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Occupational Therapy


Research Network

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Are you interested in working with faculty and students to complete a research project? Would you be willing to mentor a student in data collection? Have you always wanted to undertake research in your clinic but are fearful of the data analysis and statistics? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you have come to the right spot.

Below is a listing of projects completed by OT students and faculty at St. Ambrose University. And, if you have a research idea you would like to discuss, please contact any of the OT faculty.

Class of 2010

Occupational Therapy Interventions to Promote Pre-Literacy Skill Development
Meghan E. Barnett, Meredith A. Carr, Breanne L. Hinkle, Jennifer L. Kluever, Nicole M. Rowold, Amanda L. Wheelock, Gloria J. Frolek-Clark, PhD, OTR/L, BCP, FAOTA and Theresa L. Schlabach, PhD, OTR/L, BCP
Abstract - The purpose of this evidence-based review is to demonstrate the effectiveness of interventions used in occupational therapy to promote pre-literacy skills (e.g., fine motor skills, visual perception, auditory processing, language, cognition/learning, attention, and visual-motor.) After completing a comprehensive literature search, 63 studies were included for critical appraisal. The studies included a wide variety of interventions with outcomes measured in relation to physical, cognitive, and communication skills. Analysis of included articles also highlights potentially new interventions that, although not studied by occupational therapists, are within the scope of practice and could be implemented by occupational therapists. Implications for early intervention programs and practitioners working with clients age birth - five are presented.

Effectiveness of a ROHO Cushion in Response to Temperature Change
James Pazour, OTR/L, ATP, Megan Andresen, PT, ATP, Ashley Goyette, Amanda Lawrie, Amanda May, Brittney McCormick, Aileen Mooney, Andrea Niemann, and Lynn Kilburg, DHSc, MBA, OTR/L
Abstract - The effects of temperature change on High-profile, Quadtro Select ROHO cushions are not currently well known. This studied utilized a pre and post-test design that measured the peak pressure index of 8 participants with and without a spinal cord injury. Participants were seated on 70° F cushions and then on cushions that had been cooled in a 37° F environment for 30 minutes. Results indicated that the peak pressure index decreased when the cushion was cooled compared to the warm cushion (p= .016). Based on these results, pressure management plans may need to be altered for individuals seated in temperatures below 37° F by recommending more frequent pressure relief. Additional research should be completed in order to study the effects of temperatures below 37°F, for periods of time greater than 30 minutes, and with more participants.

Effectiveness of Yoga Versus Traditional Therapeutic Exercise on Strength, Flexibility, and Compliance
Julie Hast, Christine Kilian, Tiffany Robertson, Janice Sinn, Sundae Swalley, and Erin Phillips, MSOT, OTR/L, CYT
Abstract - Research has proven physical and psychological benefits of yoga practice which Western Medicine supports. This study compared the outcomes of a yoga-based home exercise program to a traditional therapeutic program as prescribed for common forward-head posture. Participants (N =36) were a convenience sample from a Midwestern University including a control group of 10. They completed a battery of tests to assess posture, strength, and flexibility. Random assignment was made to an 8 week intervention group consisting of either traditional or yoga-based exercises and weekly compliance was documented. Post testing was performed and paired t-test results indicated a significantly lower rate of compliance for the yoga group (p = 0.001) and no significant areas of improvement in strength and flexibility. Qualitative feedback from yoga participants emphasized difficulty with learning and performing postures. The study is limited by small sample size and high dropout rates. However, there are important implications for clinical practice such as identifying compliance issues, understanding the value and difficulty of yoga practice, and consideration of life balance. Discussion of future research includes the process of creating compliance for a yoga-based program during times of wellness.

Effects of Play-based Intervention on Social Skills in Children
Trista Hoover, Samantha Slifka, Emily Zueger, and Lynn Kilburg, DHSc, MBA, OTR/L
Abstract - This study examined how a play-based intervention impacts the social skills in elementary-aged children. Children presenting with developmental delay, sensory processing concerns, and/or on the autism spectrum often display difficulties with social skills. Occupational therapists have the tools and knowledge to implement group play-based interventions for this population. Pre and post-test design and observational approach were utilized to explore the impact of a social skills group at an outpatient clinic in the Midwest. No statistical significance was found upon completion of data analysis. Although statistical significance was not found, researchers observed that early skills became foundational skills for social skills addressed and developed in later weeks.

Exploring Female Adolescents' Physical Activity: Influence of the Social and Physical Environment
Phyllis Wenthe, PhD, OTR/L, Jenelle Bayer, Hope Coffin, Danielle Dunnwald, Kathryn Eberle, Renee Holst, and Marcie Korth
Abstract - Numerous research studies have focused upon the recent trend of decreased physical activity and increased obesity rates among female adolescents. This study examined the impact of the perceived social and physical environments upon female adolescents' physical activity participation. Data was analyzed from 286 female adolescents enrolled in the Iowa Bone Developmental Study. Spearman correlations and multiple regressions were conducted in order to analyze which aspect of the environment was most influential. The results indicated there was a positive correlation between the social environment and self-reported physical activity (r = 0.47) but not with the physical environment. Within the social environment, family support, specifically parents watching adolescents participate, had the highest correlation (r = 0.39). Occupational therapists should consider these results when designing wellness programs for female adolescents.

