OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to investigate school-based occupational therapists’ knowledge of transition planning, their degree of participation in assessment and intervention of students requiring transition services, and to identify potential barriers limiting therapists’ participation in transition services.
METHOD. Using survey methods, a questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of therapists listed as members of the School System Special Interest Section of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Eighty therapists from all geographical regions within the continental United States and who identified themselves as working with students 13–21 years of age in an educational setting, participated in the study. The response rate was 20%.
RESULTS. The majority of participants reported that they understood the terminology associated with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1990 and the 1997 IDEA amendments definitions of transition planning at the secondary level, but were less likely to apply that knowledge to the transition planning process. The majority of therapists reported minimal participation in secondary education transition planning assessment and intervention for students with disabilities. Most respondents believed that they were not contributing to the transition planning process in a manner that maximized their skills, and identified several barriers that they believed hindered greater participation.
CONCLUSION. This pilot study suggests that occupational therapists may not be participating in transition services to their fullest potential. While the low response rate in this study precludes generalization, this information is important to guide further study as well as to shape efforts to increase occupational therapy’s role in this important service area within school-based practice.