Poster Session
Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
Occupational Therapist’s Perceptions of STEPS–K: A Response-to-Intervention Program
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / School-Based Practice / Basic Research
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
Occupational Therapist’s Perceptions of STEPS–K: A Response-to-Intervention Program
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011505104.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011505104.

Date Presented 4/7/2016

This poster presents the methods and finding of a qualitative study in which occupational therapists shared their reflections about participating in a new Tier 1 response-to-intervention program in general education kindergarten classrooms.

Primary Author and Speaker: Hannah Koelbl

Additional Authors and Speakers: Yelena Myman, Ann Claire Wuestefeld

Contributing Authors: Alisha M. Ohl, Beth K. Elenko

RESEARCH QUESTION: What were the experiences of occupational therapists who used the Specialized Enhancement of Teaching and Performance Skills for Kindergarteners (STEPS–K) response-to-intervention (RtI) program?
RATIONALE: STEPS–K is a 10-wk, Tier 1 RtI program designed to improve the fine motor and visual–motor integration skills of general education kindergarten students. RtI programs consist of three tiers of intervention that increase in intensity based on students’ needs. Tier 1 programs target classrooms as a whole, providing strategies to improve the academic success of all students. Student progress is monitored, and students having difficulty in the classroom are advanced to the next tier, which provides greater supports. A pilot study by Ohl et al. investigated the efficacy of Steps–K in improving the fine motor and visual–motor skills of general education kindergarten students. The study found that combining on-site intervention and consultation services with teacher-introduced fine motor centers at the beginning of the school year improved students’ fine motor and visual–motor integration skills.
PARTICIPANTS: Five occupational therapists who participated in the pilot study were recruited for this secondary qualitative study; additionally, 1 occupational therapist working in the Saint Paul public school system (who had requested the program after its publication) agreed to participate. All occupational therapists interviewed were seasoned therapists and had been working in a school setting for 5–15 yr.
METHOD: Six semistructured interviews were conducted by phone to collect narrative data. Researchers used a prepared list of relevant questions in order to guide the interviews.
ANALYSIS: To minimize subjectivity, interview data were reviewed and analyzed using a triangulated approach: making use of multiple investigators to shed light on a theme. Comments and codes were reviewed as a group in order to corroborate interpretations and identify potential subthemes. Codes and subthemes were refined by further review of interviews. Segments of interviews were categorized into distinct subthemes, allowing researchers to identify which occurred most commonly.
RESULTS: Knowledge exchange emerged as the overarching theme. This phenomenon of knowledge exchange was broken down to three primary subthemes that recurred most frequently. These subthemes are (1) “so I think the conversation is really important for both perspectives,” (2) camaraderie, and (3) creating the best fit.
DISCUSSION: Knowledge exchange highlighted how occupational therapists experienced collaboration during the implementation of STEPS–K. All three subthemes contributed to a sharing of knowledge. “So I think the conversation is important for both perspectives” describes reciprocal learning that allowed occupational therapists to integrate teachers’ perspectives into their treatment and enhanced the effectiveness of their interventions. This exchange also contributed to greater rapport and feeling of community among professionals that in turn lead to camaraderie. Camaraderie was exhibited by gains in professional understanding on both sides, leading to increased comfort during interactions between professionals. Camaraderie further encouraged knowledge exchange and implementation of the program in a way that was meaningful to children and classrooms. Occupational therapists encouraged program carryover into additional classrooms and subsequent school years by “creating the best fit.”
IMPACT STATEMENT: Knowledge exchange may have a positive impact on collaborative relationships. Collaboration allows program implementation that directly targets the needs of individual classes and students. Occupational therapists benefit from such insight when choosing programs for general education classrooms.