How Older Adults Obtain Information
Lori Greenwood, Anne Marie Henderson, Diane M. Jackson, and Jill Schmidt, MS, OTR/L
Abstract - The older adult population often lacks knowledge to obtain information about services available which could assist them in maintaining health in their everyday lives (Billek-Sawhney & Reicherter, 2005). For occupational therapists, gaining knowledge about the preferred method of obtaining information by older adults can assist them in promoting engagement in instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). A survey was developed by the researchers and given to community dwelling older adults. The researchers found older adults chose their family as their primary way to obtain information. Future research with older adults could include finding what community resources are utilized, barriers to participation in these services, and comparing the differences in the old and oldest old populations.

Sensory Processing and Borderline Personality Disorder
Krystal Flaherty, Brittany Prince, and Christine K. Urish, PhD, OTR/L, BCMH, FAOTA
Abstract - Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of only two diagnoses in the DSM-IV-TR that includes self-injury in the diagnostic criteria. Deficits in sensory processing may contribute to these self-injurious behaviors, but little research has investigated a potential link between the two. The purpose of this research was to identify a pattern of sensory processing among individuals with BPD through the use of the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile (AASP). Identifying a pattern between sensory processing and BPD will provide support for evidence-based practice interventions and provide healthcare practitioners with more effective sensory-based treatment to reduce self-injurious behaviors. The research revealed 78.6% of participants with BPD (n=14) scored more than most people in the area of low registration. Individuals did engage in self-injurious behaviors including: scratching (28.6%), cutting (21.4%), and hitting (21.4%). Most frequently identified feelings from self-injury: numb, relief, and guilt (all 35.7%). Future research should address: Development of a sensory processing instrument which is more sensitive to the DSM IV-TR criteria, ask research participants in which context of self-injury occurs to better understand this behavior, and a critical examination of the effectiveness of sensory interventions with individuals with BPD and other mental illness.

St. Ambrose Assistive Technology Outcomes Measure Study
Deepal Patel, Tyler Patton, Katie Jo Wedeking, Lynn Kilburg, DHSc, MBA, OTR/L, and Jon Turnquist, MOL, OTR/L, ATP
Abstract - Assistive Technology (AT) is designed to increase the quality of life and independence of individuals with various disabilities. There is a growing need to track outcomes in order to show evidence of the effectiveness of devices and services. Literature review of available outcomes measures, interviews with six clinicians, and analysis of the St. Ambrose University (SAU) AT Lab services were analyzed in order to identify what should be included in an outcomes measure. The Saint Ambrose Assistive Technology Outcomes Measure (SAATOM-2) was modified from an existing outcomes measure developed specifically for the SAU AT Lab, in order to increase compliance with the use of the outcomes measure. Use of the SAATOM-2 with reliability and validity testing should be conducted next.

Class of 2009 Projects

Educational Methods for Decreasing Stigma of Athletes with Disabilities
Anna M. Clifton, Carrie L. Gillies, Meghan L. Hamilton, Sarah L. Henderson, and Phyllis Wenthe
Abstract – This study investigated educational methods for increasing acceptance of athletes with disabilities among adolescents (N=56). Methods examined were reading an article, watching a video, and listening to a presentation given by an athlete with a disability. The pre- and post-test data were gathered using the Attitude Towards Integrative Sports Inventory. No significant differences between the interventions were found. However, all of the interventions had a positive effect among those individuals not previously knowing someone with a disability. Following the presentation, this group of participants was significantly more accepting of athletes with disabilities using adaptive equipment. Further research should focus on adolescents with no previous contact with individuals with disabilities to determine the most effective educational method.

Engaging Adolescents to Examine Attributions Regarding Mental Illness
Angela M. Adams, Maggie A. Dirksen, Amanda L. Edwards, Daniel W. Eldrenkamp, Carly L. Shannon, and Christine K. Urish
Abstract - The purpose of this study was to determine if improvisational theatre or printed material would reduce negative attributes toward persons with mental illness. Fifty-five eleven to thirteen year olds completed the Attribution Questionnaire. Seventeen participants (Group A) received a mental health fact sheet and thirty eight participants (Group B) viewed an improvisational theater performance regarding mental illness. Group B showed a significant reduction in stigmatizing attributes toward persons with mental illness (.001). From these results, stigma may be reduced through direct contact with persons who have mental illnesses. Less direct methods, such as educational handouts, were not as effective. Further research should be conducted with younger individuals to determine if the contact has the same effect with younger participants.

