Credentials Display

Heather L. Panczykowski, DHSc., OTR/L; Lynne F. Murphy, EdD., OTR/L; Victoria Christmas, MSOT, OTR/L; Whitley Macintyre, MSOT, OTR/L


Background: Universal Design for Learning (UDL), an educational framework that describes flexible approaches to teaching and learning, can be used to address problems related to limitations in health literacy in health care settings.

Methods: This exploratory observational study, using a web-based online survey, was undertaken to discern how occupational therapists use the principles of UDL in educating their clients and to determine if differences exist between degree type or practice settings and UDL implementation.

Results: Of the 147 respondents only 30.6% indicated prior awareness of UDL principles. The most frequently cited means of client engagement were displaying enthusiasm and emphasizing importance of content; the most frequently cited means of representation was providing verbal instructions, and the most frequent means of action and expression was observing client performance or demonstration.

Conclusions: There is a clear need to increase both academic preparation and continuing education of occupational therapists to implement evidence-based principles of UDL to address diverse client health literacy and facilitate positive health outcomes. Opportunities for increased UDL implementation are discussed, building on the commitment of current therapists to meet the needs of their clients.


The authors declare that they have no competing financial, professional, or personal interest that might have influenced the performance or presentation of the work described in this manuscript.