Julie Anderson, DrOT, OTR/L, an occupational therapist in a school district in Puyallup, Washington was seeking research to support the students in her district who require additional support for their social and emotional development. She requested occupational therapy graduate students from the University of Puget Sound to research the following question: “What is the current evidence for schoolwide social skills curricula that are implemented in an elementary school for children in kindergarten through sixth grade with diverse needs?” A systematic review of the literature resulted in 31 studies indicating a wide range of schoolwide social skills curricula that yield positive impacts on the social and emotional development of elementary students. Strong evidence is indicated for general education students. However, the evidence is limited, yet promising for the effectiveness of schoolwide social skills curricula for students with special needs, low socioeconomic status, and those who are at-risk for emotional and behavioral disorders.

To translate this knowledge, an inservice of strategies and themes from the three most researched social skills curricula was created for a group of occupational therapists from the Puyallup School District. Based on feedback from the inservice, an extended online presentation was developed to provide a resource for occupational therapists and other school-based professionals. Outcome effectiveness was measured with an exit survey and a follow-up survey completed by the occupational therapists who attended the inservice. It is recommended that school-based occupational therapists familiarize themselves with the strategies from schoolwide social skill curricula provided in the online presentation for future implementation with their students with diverse needs.

Publication Place

Tacoma, Washington


University of Puget Sound

Project Chairperson

Renee Watling, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Publication Date



Capstone Project





Degree Program

Occupational Therapy

Degree Level

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy


University of Puget Sound