Impact of Home Modification and Assistive Technology on Quality of Life
Abbie S. Black, Michelle L. Maciag, Kathryn A. Orlando, Divya Pal, Christina M. Scott, Kate E. Thompson, and Lynn Kilburg
Abstract This study investigated the impact of home modification and assistive technology on quality of life. Twenty participants were obtained from a convenience sample of adult home-owners or residents in the Midwest and Central Appalachia area. A total of 59 problems were addressed. The Saint Ambrose Assistive Technology Outcome Measure as used as the instrument. A baseline assessment and two follow up measures were administered to explore perceived problems in the home, the level of difficulty with those problems, and the importance associated with the problems. A statistically significant decrease in level of difficulty was noted following home modifications. Additionally, a high overall quality of life score was noted on the follow up.

Individuals with Asperger's Disorder: Perceptions of Work Experience and Satisfaction
S. Ashley Courtright, Heather M. Cozad, Mary K. Gordon, Kristin A. Koch, and Theresa L. Schlabach
Abstract This qualitative study explores positive and negative work experiences and the impact on job satisfaction among individuals with Asperger's Disorder. There were 117 participants. Responses were collected via an online questionnaire created by the researchers. Sixty-seven percent of participants were currently employed. Analysis resulted in five themes for job satisfaction and dissatisfaction; seven themes for positive job attributes; six themes for negative job attributes; and six themes for perceived ideal job. Researchers proposed factors to include in a model for the ideal work experience for someone with Asperger's Disorder. This model includes: flexible schedules, modifications for the optimal sensory environment, structured social interactions, and utilization of skills and interests.

Outpatient mCIMT Eligibility and Feasibility for Adults Post First CVA
Jessamy Burch, Erin Flaherty, Allison E. K. Herman, Julie Ruplinger, Tia Stewart, and Brenda Hughes
Abstract - This study investigated the number of participants who would qualify for mCIMT and their willingness to commit to the protocol. Fourteen clients were referred from two Midwest outpatient clinics and met study inclusion criteria. Assessments used form CIMT qualification included: Clinician Checklist, Participant Interview, Mini-Mental Status Exam, Berg Balance Scale, Active Range of Motion Screen, Modified Ashworth Scale of Spasticity, and Participant Questionnaire. Eight of the 14 participants were evaluated, 2 met minimum requirements and 1 would have been willing to participate in the protocol. The results were not statistically significant; however, noted trends lend themselves to further discussion. The strict inclusion criteria may prevent mCIMT implementation due to clients' inability to meet all standards.

The Impact of the Aquatic Environment on Function of Children with Disabilities
Danielle Burmeister, Amy Carlson, Heather Kagy, Ashley Lang, Amy Tentinger, and Phyllis Wenthe
Abstract - This study investigates the functional benefits of the aquatic environment for children with neuromuscular and psychosocial/behavioral disorders. While research has explored various effects of aquatics, few studies have focused on the aquatic environment's impact on function specifically. Two subjects, a 7 year old female with Angelman Syndrome and 4 year old male with Autism, were observed during a six week aquatic intervention. A battery of functional assessments was administered to the participants, parents and therapists prior to intervention, midway and upon completion. While improvements were minimal, aquatic sessions were viewed positively overall by therapists, parents and participants. Further occupational therapy research of the functional benefits of aquatic therapy, particularly longitudinal, is needed.

Class of 2008 Projects

Adapted Sports and Caregiver Assistance in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries
Sarah Briggs, MOTS; Stephanie Martin, MOTS; Katherine Martinek, MOTS; Jill Sweeney, MOTS; and Phyllis Wenthe, Ph.D., OTR/L
Abstract – This study examined the relationship between participation in sports and caregiver assistance in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). Based on a questionnaire developed for this study (SASPCAS), statistically significant inverse relationships were found between sports participation and caregiver assistance, especially in the ADL of bathing. Nineteen individuals from a state spinal cord association were included in the final analysis. The strongest association with caregiver assistance was found in individuals with the highest frequency of sports participation and those who participated in sports after the injury. Additionally, the level of the SCI was associated with less caregiver assistance. The study results suggest that sports participation is a promising avenue to promote independence and potentially lessen the need for caregiver assistance.

Agitation Levels in Individuals with Dementia: Specialized versus Generalized Care Facilities
Emily Cueno, MOTS, Elizabeth Folliard, MOTS, Katy Kovacik, MOTS, Katie Walker, MOTS, and Jill Schmidt,
Abstract – Dementia is a disorder caused by the deterioration of healthy brain tissues affecting millions of people in the U.S. This diagnosis impairs individuals' independence, activities of daily living, safety, judgment, and cognition. To analyze agitation behaviors of individuals with dementia and care facility type, the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory was utilized. The participating sites were categorized into specialized and generalized care facilities. Within each facility, data was collected from morning and afternoon participants. Results from data analysis illustrated agitated behaviors were increased in specialized care facilities rather than generalized care facilities, although only two behaviors were of statistical significance. Future research is needed to understand the impact of the environment on levels of agitation in individuals with dementia.

