Research Projects

Professional Program in Occupational Therapy Student Research Projects

Summer / Fall 2012

Led by Jane Bear-Lehman, Associate Professor and Department Chair, the two-semester course sequence, E40.2724 Occupational Therapy Research: Project Design (Summer 2012) and E40.2725 Occupational Therapy Research (Fall 2012) combined lectures and laboratory sessions with faculty sponsored group research projects. The following is a listing of the 2012 research projects.

1.  Qualitative Study on the Effect of Homework and Stress on Families of Children with Autism

Faculty Mentor: Jim Hinojosa
Students: Allison Gottlieb, Eve Greenfield, Shirah Moses, & Katherine Tietz

Homework is an activity that most school-age children are expected to participate in at their homes after school. For children with disabilities, this may include a home treatment program. Homework is also a common activity in which parent-child friction occurs. The focus of this study was on the experiences and perceptions of parents and siblings about homework and/or home treatment programs and their influences on family life. The goal of this study was to describe and understand how they engage and participate in homework/home treatment.

Students began by identifying a specific group of children between the ages of 8 and 11 years. After deciding on the disability, students worked in pairs to find two families with a child with the disability to interview. Each parent was interviewed twice. After conducting each interview, it was transcribed verbatim and then analyzed.

2.  Attitudes and Views Occupational Therapists Have Towards Post-Professional Education

Mentor: Ginelle John
Students: Teresa Bailey, Ashley Han, Rifka Miltz, & Sharon Yi

New York University’s Professional Program in Occupational Therapy has consistently been ranked among the top 10 entry-level OT programs in the United States. In addition to applying to NYU’s MSOT program, many of our students have applied and have been accepted to other top ranked OT programs. The goal of this study was to examine the reasons why MSOT students choose to pursue their degree at NYU.

 This short web based survey was administered to 1st and 2nd year students in the entry-level program. This study examined what aspects/areas of the admissions and registration process students found helpful and what areas could be improved.

3.  Qualitative Study on Parental Feeding Experience with Young Children in Hispanic Cultures


Faculty Mentors: Tsu-Hsin Howe & Jim Hinojosa
Students: Theresa Baling, Chloe Garcia-Cruz, & Alexa Rosenburg

Feeding is one of the most important occupations for infants and is influenced by cultural beliefs and practices. An awareness of the infant feeding practices of any ethnic group is required in order to design and implement effective feeding intervention strategies targeted at infants of that particular ethnic group.

The primary objective of the study was to learn about the feeding experience of families from various ethnic groups. We explored information on breast-feeding versus bottle feeding, the timing of introducing supplementary foods, primary and secondary sources of information about recommendations for infant feeding, and dietary intake for young children.

Students were responsible to identify four Hispanic families who had a child (or children) less than 5 years of age. Students interviewed participants using an interview guide provided by research mentors. Students then transcribed the interviews they had conducted and used qualitative strategies to analyze each interview. As part of this project, students completed a literature review specific to their research question and used ATLAS software to analyze the qualitative data. Students were expected to lean the ATLAS software for the data coding and comparative analysis.

4.  The Relationship between Feeding Problems and Parental Stress Index in Pre-term Infants Under 2-Years Old

Faculty Mentor: Tsu-Hsin Howe
Students: Lille Coston, Kristin Gulmi, Atara Joel, & Aliya Naqvi

For parents of preterm infants, the stress of adjusting to the situation of premature birth is overwhelming. Many studies reported that parents with preterm infants tend to demonstrate greater depression and increased anxiety than the parents of full-term infants. One area these parents often struggle with is feeding. Compared with full-term infants, an estimated 31% to 45% of preterm infants experience feeding difficulties for the first two years of life.

There is a paucity of literature describing preterm infants’ feeding problems over time. Most of the studies investigating preterm infants’ feeding problems after hospital discharge have been conducted using a highly specific type of preterm infants who were treated in a special feeding clinic rather than a home-based sample. Clinicians have little evidence about which early feeding issues will resolve, and which ones will become problematic. Specific recommendations given by clinicians to parents are thus limited. The primary objective of the study was to explore the present feeding issues of preterm infants after hospitalization in the first two years of life.

