Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Elena Marre

Second Advisor

Holly Grieves


Engagement in play and leisure activities is an important component of daily life for individuals of all ages. However, there is still a lack of leisure and recreation availability and knowledge regarding children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their participation in daily activities specifically related to play, recreation, and socialization. With healthcare advocacy efforts on the rise, the implementation of a meaningful leisure occupation, such as cooking, through group classes is evident in order to improve one’s overall quality of life. The aim of this 14- week education and program development based capstone project is to improve inclusivity and increase leisure opportunities for kids with intellectual and developmental disabilities at a pediatric cooking school through in-person and virtual cooking class contexts. This study was developed through extensive staff training and caregiver coaching within an occupation-based lens. Patterns between increased understanding of sensory-based techniques and enhanced staff confidence emerged. Additionally, a positive link between participant engagement in group classes and improved mood and sense of belonging were significant, however, long term physical impacts and accessibility proposes the need for more research directly related to group engagement and leisure activities for children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.