Development of Outcome Assessment Tool Addressing Assistive Technology Impact on Caregivers
Jessica Aull, MOTS, Melinda Brown, MOTS, and Lynn Kilburg, DHSc, MBA, OTR/L
Abstract – Caregiving is a task that can be physically, psychologically, and emotionally difficult. Assistive technology can assist people with disabilities in gaining greater function. However, what is the impact on caregivers? In this study, two caregivers participated in a qualitative interview process. Three common themes emerged related to how AT may impact their care-giving role: client autonomy/caregiver time, technical support/positive feedback, and AT device/decrease in physical burden. The St. Ambrose Assistive Technology Caregiver Outcomes Assessment Measure (SAATCOM) was developed as a result and can be used to evaluate the impact of AT on the care-giving role. The seven question measure focuses on AT effectiveness, AT support, and impact of AT on caregiving time and demand.

Effects of Yoga on Children Ages 8-12
Carol E. Haywood, MOTS, Mandi M. Neuzil, MOTS, Audrey J. Raab, MOTS, Erin Phillips, MSOT, OTR/L, CYT and Lynn Kilburg, DHSc, MBA, OTR/L
Abstract – The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine the effects of yoga on children ages 8 to 12. Two yoga intervention sites located in the Midwest provided six weekly one-hour yoga classes for the subjects. Sixteen children participated in pre and post assessments and were included in data analysis. Assessments covered areas of flexibility, core strength, balance and self-esteem. Individual measurements for these areas included a hamstring stretch, timed plank hold, one-legged standing and the Coopersmith Self Esteem Inventory. Extraneous variables limited outcomes; however, a significant positive change was found in hamstring flexibility. Further research is needed to determine the efficacy of yoga with this population.

Functional Outcomes of Occupational Therapy in Hand Injuries
Erin M. Mueller, MOTS, Melissa L. Clarke, MOTS, Kayleigh M. Zurcher, MOTS, Katherine E. Schaumburg, MOTS, Naomi R. Rogne, MOTS, and Phyllis Wenthe, PhD, OTR/L
Abstract – This study examines the functional outcomes of occupational therapy in hand injuries. Outcomes from the Quick DASH Questionnaire were examined to determine improvements in activities of daily living, recreational activities, social activities, work, pain, and sleep pre and post occupational therapy. The sample consisted of 11 individuals 18 years of age or older diagnosed with a hand injury. There was no statistical significance from pre test to post test; however, improvements were noted in all subsections of the Quick DASH especially in the area of sleep. The results provided evidence that individuals with hand injuries experienced functional gains after occupational therapy treatment. Additional studies are needed to better understand the functional impact of occupational therapy in this area.

Occupational Therapy Inpatient Rehabilitation Process with Clients After Cerebrovascular Accident
Jackie Boshart, MOTS, Tara Henry, MOTS, Megan Pellett, MOTS, and Brenda Hughes, MA, OTR/L
Abstract – This qualitative study investigated how occupational therapy practitioners assist clients post cerebrovascular accident (CVA) to regain function in the affected upper extremity. Specifically, the researchers examined if modified constraint induced movement therapy (mCIMT) should be applied during the inpatient rehabilitation process. A focus group was held at one Midwest healthcare site. All of the occupational therapists in this group worked in an inpatient rehabilitation program. The results showed that there are a variety of modalities and treatments used at this facility to treat post CVA clients. The findings suggested that the structure of the inpatient setting and barriers associated with this setting would make it difficult to integrate the mCIMT protocol.

Sensory Processing Among Individuals with Mental Illness
Lindsay Bennett, MOTS, James Gimbel, MOTS, Christine Vols, MOTS, and Christine Urish, PhD, OTR/L, BCMH, FAOTA
Abstract – As mental illness is a brain disorder and sensory processing takes place in the brain, mental illness and sensory processing may be linked. This study used the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile, based on Dunn's Model (2001), to gather information from 76 individuals diagnosed with mental illness. The results showed persons with mental illness do indeed process information differently than persons without mental illness. Individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and anorexia nervosa were specifically found to process sensory information differently. This information can be used in the occupational therapy clinic to provide interventions appropriate to individual sensory preferences and
to incorporate sensory integration interventions in treatment for persons diagnosed with mental illness.

Therapists' Views of the Use of ConstraintInduced Movement Therapy in a Pediatric Population
Anne Martin, MOTS, Emily Oetting, MOTS, Renee Pollitt, MOTS, Kayla Tieskoetter, MOTS, Katie Wells, MOTS, and Brenda Hughes, MA, OTR/L
Abstract - Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) is a treatment approach typically used in clients with hemiplegia. Previous research indicates CIMT has been effective with the pediatric population, but is not being applied consistently. The researchers were interested in determining the current use of CIMT and understanding the rationale for this use with the pediatric population. For this study, researchers held focus groups at two Midwest locations. The results of this study found the common barriers to the implementation of CIMT were family dynamics, the intensity of the protocol, and client factors. The data collected in this study was consistent with prior findings regarding barriers. Future research should examine ways to overcome these barriers.

