Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Stephanie de Sam Lazaro


Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Best practice for occupational therapy in the school setting has evolved due to updated AOTA recommendations and legal mandates. The current literature identifies inclusive and collaborative practice as the best framework, but there is a knowledge-to-practice gap between research findings and how OT is practiced in the school. This paper outlines the background on the issue of OT service delivery in the school setting, and the methodology and results of a quality improvement project with Zumbro Education District (ZED) in southeast Minnesota. The purpose of the quality improvement project is to educate stakeholders about the role of OT and best practice in schools within ZED in order to facilitate greater interprofessional collaboration. An educational presentation was created to educate administrators and special education coordinators from ZED’s member districts. Minnesota OT practice guidelines and the OT practice framework informed the content of the presentation, and interviews with special education coordinators and OTs from the region informed the format and educational methods used to create the final product. Several prompts were embedded into the presentation to gather data regarding the participants’ level of awareness about OT practice and the effectiveness of the educational content. The presentation was sent to approximately fifteen potential participants, and four had responded at the time the paper was developed. Responses implied that ongoing education is needed in order to support best practices. OT teams should meet regularly with coordinators, administrators, educators, and other members of the interdisciplinary team to maintain an open dialogue to clarify roles in the school community. Peer and community support are essential to supporting the adoption and maintenance of best practices in the school system.