Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Paula Rabaey

Second Advisor

Kristi Haertl

Third Advisor

Jessica Smith


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy


Over the past 20 years, there has been a continuous increase in the number of families choosing to homeschool their children, and a significant number of these families are homeschooling children with disabilities (Redford, Battle, & Bielick, 2017). Occupational therapists work with children who have disabilities in a variety of practice settings, including home-based, clinic-based, and school-based practice areas. However, there has been no research regarding the unique considerations of the lived experiences of homeschool families and occupational therapy services. The purpose of this pilot study was to explore the challenges and supports related to accessibility and utilization of occupational therapy services among parents who homeschool a child with a disability. A phenomenological qualitative research methodology was used to construct a set of focused and open-ended research questions. A total of five participants were recruited through purposive sampling via fliers distributed to facilitators of homeschool support groups who had their information available online. All interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim and then coded and analyzed in alignment with a phenomenological process. The findings of this study resulted in five themes which included: (1) you have a voice, (2) I had to fight for it, (3) pieces of the puzzle, (4) does this work at home, and (5) help is out there. The participants' experiences confirmed that there are many unique challenges that parents who homeschool a child with a disability face throughout their process of accessing and utilizing occupational therapy services. It is important for occupational therapists to be aware of these challenges in order to provide more family-centered services to this increasing segment of the population. Specific recommendations to OT include the importance of increasing awareness of services in primary care settings and the critical factor of including parents throughout the therapy process.