Toy Attributes Preferred by Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Care Provider Perspectives
Melissa M. Alexander, MOTS, Emily J. Russell, MOTS, Ashley N. Till, MOTS, Amanda M. Wilford, MOTS, and Theresa L. Schlabach, Ph.D, OTR/L, BCP
Abstract - This quantitative study examined toy characteristics preferred by 88 children under age 18, diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), along with the length of time children maintained attention to these toys. Convenience sampling of care providers at an Autism conference, therapy clinic, and special education school was completed to collect researcher-developed surveys. Data was analyzed using grounded-theory methodology. The top three favorite toy characteristics overall included: bright colors, sounds, and music. The majority of toys captured attention in children with ASD for 2-5 minutes. Information obtained from this study may assist care providers, including occupational therapists, in selecting engaging toys. This may increase attention and functional play, as well as, promote developmental growth in children with ASD.

Class of 2007 Projects

Development of the St. Ambrose Assistive Technology Outcomes Measurement (SAATOM)
Student Researchers: Heather Hanson, MOTS, Ashley Leonard, MOTS, and Michelle Wessels, MOTS
Faculty Mentor: Lynn Kilburg, DHSc, MBA, OTR/L
Assistive Technology (AT) plays an important role in increasing, maintaining, and improving the functional capabilities of individuals with various disabilities. Although many people believe that AT devices elicit positive outcomes, there is no widespread or commonly used tool or system for measuring these outcomes. In this study, an outcomes measurement tool was created for use by the St. Ambrose University AT Lab to collect this data. A questionnaire, the SAATOM, was developed based on current research and piloted with AT clients. Five participants were interviewed using the SAATOM forms and feedback was gathered regarding the usability of the forms. The feedback was used to create a protocol for future collection of outcomes data by the St. Ambrose University AT Lab.

Functional Outcomes of High School Transitional Services for Individuals with Cerebral Palsy
Student Researchers: Rachel Christiansen, MOTS, Kendra Clark, MOTS, Shae Kerrigan, MOTS, Lauren Koster, MOTS Kelcy McNamara, MOTS, and Danielle Sloan, MOTS
Faculty Mentor: Phyllis Wenthe, PhD, OTR/L
The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness, based on self-reports, of transitional services provided in a Midwestern high school to individuals with cerebral palsy in the promotion of success in postsecondary education, work, and community participation after graduation. This qualitative study utilized an interview created by the researchers. Seven alumni of a Midwestern high school were individually interviewed by two researchers. A direct link between transitional services in high school and success in post-secondary education, work, and community participation after graduation cannot be concluded. The research suggests transitional services may have had a significant role. More research is needed to identify areas of improvement within transitional services.

Impact of Low Vision Therapy on Quality of Life Among Adults and Older Adults
Student Researchers: Jessica Foley, MOTS, Lindsey Krueger, MOTS, Tiffiney Unruh, MOTS, and Kat Ybarra, MOTS
Faculty Mentor: Jill Schmidt, MS, OTR/L
The purpose of this study was to examine how quality of life, among adults and older adults with low vision impairments, is affected after receiving low vision treatment by an occupational therapist. This study also examined a variety of treatment approaches and how those approaches impacted quality of life and function. Pre and post scores from the Low Vision Quality of Life questionnaire, as well as demographic and treatment information were collected in order to examine improvements in quality of life and function. Each of the four participants showed improvements in quality of life following treatment. Assistive devices, method of instruction, and early intervention of low vision therapy were found to have an effect on quality of life and function.

Meaning of Social Participation for Persons with Mental Illness through the use of Improvisation
Student Researchers: Bryan Boardsen, MOTS, Ashlie Maher, MOTS, and Victor Menchaca, MOTS
Faculty Mentor: Christine Urish, PhD, OTR/L, BCMH
The purpose of this study was to examine the meaning of participation in Stigma Busters, an improvisational theatre group for persons with mental illness. Participants were interviewed three times by the same researcher. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and verified with the participant prior to the next interview. Data was unitized and the constant comparative method was utilized for analysis. Adult participants of Stigma Busters diagnosed with a mental illness were male (n=4) and female (n=3) . The results contain individual client analysis, which were further analyzed across cases. Across cases, two main themes arose: Mental Health Recovery and Social Participation. Sub-themes under Mental Health Recovery emerged as: Awareness, Advocacy and Family. Communication and Fun were sub-themes under Social Participation.

Mental Illness and Sensory Processing
Student Researchers: Veronica Heintz, MOTS, Kristen Mandle, MOTS, Rachel Schilling, MOTS, and Krista Thanos, MOTS
Faculty Mentor: Christine Urish, PhD, OTR/L, BCMH
The purpose of this quantitative study is to examine the correlation between sensory processing and mental illness. The study examined 46 individuals 18 years and older with a diagnosed mental illness. Data was collected using the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile (AASP) and a demographic questionnaire. Data was analyzed by the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) to examine possible patterns in the participants' sensory processing experiences across different mental health diagnoses. Results were not generalizable due to the small sample size, but trends were analyzed within the diagnoses. The results concluded that sensory integration issues are evident in those with mental illnesses, but future research should be completed on a larger sample size to fully illustrate trends, and provide generalizable information.

