy practitioners to caregivers of children with trauma. It is hoped that following completion of the virtual modules that caregivers will have an increased satisfaction of their role as a caregiver as well as being equipped with strategies to use to support their child following trauma.