In this project, students were responsible for recruiting 20 mothers who had babies with a history of prematurity and who were under the age of 2 years. Prematurity is defined as gestational age ≤ 37 weeks. Students let each participant complete two questionnaires: a behavioral-based feeding questionnaire and the parental stress index. Students then analyzed the results of these two questionnaires to explore the possible relationship between feeding problems and parental stress index.

5.  The Get Ready to Learn (GRTL) Program for Adolescents with Disabilities: Determining a Checklist with Inter-rater Reliability for Executive Functioning

Faculty Mentor:  Kristie P Koenig
Clinical Mentor: Anne Buckley Reen
Students: Lila Chess, Henrietta Li, Stephanie Lopez, & Jesse McCormack

Students expanded an ongoing project that assesses the efficacy of the GRTL program. A pre-post test design was used to assess specific student behaviors related to focus, attention, and executive function after participating in a daily yoga program. Students rated behaviors via videotape or direct observation during the GRTL program, coding behaviors of time on task and amount of redirection required, with the goal to assess how students’ attention and focus was impacted after a 20 minute daily yoga program. Students were required to develop the code sheet in the summer, establish interrater reliability, and then apply it to either direct and/or video observations of the behaviors during structured classroom activities.  

6. The Correlation between Sensory Processing and Executive Functioning in Preschool-aged Children with Sensory Processing Disorder

Faculty Mentor: Kristie P Koenig 
Clinical Mentor: Robbie Levy

Students: Shoshana Miller & Aliza Zaret

Students continued a project in conjunction with Robbie Levy, owner of Dynamic Kids, a private practice specializing in sensory integration in White Plains, NY. Occupational therapists assume that use of "Heavy work" i.e. proprioceptive-based activities (push/pull/exercise/weighted activities, etc.) for children with disabilities are calming, organizing, and improve attention to task. Students used a rating sheet that was developed this past year with established interrater reliability and applied it to a preschool population at Dynamic Kids. Students used this protocol to evaluate the fidelity of intervention of heavy work at the clinic and assessed the impact of heavy work on executive function and self-regulation from parent and teacher ratings. This was done in conjunction with a Level I fieldwork experience at Dynamic kids and with input from their clinical and academic mentor. Students collected the parent and teacher ratings, entered it in a database, and analyzed the data to assess impact of heavy work on executive function.

7.  Executive Dysfunction and Emotional Reactivity in Pediatric Autism and Bipolar Populations

Faculty Mentor: Gerald Voelbel
Students: Ashley Carr, Elizabeth Greenebaum, & Lauren Menino

The purpose of this project was to examine the relationship between measures of executive function and parent rating scales of their child's behavior. The project included analyzing data from a large data set to investigate the influence executive dysfunction has on the disruptive behaviors in children with Autistic or Asperger's Disorder. The students worked on analyzing this data throughout the summer and met with Dr. Voelbel frequently about the data and the results. 

8.  Effects of Cognitive Reserve and Age on Cognitive Impairment in Chronic Substance Abusers

Faculty Mentor: Gerald Voelbel
Students: Viktoriya Dolzhanskaya, Maya Mardechayev, & Beth Salzman

The purpose of this project was to examine the relationship of cognitive deficits to the quality of life in heavy chronic alcohol and substance users. The project included analyzing data from a longitudinal data set to investigate the influence cognitive deficits have on quality of life after individuals enter addictions treatment. The students worked on analyzing this data throughout the summer and met with Dr. Voelbel about the data and the results frequently.

9.  What are NYU Occupational Therapy Student's Perceptions and Values on Implementing a Service-Learning Course?

Faculty Mentor: Karen Buckley
Students: Jessica Ng, Erika Osayande, Jasmine Tagorda, & Carmen Yau

This study reviewed publications and research studies (evidence) in the United States relating to different service learning models from nursing and the allied health professions. Students completed an annotated bibliography of the top ten experiences reviewed.