Modified Constraint Induced Movement Therapy: A Single Case Design
Student Researchers: Sarah Olson, MOTS, Lauren Parchem, MOTS, and Julie Strieb, MOTS
Faculty Mentor: Brenda Hughes, MA, OTR/L
This single case study utilizing quantitative and qualitative research procedures examined issues of compliance associated with modified constraint induced movement therapy (mCIT). The participant sustained a left non-hemorrhagic cerebral vascular accident (CVA) with right-sided hemiparesis, two years prior to the study. Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA) and a questionnaire were completed pre and post intervention. The participant did not tolerate wearing the mitt on his dominant hand per the mCIT protocol. He did participate in occupational therapy during the ten weeks. Results of a Mann-Whitney independent test, with a significance level of p<.05, showed no significant increase (p=.371) in arm function, based on Fugl-Meyer scores. The participant reported increased satisfaction in shoulder movement and successfully
regained functional abilities lost since the CVA.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder and Sensory Integration Education: Occupational Therapists' and Parents' Perspectives
Student Researchers: Sarah Foley, MOTS, Lindsey Kertland, MOTS, and Jackie Sheeder, MOTS
Faculty Mentor: Lynn Kilburg, DHSc, MBA, OTR/L
This study utilized a survey research design to understand what Sensory Integration (SI) education therapists are providing to parents; what educational information parents and therapists perceive to be beneficial; and understand what parents are gaining from the educational information. Surveys were sent to two facilities. Eleven therapist surveys and three parent surveys were received. Eleven therapists said they used books, treatment plan meetings, observation and demonstration to educate parents on SIT. Seven of eleven therapists perceived books to be beneficial and eight of eleven therapists perceived meetings and discussions to be beneficial for parents. Further research needs to explore parent and therapist perceptions of SI educational information.

Class of 2006 Projects

The Effects of Decision-making on Quality of Life in Older Adults
Student Researchers: Heidi M. Hermanson, MOTS, Erin McMaster, MOTS, Kristin S. Moore, MOTS, and Caitlin C. Smith, MOTS
Faculty Mentor: Lynn Kilburg, DHSc, MBA, OTR/L and Jill Schmidt, MS, OTR/L
The purpose of this study is to determine if the ability to make one's own decisions affects the quality of life of the older adult. Participants included 80 English speaking men and women residing in nursing homes or the community, ages 65 and older. A questionnaire-based interview was utilized to gather information regarding individual decision-making abilities. General interpretation of results determined higher satisfaction in older adults living in the community than those residing in nursing homes. Results indicate a need for more research to determine what impacts quality of life in older adults. This study provides a basis for future research for determining needs of the growing aged population and problem areas to be ameliorated as the aging population increases.

Factors That Make NCAA Wheelchair Basketball Programs Successful
Student Researchers: Kim L. Elliott, MOTS, Mae M. Freyermuth, MOTS, Jason M. Thavenet, MOTS, and Sarah J. Tobin, MOTS
Faculty Mentor: Brenda Hughes, MA, OTR/L and Phyllis Wenthe, MEd, OTR/L
The purpose of this study was to determine what factors lead to the development and success of a wheelchair basketball program at NCAA universities. A qualitative interview relating to reasons for program establishment, factors of program growth, and barriers to setting up and managing a successful program was sent to ten universities. Only eight universities contacted participated in this study. Investigators found four main themes: program founders, motivation to start programs, how universities were approached, and barriers to starting programs. In conclusion the essential elements to start and maintain a successful competitive wheelchair basketball program are to have a university employee with access to facilities, support from high administrators and university funding.

Factors Within the Physical Environment That Influence the Independence of Older Adults
Student Researchers: Lisa A. Anderson, MOTS, Clarissa L. Cook, MOTS, Kendall L. Haskins, MOTS, and Dianna R. Irwin, MOTS
Faculty Mentor: Lynn Kilburg, DHSc, MBA, OTR/L and Jill Schmidt, MS, OTR/L
This study explored how the physical environmental factors in independent living settings and nursing homes influence the independence of older adults. A semi-structured interview which utilized a questionnaire-based format was used for data collection (n=80). The questionnaire addressed participant's current physical living environment and their perceptions of environmental influences that allow maintenance of independence. Results presented a statistically significant correlation between environmental modifications and preventing the transition into a nursing home.

Parental Perceptions of Sensory Integration Treatment for Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorder
Student Researchers: Tiffany A. Francois, MOTS, Amanda L. Gregor, MOTS, Erica A. Morris, MOTS, Janna R. Syester, MOTS, and LeAnn Trana, MOTS
Faculty Mentor: Lynn Kilburg, DHSc, MBA, OTR/L
This research examined parental perception of the effect sensory integration therapy (SIT) has on children with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) to perform their occupations. Surveys (n = 50), containing qualitative and quantitative questions, were completed by parents with children on the PDD spectrum, ages birth to 21 years. Overall respondents' definition of SIT was not comprehensive, however, of the 38 parents whose children received SIT, 35 reported positive overall effect, two reported no change, and one did not respond. The age, diagnosis, location, duration, or provider of treatment did not appear to affect the parents' belief that SIT was effective. Future research is needed to explore the impact of parental perception on the effectiveness of SIT on children with PDD.

