Evidence to Inform Occupational Therapy Intervention With Adults With Intellectual Disability: A Scoping Review

Am J Occup Ther. 2021 May 1;75(3):7503180010. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2021.043562.


Importance: Occupational therapy practitioners use a range of habilitative and compensatory approaches to teach new skills or modify tasks and environments to address occupational performance among adults with intellectual disability (ID); therefore, they must identify and use available evidence to guide intervention planning.

Objective: To summarize the scope of evidence that can inform occupational therapy intervention with adults with primary or comorbid ID.

Data sources: Articles published in peer-reviewed journals between January 2002 and January 2018 and indexed in PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Scopus. Study Selection and Data Collection: A total of 159 articles met inclusion criteria and contained information on occupational therapy intervention with adults ages 18 yr or older with primary or coexisting ID.

Findings: Fifty-seven of the 159 articles focused on intervention to address occupational performance outcomes (i.e., employment, self-care, leisure and social interaction, community participation).

Conclusions and relevance: A wide range of literature is available to support occupational therapy intervention with adults with ID. Occupational therapy practitioners may be less knowledgeable about this evidence because much of it is located in non-occupational therapy or international journals. What This Article Adds: This scoping review provides occupational therapy practitioners with evidence to support high-quality occupational therapy intervention with adults with ID.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Employment
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability*
  • Leisure Activities
  • Occupational Therapy*