10.  An Annotated Bibliography of Psychological Reactions Following Traumatic Hand Injuries

Faculty Mentor: Sally Poole
Students: Jacqueline Atrio, Rebecca Berlin, & Ritu Shah

The eventual goal set was to do the Impact of Event Scale with four different hand injuries to see if there is a difference in how patients experience the injury. For example, do people with tendon injuries have a more difficult time than those with nerve lacerations? Prior to that, a systematic review of the literature looking at "psychological/stress reactions of patients with traumatic hand injuries" was carried out. The goal was to see what the literature says in general and if there are differences noted depending on diagnosis.

11.  An Exploration of Current Occupational Therapy Practices Using the Wii Console

Faculty Mentor: Anita Perr
Students: Jessica Binstock, Kaylan Holston, Corinne Ozbek, & Sarah Suffir

Certain technologies, like cell phones, Wii and other games, and iPads and other tablets, are ubiquitous in today’s society. It is unclear how occupational therapists use these technologies in their work. The thorough literature review included an investigation of the most common popular technologies and therapy approaches, as well as an investigation of whether a usable survey exists. This group decided to either develop a survey or use an existing survey to collect data about specific technologies being used in occupational therapy and how occupational therapists are using the technologies in their clinical practice and in the management of their practice.

12.  Current Trends in Assistive Technology Education in Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Curricula

Faculty Mentor: Anita Perr
Students: Katie Calabro & Brienna Maier

Certain technologies, like cell phones, Wii and other games, and iPads and other tablets, are ubiquitous in today’s society. OTs and COTAs use such technologies in their practices. It is important that occupational therapy education meet the needs of practitioners as technologies change. This project’s goal was to determine how the use of such technologies is taught in entry-level occupational therapy programs. Using the 2012 ACOTE Standards as well as literature in the field, students developed a brief survey meant for a representative of entry-level occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant programs in the US to complete. The survey was then used with a small group of programs to determine its potential use with a larger population.

13.  Measuring Thumb Opposition Using the Hareau Goniometer

Clinical Mentor: Pamela Lawton
Students: Allison Yaros & Cheryl Zeffren

The traditional method of using a ruler to measure the completion of thumb opposition is the primary method therapists rely on to document and to chart progress for those who have impaired thumb movement at the CMC joint. A new tool has been designed and is being marketed to measure thumb opposition. This inquiry looks at the utility of this new tool on a sample of patients who have expressed injuries affecting their CMC joints and are undergoing treatment in NYC. Students participated in Level 1 fieldwork to enhance data collection.

14.  Use of Weighted Vests among Pediatric Occupational Therapists

Ph.D Candidate Mentor: Sarah Rudney
Students: Catherine Daab, Liz FineSmith, Kunjamma Varghese, & Hope Whalen

Weighted and deep pressure vests are used by pediatric occupational therapists in a variety of settings and with a variety of patient populations, targeting a multitude of behaviors. There are no set guidelines on how they should be utilized in practice and the literature supporting their use is varied. For this exploratory study, students created and implemented a survey for pediatric occupational therapists to gain information on how many therapists currently use weighted and deep pressure vests, how they are being used, and for what patient population they are being used with. 

15.  Inter- and Intra-rater Reliability of Goniometric and Ruler Measurements of Metacarpophalangeal Joint Hyperextension

PhD Candidate Mentor: Siaw Chui Chai
Students: Grace Chen and Natasha Milard

This cross-sectional study aimed to evaluate the intra-rater and inter-rater reliability of finger goniometer and ruler methods for measuring hyperextension of the metacapophalangeal joints (MCPJs). The study recruited a sample of 50 convenient subjects on NYU campus. Hyperextension of the MCPJs is one of the most difficult motions to measure. A finger goniometer is currently the standard measuring method. Ruler method was a new method proposed by the research mentor of this study based on the trigonometric principle.