Perceptions of Accommodations for College Students with Disabilities at St. Ambrose University
Student Researchers: Meghan M. Brems MOTS, Jodie L. Cox MOTS, Christy J. Hild MOTS, Megan A. Horrie MOTS, and Trisha L. Steddom MOTS
Faculty Mentor: Theresa Schlabach, MA, OTR/L, BCP
The purpose of this study was to identify the perceptions of St. Ambrose University (SAU) students with disabilities on accommodations they received to enhance existing programs and aid in development of future programs. This research was completed through semi-structured interviews with SAU students who have a disability. Participants utilized a variety of accommodations. The main obstacle discussed was the need for more staff in the Office for Students with Disabilities. Benefits included receiving information about services, faculty assistance, and appropriate accommodations. The majority of participants agreed that SAU provided enough information about available accommodations and services. However, participants were unable to evaluate and give feedback regarding services. Overall, participants were very satisfied with the accommodations provided.

Class of 2005 Projects

A Descriptive Study of Grasp Patterns Among Individuals Within the Autistic Spectrum
Student Researchers: Stephanie L. Ebener, Megan M. Gayman, Bill H. Weaver, and Arin J. Zerwer
Faculty Mentor: Theresa Schlabach, MA, OTR/L, BCP
Autism is a growing diagnosis within the US. Researchers have found children with autism have delays in fine motor skills. Occupational therapists address fine motor control and handwriting skills among children with autism. There is limited research regarding grasp related to handwriting skills and appropriate interventions for this population. This study describes common grasp patterns among individuals ages 5-21 within the autism spectrum using the classification system described by Schneck and Henderson (1990). Results indicate as age of participants increase, grasp patterns mature. Dynamic tripod grasp was found to be the most commonly used grasp pattern among the participants in this study. These findings may be helpful in future research to assist in addressing fine motor skills used in handwriting.

Universal Design in Residential Construction: Perceptions of Home Builders and Home Buyers
Student Researchers: Lisa M. Alberts, Tanya J. Braet, Michael L. Bushby, and Elizabeth A. Imel
Faculty Mentor: Jon Turnquist, OTR/L
This study examined the perceptions of universal design (UD) in residential construction in a midsized metropolitan area in the Midwest. Surveys were distributed to prospective home buyers (n=53), accessed through local realty offices, and to home builders (n=14), members of the local Home Builder's Association. The surveys assessed prior awareness of, perceptions of, and interest in implementing UD in residential construction. It was hypothesized that for home buyers older age and increased spending for a home would be associated with higher interest in implementing UD and for home builders prior collaboration with a UD specialist would be associated with more positive perceptions of UD. Implications for future research and implementation of occupational therapy practice in UD are further discussed.

Organized Adaptive Sport Opportunities for NCAA-Division I College Students with Disabilities
Student Researchers: Alisha M. Brown, Katie E. Brubaker, Christina E. Riess, Kiley L. Schultz, and Kimberly C. Wedeking
Faculty Mentor: Phyllis Wenthe, M Ed, OTR/L
Physical activity provides numerous health benefits to the general population. Unfortunately, people with disabilities have limited physical activity options available to them. The purpose of this study was to determine what opportunities are available to students with disabilities at NCAA Division I universities to participate in organized adaptive sports. Surveys were sent to NCAA Division I universities to discover the existence of varsity, club, and recreational sport opportunities for students with disabilities. Other variables researched included the type of sport, reason for program establishment, and factors essential for establishment. Researchers found that only 26 of 178 responding universities offered programs, mainly at the recreational level. Overall, a great need exists for universities to create adaptive sport programs for students with disabilities.

The Effects of Therapeutic Horseback Riding on Children with Disabilities
Student Researchers: Anna Brandt, Carleen Cochran, Courtney Erickson, and Andrea Reis
Faculty Mentor: Lynn Kilburg, DHSc, MBA, OTR/L
The purpose of this study is to assess the effectiveness of therapeutic horseback riding (THR) for children with disabilities between the ages of 5 and 21. THR uses a horse to assist children in improving cognition, physical function, and emotional control; therefore, this intervention may be beneficial for children with disabilities. This study used the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-II to assess the impact of THR on communication, socialization, and IADL skills with a pre-posttest, between groups design. This study suggests that communication skills improved following THR according to the Vineland-II scores. No difference was found between the groups in the areas of daily living skills or socialization. Statistical analysis was not completed due to small sample size and confounding variables.

Class of 2004 Projects

Effects of Therapeutic Horseback Riding on Motor Functioning in Children with Disabilities
Student Researchers: Erica Albert, Allison Blackwood, Sally Howell, Christen Locandro, Jasmine Ranum, Maureen Sullivan, and Jeremy Whitehall
Faculty Mentor: Lynn Kilburg, MBA, OTR/L and Shelli Engelbrecht, MHCA, OTR/L
The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of therapeutic horseback riding on motor functioning in children with developmental disabilities. Participants included riders attending a therapeutic horseback-riding program. A repeated measures design consisted of pretest and posttest after a six-week riding session, and where applicable additional posttests after each subsequent six-week session. A modified version of the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency and Gross Motor Function Measure were used along with muscle tone and posture assessments to evaluate motor functioning. No significant results were found. Future research is indicated including that of the psychosocial impact of these programs. 

