Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Rachel Diamant, PhD, OTR/L, BCP


The purpose of this Capstone research project was to examine the impact of intentional play as a means to increase emotional self-regulation skills in children with traumatic histories and explore how Occupational therapists (OTs) can use such strategies while working with this population. The research was conducted at an emergency children’s shelter and consisted of an educational component for staff and direct contact with the children. Eight staff members participated, and data was gathered on 22 children (N=22) over a span of five weeks. An outcome measurement adapted from the Short Child Occupational Profile (citation needed) was used to obtain the average mean changes within the overall shelter population, the three age groups in the shelter (i.e., Tiny Tots, Middlers, Big Kids), and the four domains of the outcome measurement (e.g., Volition, Habituation, Communication & Interaction, and Environment). A t- test was completed a 95% confidence interval. Outcomes indicated significant change in the “Tiny Tots House” age bracket (birth to 3 years) and the “Big Kids House” age bracket (6 to 10 years) at p < .05. Clinically significant data outcomes were found in the domains of Volition and Communication & Interaction. The outcomes can inform OT practice by demonstrating the potential benefits of incorporating intentional play strategies with children with traumatic histories as a conduit to increase emotional self-regulation skills.