Since 1985, the Tufts University–Boston School of Occupational Therapy has experimented with a service model for Level I fieldwork that uses independent living skills (ILS) groups. Under the off-site supervision of the course instructor and a Level I coordinator, students taking an Advanced Group Process course have run ILS groups in community agencies using faculty- and staff-developed group protocols. Populations served have included adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities, adults with psychosocial dysfunction, well geriatric adults, and single mothers. The response of area clinicians has been very positive—the number of settings willing to accept students for this experience has more than doubled since the ILS groups have been introduced. This approach to Level I fieldwork, which does not require as much faculty time as do other service models currently in use, could be applied to other Level I experiences and provide a structure for expanding occupational therapy into nontraditional community settings.

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