Building Better Teams: Impact of Education And Coaching Intervention on Interprofessional Collaboration Between Teachers and Occupational Therapists in Schools

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Most American school-based occupational therapy (SBOT) practitioners do not report utilizing research-supported collaborative models of therapy (Gallagher & Richards, 2020). The purpose of this quantitative, quasi-experimental study was to determine whether a 4-month-long training and coaching program could improve interprofessional collaboration skills, measured by pre- and post-self-scoring. Training and coaching content built upon theoretical foundations of Universal Design for Learning, where learning is intentionally designed to maximize access for all learners, and Distributed Cognition, where each group member contributes unique knowledge to the team. Interprofessional collaboration was operationalized into three discrete skills: communication, role perception, and conflict resolution. Research questions investigated whether training and coaching strategies could improve communication, role perception, and conflict resolution, measured by improved posttest scores. Sample consisted of 27 pairs of school-based occupational therapists and classroom teachers from central New Jersey. For data analysis, sum for each item pre and post was calculated then classified by variable. Paired-sample t-test determined whether sums showed significant differences. For communication, role perception, and conflict resolution, the paired sample t-test analysis revealed significance at.000. Participants’ self-reported scores showed statistically significant increase on all three variables. Overall, this study provided a precedent for potential effectiveness of longer-term training/coaching sequences to improve interprofessional collaboration for occupational therapists and teachers in school-based settings.

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Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, and Early Intervention

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