Date Presented 03/31/2022

OTs working in early intervention (EI) under Part C of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, were surveyed regarding their satisfaction with preparation, confidence, and knowledge about using literacy to support young children and their families. The information gained in this study is hoped to provide a base for understanding OT’s preparedness in early childhood literacy to understand our role in literacy and where additional training may be needed for OTs to support children’s and their families’ advance in literacy skills.

Primary Author and Speaker: Bobbi Carrlson

Contributing Authors: Casey Ozaki

The purpose of this study was to explore the satisfaction of education, knowledge, and confidence of OTs working in EI to support children and their families to improve early childhood literacy skills. In the past few years, an emphasis on OTs contribution to literacy in schools has been ramping up, and the development of literacy is an integral part of providing services under IDEA Part C, for which OT can be a primary provider. However, while skills OTs learn in schools are often associated and aligned with literacy concepts, it is not a direct connection required by ACOTE 2018 Education standards. Also, little is known about how OTs working in EI view their competencies to address the development of literacy. Therefore, the primary research questions for this study include 1. How satisfied are OT practitioners with their academic preparation pertaining to pre-literacy, emergent literacy, and early literacy content areas? 2. How satisfied are OTs working in early intervention with their Fieldwork training regarding addressing literacy with children and their families? 3. How do OTs working in early intervention rate their knowledge on skills and phases of literacy? How confident are OTs working in early intervention to address literacy concepts and skills? This study was a non-experimental survey design. Inclusion criteria were licensed occupational therapists currently working with children and families under Part C of IDEA. Purposive and snowball sampling procedures were used. Emails were sent to Part C representatives for all 50 states and an invitation to participate in the survey was posted on CommunOT with a request to forward to other OTs working in EI under IDEA Part C. Data was collected via a survey using a Likert type 5 point scale. The six-section survey was developed to gather information on demographics, satisfaction with academic learning, satisfaction with fieldwork experiences, perceived knowledge of early literacy, where knowledge was obtained, and perceived confidence of occupational therapy practitioners to address literacy. Data were analyzed using descriptive analysis, one-way ANOVA, Spearman Correlations, and Regressions. Results show that occupational therapists reported being somewhat unsatisfied with their academic preparation to address the concept of early childhood literacy in all three identified phases (pre-literacy, emergent literacy, and early literacy) along with skills associated with each phase. OTs reported their knowledge of skills associated with all phases of early childhood literacy as being good or very good. They reported gaining knowledge primarily through on-the-job, informal learning, followed by self-directed continued education, OT continuing education, and EI specific continuing education. Participants reported getting the lowest knowledge and benefit from their academic education. OTs reported being somewhat confident in addressing the concept of literacy in the phases of pre-literacy and emergent literacy while they were confident addressing early literacy. Confidence to address early literacy was significantly correlated, between p<.05 to p<.001 with age, years of experience, and years in EI. Regressions to predict confidence are continuing to be analyzed. This proposal is important to the profession of occupational therapy as it provides information on how prepared OTs feel to address early childhood literacy and associated skills. Through this knowledge, academic programs and early intervention providers will be able to provide experiences to improve OTs ability to address and support early childhood literacy development.


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