Effects of Therapeutic Listening and Theoretical Applications: A Historical Perspective
Student Researchers: Ashley Binks, Elizabeth Bruce, Sara Stomberg, and Kandace Wittry
Faculty Mentor: Brenda Hughes, MA, OTR/L
Therapeutic listening (TL) is an intervention that consists of listening to electronically filtered, high frequency music through special headphones that concentrate sound vibration. The compact discs used with TL stimulate the brain through the auditory system. Sheila Frick, OTR/L developed a listening program for use within the occupational therapy framework that specifically complements sensory integration treatment. Promising results of TL have been shown for children with developmental disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and sensory processing deficits. This study (n=1) was conducted on a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy and sensory integration concerns. Mixed results about the effectiveness of TL were obtained. More detailed research is necessary to support TL as a viable intervention for improving sensory processing skills.

Feature Film Use in Social Work and Occupational Therapy Education
Student Researchers: Carolyn Hansen
Faculty Mentor: Kathleen Zajicek, MS, OTR/L
This study examines occupational therapy and social work educator's classroom teaching techniques, film formats used, and how feature films depict mental illness. Previously collected survey data was analyzed using descriptive and non-parametric statistics. Analysis revealed a statistically significant difference in the teaching techniques occupational therapy and social work educators found beneficial with occupational therapy preferring multimedia and social work preferring role-playing. Educators indicated lecture format was the most commonly used teaching technique, yet only one-fifth of educators found lecture as the most beneficial teaching technique. Benefits of classroom use of feature films noted by educators were stimulating student interest and enjoyment, and student's attentiveness to media. A majority of educators stated feature films did not depict mental illness accurately.

Grasp Patterns and Perceived Fatigue in College Students
Student Researchers: Christina Beck, Danielle Bollengier, Ashley Griffin, Sandy Rosene, and Laura Steffen
Faculty Mentor: Theresa Schlabach, BCP, MA, OTR/L
This study describes the relationship of perceived fatigue and grasp patterns. Participants included 83 college students from St. Ambrose University. A survey completed by each participant provided demographic information. Each participant's grasp was photographed and then categorized according to ten different grasp patterns. The Borg CR-10 Scale was used to determine levels of fatigue before and after class. An ANOVA found no significant correlation between the type of grasp pattern used and amount of fatigue experienced after a note-writing intensive class. Further research is needed in elementary school-age children to determine if compensation for an immature grasp pattern has occurred by adulthood.

Impact of an Eden Environment on Occupational Therapy in Long-Term Care Settings
Student Researchers: Amanda Ketelsen and Hosia Towery
Faculty Mentor: Jon Turnquist, OTR/L
The Eden Alternative Approach (EA) was a model designed for application to long-term care (LTC) facilities where the daily life of residents revolves around opportunities for contact with plants, animals, and children. This study assessed the impact of the EA approach on the delivery of occupational therapy (OT) services in a LTC facility. Surveys were sent to OT practitioners in facilities using EA and non-EA approaches to LTC. Statistical significance was found in the service area of instrumental activities of daily living. Although, no significance was found using both EA and non-EA additional descriptive statistics revealed a potential impact of EA on the delivery of OT services.

Occupational Therapists' Perspectives of Eden Claims in Long-Term Care
Student Researchers: Paula Maxwell
Faculty Mentor: Kathleen Zajicek, MS, OTR/L
This study examined occupational therapists' perspectives of Eden claims in long-term care versus Traditional long-term care. Staff working in Eden and Traditional settings, employed in nursing homes and residential care/assisted living facilities, were administered surveys. Eden occupational therapists completed 47 surveys while Traditional facilities completed 37 surveys. Using independent t-tests, a statistical significance was revealed between staff claims of working conditions (p=<.03) and social atmosphere (p=<.006), with Eden Alternative staff reporting more satisfaction in those areas than Traditional staff. Both groups were evenly distributed in the resident incident rates of depression, infection, and decubiti. The Eden enriched environment requires more research to determine if this community provides beneficial effects for staff and residents in long-term care.

Perceived and Actual Barriers to Sports Participation Among Persons with Physical Disabilities
Student Researchers: Meagin Bender, Brett Jacobs, Teresa King, Sarah Stoltz, and Kara Surdock
Faculty Mentor: Phyllis Wenthe, M Ed, OTR/L
Sports participation is a common occupation for adolescents. This study examines perceived and actual barriers to sports participation in adolescents with physical disabilities. Twelve junior high and high school students with physical disabilities from three area schools completed a survey regarding benefits of sports and reasons for non-participation. Administrators from local agencies were interviewed to identify actual barriers in the community. Results showed that the five subjects that participated in sports identified a positive effect on school performance, self-esteem, and relationships. Seven subjects that did not participate in sports identified three main barriers to participation: cost, lack of time and interest, and severity of disability. Two adapted sports programs were identified, with mainstreaming as an option.