Credentials Display

Jennifer Merz, OTD, OTR/L; Bonnie Nakasuji, OTD, OTR/L, C/NDT, FAOTA; Kimberly Mollo, OTD, OTR/L


Background: Individuals with learning disabilities have higher rates of unemployment, are less likely to live independently, and have lower rates of college graduation. Occupational therapists who serve this population need to capture outcomes for programming effectively to determine best practice to address these needs. A retrospective documentation review of occupational therapy transition group programming was completed to identify themes and to assess fieldwork student documentation clarity.

Method: Analysis of 162 de-identified treatment notes from the years 2014–2018 was completed for six high school students (HSS) (13 to 20 years of age) who previously participated in a high school transition program for adolescents with disabilities. A five-phase analysis process consisted of: (a) review of all treatment notes to determine common areas of intervention; (b) provision of an initial peer debriefing session with one transition program licensed occupational therapist to confirm identified themes; (c) synthesis of HSS strengths/weaknesses; (d) analysis of the fieldwork students’ (FWS) documentation to determine clinical reasoning and clarity; and (e) follow-up peer debriefing with two transition program licensed occupational therapists to re-confirm all findings.

Results: Analysis suggested group transition programming was used to facilitate HSS development in the following areas: attention and group participation, social behaviors, abilities to serve as a leader, participation in group discussion, adherence to group rules, fine motor skills, bilateral coordination skills, and hand strength.

Conclusion: This retrospective analysis provides evidence that occupational therapy transition group programming is designed to facilitate smoother transitions for adolescents with disabilities in areas unique to occupational therapy practice. Analysis highlighted the need for more standardized methods of documentation for FWS and transition program occupational therapists.


The authors report no potential conflicts of interest.