University of Illinois at Chicago | 2007 | M.S.
University of Illinois at Chicago | 2005 | B.S.
Downers Grove, IL
Dr. Kiraly-Alvarez has worked as an occupational therapist primarily with children, adolescents, and young adults in school-based settings. She holds three degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago, including a Bachelor of Science in Movement Sciences, a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, and a Doctor of Occupational Therapy. Her doctoral project focused on enhancing the clinical utility of the Pediatric Volitional Questionnaire (PVQ).
Dr. Kiraly-Alvarez has completed several research projects investigating various occupational therapy interventions with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in community-based settings. She has also explored the lived experience of culturally diverse groups of people. Her most recent scholarship has focused on exploring experiences and outcomes related to the OTD doctoral capstone. Dr. Kiraly-Alvarez has experience presenting at state, national, and international occupational therapy conferences. She is also an active volunteer for the Illinois Occupational Therapy Association (ILOTA) and American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), currently serving in the roles of ILOTA President, member of the AOTA Doctoral Capstone Coordinator Capstone Outcomes and Innovations Committee.
Dr. Kiraly-Alvarez joined Midwestern University in 2014 and has engaged in various teaching, fieldwork coordination, and student mentorship responsibilities. As the Director of Capstone Development, she oversees student Capstone Projects and Doctoral Internships.
In her free time, Dr. Kiraly-Alvarez's favorite occupations include biking, hiking, and camping with her husband and two dogs.
Downers Grove, IL
College of Health Sciences - IL
Course Director for the following courses:
OTHED 1790 – Capstone Development I
OTHED 1792 – Capstone Development II
OTHED 1785 & 1786 – Doctoral Internship
OTHED 1794 – Capstone Completion
OTHED 1740 – School-Based Practice
Research Mentor for the following courses:
OTHED 1510 – Critical Analysis of Evidence
OTHED 1512 – Research Project Development
OTHED 1610 – Research Project Implementation
OTHED 1612 – Research Project Synthesis
OTHED 1716 – Professional Writing
Life skills interventions for adolescents & young adults with I/DD
Research demonstrates that individuals with intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) do not participate in independent/supported living, post-secondary education, work/volunteer participation, and leisure and social participation to the same extent as their non-disabled peers. Although various life skills programs exist to address this issue, there are various gaps related to the ability of participants to apply what they learn into their everyday lives, the perspectives of the individuals who participate in these programs, and the roles of OTs within these programs. My research interests include exploring the skills and environmental supports that best prepare adolescents and young adults with I/DD to live successful, meaningful, and fulfilled lives as adults. I am interested in exploring these factors in order to develop a life skills curriculum that could be used in school or community settings with this population.
Cultural influence on occupations
Culture is so important in defining the occupations in which we engage, how we perform them, and how we experience them. In a multicultural society, it is essential that occupational therapy practitioners consider the cultures of their clients so that they can best understand and address their clients' needs. Although culture encompasses much a multitude of factors, my research interests focus primarily on ethnic and religious diversity and include: 1) further examining the experiences of culturally diverse individuals or groups with whom occupational therapists work, and 2) investigating the effectiveness of culturally sensitive interventions to promote occupational performance and participation for culturally diverse populations. It is my hope that this research can contribute to the body of knowledge on applying concepts of cultural humility into OT practice.
Kiraly-Alvarez, A. F. (2020). Leisure life. In K. Bryze (Ed.), Occupational therapy for adults with intellectual disabilities. Slack, Inc.
Mahoney, W. J., & Kiraly-Alvarez, A. F. (2019). Challenging the status quo: Infusing non-Western ideas into occupational therapy education and practice. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 7(3), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.15453/2168-6408.1592
Kiraly-Alvarez, A., McCoy, J., Wallingford, M. (Editors). (2019). Recommended practices for occupational and physical therapy services in Illinois schools. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Board of Education. Retrieved from https://www.isbe.net/Documents/occupational_therapy.pdf
Costello, P. & Kiraly-Alvarez, A. (2019). Understanding the entry-level OTD capstone components. ILOTA Communique, 1, 1-5.
Kiraly-Alvarez, A. (2017). Developing a life skills program to address functional needs of middle school students with disabilities. AOTA SIS Quarterly Practice Connections, 2(2), 2-4.
Kiraly-Alvarez, A. (2015). Assessing volition in pediatrics: Using the Volitional Questionnaire and the Pediatric Volitional Questionnaire. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 3(3), Article 7. http://dx.doi.org/10.15453/2168-6408.1176
Illinois Occupational Therapy Association
American Occupational Therapy Association
World Federation of Occupational Therapists
Bryze, K., & Kiraly-Alvarez, A. (2016, July – 2018, May). Impact of adaptive occupation on the performance of daily life tasks of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (MWU IRB #2876). Midwestern University CHS Research Facilitation Grant (Funded, $3533).
Midwestern University 5-Year Service Award
AOTA Credentialed Leader in Academia