16.  Measuring the Effect of Cognitive Therapy on Adults with Multiple Sclerosis

PhD Candidate Mentor: Jennifer Kalina
Students: Talia Esral, Christopher Ho, Idamar Jorge, & Ariella Lipetz

Cognitive impairments are difficult to evaluate due to resource restraints and therefore, clinicians often rely on clients’ self-report of their cognitive functioning. The aim of this study was to examine if there are any discrepancies between a client’s subjective reports of cognitive improvement compared to objective cognitive performance improvements on standardized measurements, after a structured MS cognitive rehabilitation program.

17.  The Influence of Maternal Postpartum Psychological Factors on Attachment Outcomes in Preterm Infants: A Systematic Review

Ph.D Candidate Mentor: Chien-Ying Yang
Students: Gillian Aftel & Kristen Spurlock

Preterm infants differ developmentally from full-term infants and possess behavioral characteristics that may cause them to be more difficult partners in mother-child interactions. A variety of factors including both infant’s status and maternal characteristics could influence interactions between premature infants and their mothers, such as infants’ temperament, sensory sensitivity, and/or material psychological distress and so on.

Thus, this literature review was aimed to identify and synthesize research articles in order to understand risk factors that influence mother-infant interaction associated with preterm infants. This study relied on printed source material and followed a systematic review format to determine what is known in the current research.

18.  The Role of Occupational Therapy in Artistic Aging

Faculty Mentor: Jane Bear-Lehman
Students: Lisa Golshani, Karen Hon, Elisha Omar, & Arlene Yu

19.  Program Evaluation: Impressions of How NYU Program Prepared Recent OT Graduates for Entry in the Work Place

Faculty Mentors: Karen Buckley & Sally Poole
Students: Christine Conlon, Dana Howe, & Andrew Nguyen

This study aimed to survey the last three years of OT graduates to collect and understand their impressions of how NYU OT prepared them for work. This study is done every three years and is required by our accreditation body (ACOTE, American Council of Occupational Therapy Education).


 

Fall 2011

Led by Jane Bear-Lehman, Associate Professor and Department Chair, the two-semester course sequence, E40.2724 Occupational Therapy Research: Project Design (Summer 2011) and E40.2725 Occupational Therapy Research (Fall 2011) combined lectures and laboratory sessions with faculty sponsored group research projects. The following is a listing of the 2011 research projects.

Study: The Value of Clinical Doctorate.

Faculty Mentors: Sally Poole and Jane Bear-Lehman
Students: Dori Goldman & Teresa Nydegger

As of 2007, an earned master’s degree in the field of occupational therapy is required for the credential to practice occupational therapy in the US. To date, nine educational programs in the US offer an entry level clinical occupational therapy doctorate, and many more offer a post professional doctorate: research or clinical for practicing occupational therapists. In addition to the professional MS program in OT, NYU OT offers three post-professional educational programs for practicing therapists: MA program, DPS (a clinical doctorate) and a PhD (research/scholar). 

Students were seeking to gain an appreciation of the perceptions of currently enrolled occupational therapy students about furthering their education beyond their current program.  Specifically: (1) what the motivating factors would be to continue their schooling; (2) what the perceived opportunities and barriers might be; (3) what their thoughts were regarding staying for an additional year of schooling versus returning to school after a suggested amount of time to earn a doctoral degree; and (4) what type(s) of doctoral programs would be of interest: part-time, full-time, content arena of interest. 

Study: The Effect of Yoga Therapy on Cognitive and Social Abnormalities in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Implications for the Get Ready to Learn (GRTL) Program.

 Faculty Mentor: Kristie P Koenig  
Clinical Mentor: Anne Buckley Reen
Students: Annie Choi, Kathleen Kinnavy, & Sabrina Metzger

Students expanded an ongoing project that assesses the efficacy of the GRTL program. A single subject design was used to assess the progress of 3 students that have multiple disabilities in the GRTL program. Students rated behaviors via videotape or direct observation during the GRTL program, coding behaviors of self-initiated movement, direction following and sequence of movements, with the goal to assess how quickly students with significant disabilities are able to initiate the program and carry out the motor actions.

Study: The Impact of Heavy Work on Children's Organization and Self-regulation.

