Research Article
Issue Date: March/April 2021
Published Online: January 25, 2021
Updated: February 12, 2021
Perceptions of Assistive Technology Education From Occupational Therapists Certified as Assistive Technology Professionals
Author Affiliations
  • Karen M. Dishman, OTD, OTR, ATP, is Interim Chair, Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, and Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Department, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville; kmdishman1@usi.edu
  • Julie Duckart, PhD, OTR/L, is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond.
  • Leslie J. Hardman, OTD, OTR/L, is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond.
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 25, 2021
Perceptions of Assistive Technology Education From Occupational Therapists Certified as Assistive Technology Professionals
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 2021, Vol. 75, 7502205110. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2021.041541
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 2021, Vol. 75, 7502205110. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2021.041541
Abstract

Importance: Missing from the recent literature is information about specific categories of assistive technology (AT) education provided in entry-level occupational therapy curricula.

Objective: To examine occupational therapists’ perceptions of the AT education received in occupational therapy entry-level programs, specifically the AT categories in which therapists received training.

Design: Quantitative survey study with Likert-scale, multiple-choice, or ordinal ranking-scale questions and three open-response questions. Format was a web-based Qualtrics survey tool; participants had approximately 2 mo to respond.

Participants: Occupational therapists certified as Assistive Technology Professionals (ATPs) were recruited through the Rehabilitation and Engineering Society of North America email database (response rate of 21%; N = 148).

Outcomes and Measures: Outcomes may contribute to determining what categories of AT are missing from occupational therapy entry-level curricula and what further education is needed to develop competency.

Results: Occupational therapists with ATP certification did not perceive their entry-level curricula as having adequately prepared them in the AT categories of technology for learning disabilities (67%), computer access (57%), augmentative and alternative communication (57%), and accessible transportation (52%).

Conclusions and Relevance: This study supports the need for occupational therapy entry-level programs to reexamine the categories and amount of AT training they currently provide. Future research with a larger and more generalized sample could provide more detailed evidence of which AT categories should be provided.

What This Article Adds: This article provides evidence that to use AT in intervention, entry-level occupational therapists require increased training in specific AT categories.