Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health Related Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Dianne Koontz Lowman


A qualitative approach was used to explore the perspectives of seven parents of preschool age children with disabilities in Virginia regarding occupational therapy and the transition from early intervention (EI) to early childhood special education (ECSE). Open-ended interviews were used to collect data from each family participant and were presented as individual case reports. A cross-case analysis revealed six common categories and four overarching themes. Results indicated that the transition was viewed positively when parents saw benefits of the change and when they were oriented toward the future. Parents viewed the EI and ECSE systems as not sharing their same perspective on the transition. The role of the occupational therapist was viewed as dynamic and shifting in response to the needs of the child, the family and the system. Lastly, communication, involvement and relationships with the occupational therapist were intimately related. Implications for the field of occupational therapy are given.


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