Award Date


Degree Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate


Brain Health

First Committee Member

Donnamarie Krause

Second Committee Member

Jefferson Kinney

Number of Pages



Among the many diagnoses affecting an individual’s ability to participate in occupation, strokes are among the most common (Tsao et al., 2022). With the decrease in mortality rates by 35.8% due to advancements in medicine (Wolf & Nilsen, 2015), there is a need to remediate, adapt, or modify the life-changing impairments associated with stroke. The most significant evidence for motor learning, which is associated with regaining function, is in relation to high-intensity training in the context of ambulation (Middleton et al., 2015; Moore et al., 2020). By utilizing the neural plastic principles of repetition, salience, task-specificity, and intensity, an individual who experienced a stroke has excellent potential to regain functional mobility (Fahey et al., 2022). Little evidence in the literature by occupational therapists leads to exploring how to use neural plastic principles to achieve motor learning within occupations. Instead of occupational therapists applying the research associated with motor learning, outdated approaches such as neurodevelopmental treatment and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation are taught and applied during occupation (Gillen, 2014). This capstone project aims to answer how to apply evidence-based research about high-intensity training during occupation. The project developed a pilot program that guides therapists on applying these principles of motor learning into occupation. Strategies were used to identify if they elevated the heart rate to meet the required amount for neural change and be classified as high intensity. The pilot program uses motor learning mechanisms, standard assessments, and a semi-structured approach to guide an occupational therapist to implement an evidence-based, evaluation-guided, and intensity-based intervention with individuals who experienced a stroke.

Controlled Subject

High-intensity interval training; Occupational therapy


Occupational Therapy

File Format


File Size

8089 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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