Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

John Fleming


Doctor of Occupational Therapy


The number of students in the United States who fall below grade level reading proficiency is staggering (Grajo, 2019). The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) reports that sixty- five percent of fourth graders and sixty- six percent of eighth graders are reading below grade level in America (NAE, 2019). Children with disabilities have even worse statistics regarding reading proficiency. The National Center for Learning Disabilities reports that eighty-five percent of students with specific learning disabilities fall below basic levels of literacy (Grajo, 2019). Literacy is defined as the ability to read, write, speak, and listen. (Schneck, 2019). Reading proficiency is required to participate in daily life occupations and engage in the community effectively (Grajo & Candler, 2017). Children who are not proficient in reading by third grade are more likely to do poorly in school, drop out in high school, and have higher rates of teenage pregnancy and incarceration (Hernandez, 2012).

Occupational therapy practitioners can help children with reading difficulties through visual perception interventions. Visual Perception is a complex process of taking in visual stimuli and organizing and interpreting it for higher cognitive functions. Visual perception skills can impact a child’s ability to read and participate in the academic environment (Schneck,2019). A large percentage of learning that occurs in the school is through our vision. Occupational therapy practitioners in the school setting help students participate in the school environment with academic and non-academic performance including social skills, literacy, math, self-help, recess, participation in extracurricular activities, pre-vocational and vocational skills, transportation and more (AOTA, 2020). This project will provide occupational therapy practitioners knowledge of an evidence-based practice intervention for addressing reading improvement for children that will increase their participation in the academic environment.