Importance: Engaging and pulling up a zipper is a functional skill needed by young children.
Objective: To compare the efficacy of a standard zippering teaching vest presented with general verbal prompts to a modified zippering teaching vest presented with a related story and vocabulary among typically developing preschoolers.
Design: An experimental, two-group, pre–post design.
Setting: A local preschool.
Participants: Fifty preschoolers ages 3 yr, 6 mo to 4 yr, 11 mo were recruited.
Intervention: Eligible children received three zippering practice sessions from occupational therapy and speech-language pathology graduate students supervised by faculty; either a standard (control group) or modified (comparison group) zippering teaching vest was used.
Outcomes and Measures: Individual sessions were video recorded. We coded data using a score of 2, 1, or 0, indicating degree of success through seven zippering steps. Using IBM SPSS Statistics (Version 26) for analysis, we conducted independent t tests to compare measures between the two groups.
Results: Each cohort consisted of 14 preschoolers (N = 28); 252 separate zippering trials were analyzed. Pretrial zippering ability demonstrated no initial differences. Results indicate that both groups advanced their skills with added practice; however, the comparison group performed statistically significantly better than the control group, beginning with the second set of interventions.
Conclusions and Relevance: Beginning with a second exposure to a novel instructional method, preschoolers increased their success by completing more of the seven identified steps of zippering than those receiving traditional input. This study demonstrates the ability of occupational therapy–speech-language pathology partnerships to create innovative treatments that facilitate occupationally based skill acquisition.
What This Article Adds: This article adds evidence supporting the use of a modified practice zippering vest with added visual and language cues to teach zippering skills to occupational therapy clients.