Working With Clients With Limited English Proficiency: Mapping Language Access in Occupational Therapy

Occup Ther Health Care. 2018 Apr;32(2):105-123. doi: 10.1080/07380577.2018.1434722. Epub 2018 Feb 20.


Nearly one in ten US residents have difficulty speaking and understanding English and are deemed to have limited English proficiency (LEP). Despite federal mandates for provision of interpreters and other language access services, individuals with LEP experience notable health disparities. Occupational therapists must be prepared to equitably serve this population, however there is a dearth of research evidence and practical recommendations about our profession's readiness to serve this growing population. This paper maps the current healthcare policy environment and existing language access research relevant to occupational therapy. Implications for the future of occupational therapy research, education and practice are discussed.

Keywords: Diversity; cultural competence; healthcare policy; language access; limited English proficiency; occupational therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Competency*
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Occupational Therapy*
  • Translating
  • United States