Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Kimberly Ganzevoort

Second Advisor

Nancy Hock

Third Advisor

Holly Grieves


The fields of Occupational Therapy and Applied Behavior Analysis are currently two of the most common treatment approaches for children with autism spectrum disorder. Unfortunately, a lack of understanding and mutual respect between the fields has led to poor interprofessional collaboration among professionals in each practice area, negatively impacting client outcomes. While both fields differ greatly in treatment approaches, collaboration is crucial between practitioners as they address similar skills in a child with autism spectrum disorder. Interprofessional collaboration can allow practitioners to share their individualized background and lens with another field in order to mutually address client goals. This project sought to research current trends in the literature identifying collaboration between occupational therapy and applied behavior analysis, survey practitioners to better understand the benefits and barriers to collaboration in practice settings, and create a pathway to guide inter-professional collaboration between the two fields in the future. Results from a literature review indicated current trends in interprofessional collaboration, benefits to collaboration, and methods to improve future collaboration between the two fields. The survey gathered data from 54 respondents across both practice areas detailing their understanding of the other field, experience with interprofessional collaboration, and impact on client outcomes. The pathway guides occupational therapy and applied behavior analysis practitioners through four main steps to increase understanding and respect for the other field in order to ease collaboration. Results found that while current collaboration is lacking among both fields, it can greatly benefit client outcomes in each practice area. Indications for further research show that there is currently a lack of published literature outlining collaboration between occupational therapy and applied behavior analysis. Overall, interprofessional collaboration between occupational therapy and applied behavior analysis is currently lacking due to philosophical differences and misconceptions in the two fields. However, practitioner collaboration can provide a holistic view of a client and their needs, allowing goals to be addressed through shared practitioner knowledge. Interprofessional collaboration can be improved through increasing understanding of the other field, building mutual respect, discussing each practitioner’s view point and priorities, and focusing collaboration on supporting client outcomes.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

BP Lit Review Complete- Fairchild.pdf (90 kB)
Lit Review

BP Poster.pdf (141 kB)

Honors Thesis Reflection Paper- Fairchild.pdf (29 kB)

BP Poster.pptx.mp4 (19270 kB)