Deafness Occupational Therapy Support

Children with hearing loss can face a plethora of developmental challenges due to their hearing loss, many of which are exacerbated by low socioeconomic status (SES). The Deafness Occupational Therapy Support (DOTS) lab is newly-established this year in order to support the need for a student experiential learning clinic for school-aged children with hearing loss from traditionally underserved areas. The lab is partnering with Special School District in North St. Louis County with the possibility to expand to St. Louis City Public Schools.

General Description of Student Activities

DOTS lab members will experience both clinical and research opportunities with children with hearing loss. Clinical observations will take place at CID and may include 1:1 occupational therapy sessions, push-in classroom sessions, or occupational therapy-taught classes. Observation opportunities exist for fine motor, gross motor, sensory processing, behavioral support, executive dysfunction, social skills, psychosocial supports and teacher consultation.

Research activities in the DOTS lab include, but are not limited to, thorough literature review and seminar discussions on occupational performance factors affecting participation in children who are d/Deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH), cultural awareness and exploration of d/Deaf cultural richness, underlying neurocognitive skills related to occupational performance and participation struggles for children who are D/HH, and assessment administration and data collection.

Lab meetings will take place at CID, which is in walking distance from 4444 Forest Park Ave.

Examples of Projects

  • Sociodemographic factors and history of therapy in children who are d/Deaf
  • Needs assessment of occupational therapy support in the St. Louis region for children who are D/HH and from low SES backgrounds
  • Occupational justice factors related to children who are D/HH and low SES
  • Occupational needs of children who are D/HH and low SES


Sarah Cheatham Oberle, OTD, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Phone: (314) 977-0144 (CID office)

Ranked as the Number Three OT Program in the Nation