Faculty Mentor: Kristie P Koenig
Clinical Mentor: Robbie Levy
Students: Rena Adler & Hayley Schiller

Students developed a project in conjunction with Robbie Levy, owner of Dynamic Kids, a private practice specializing in sensory integration in White Plains, NY. Occupational therapists assume that use of "Heavy work" i.e. proprioceptive based activities (push/pull/exercise/weighted activities, etc.) for children with disabilities are calming, organizing and improve attention to task.

Students developed a possible protocol for heavy work both for clinic-based sessions and a home program, based on a comprehensive literature review on the use of heavy work and observations of heavy work. This was done in conjunction with a Level I fieldwork experience at Dynamic kids and with input from their clinical and academic mentor. The "heavy work" clinic and home protocol was done with selected children. Students conducted interviews with the treating therapists and parents to assess what elements/activities worked in the clinic and as a home program, and what elements/activities needed to be modified for the final intervention protocol, which may be used in future research projects.  Preference was given to students who were interested in Level 1 fieldwork at the site in addition to research.

Study: Hispanic Mother’s Reported Feeding Experience.

 Faculty Mentors: Tsu-Hsin Howe and Jim Hinojosa
Students: Jeyser Chavarria, katherine Passias, & Susan Paul

Feeding is one of the most important occupations for infants and is influenced by cultural beliefs and practices. An awareness of the infant feeding practices of any ethnic group is needed to be able to design and implement effective feeding intervention strategies targeted at infants of that particular ethnic group.

The primary objective of the study was to learn about the feeding experience of families from various ethnic groups. We explored information on breast feeding versus bottle feeding, the timing of introducing supplementary foods, and looked at primary and secondary sources of information about recommendations for infant feeding and dietary intake for young children. Students were responsible for identifying four Hispanic families who had a child (or children) under 5 years of age. Students interviewed participants using an interview guide provided by research mentors. Students then transcribed the interviews they had conducted and used qualitative strategies to analyze the interview. As part of this project, students completed a literature review specific to their research question and used ATLAS software to analyze the qualitative data. Students were expected to learn the ATLAS software for the data coding and comparative analysis.

Study: A Qualitative Study of the Influence of Homework and Home Treatment Programs on Family Life.

Faculty Mentor: Jim Hinojosa
Students: Jessica Lebovitz, Allison Miller, & Amanda Waynick

Homework is an activity that most school-age children are expected to participate in at their homes after school. For children with disabilities, this may include a home treatment program. Homework is also a common activity in which parent-child friction occurs. The focus of this study was on the experiences and perceptions of parents and siblings about homework and/or home treatment programs and their influences on family life. The goal of this study was to describe and understand how they engage and participate in homework/home treatment.

Study: The Relationships between Feeding Problems and Parental Stress Index in Preterm and Full Term Infants Under Two Years Old.

 Faculty Mentor: Tsu-Hsin Howe
Students: Jaclyn Figueroa & Eceddy Simo

For parents of preterm infants, the stress of adjusting to the situation of premature birth is overwhelming. Many studies have reported that parents with preterm infants tend to demonstrate greater depression and increased anxiety than the parents of full-term infants. One area these parents often struggle with is feeding. Compared with full-term infants, an estimated 31% to 45% of preterm infants experience feeding difficulties for the first two years of life.

There is a paucity of literature describing preterm infants’ feeding problems over time. Most of the studies investigating preterm infants’ feeding problems after hospital discharge have been conducted using a highly specific type of preterm infants who were treated in a special feeding clinic rather than a home-based sample. Clinicians have little evidence about which early feeding issues will resolve, and which ones will become problematic. Specific recommendations given by clinicians to parents are thus limited. The primary objective of the study was to explore the presenting feeding issues of preterm infants after hospitalization in the first two years of life.

In this project, students were responsible for recruiting 20 mothers who had babies with a history of prematurity and who were under 2 years of age. Prematurity is defined as gestational age ≤ 37 weeks. Students had each participant complete two questionnaires: behavioral-based feeding questionnaire and parental stress index. Students then analyzed the results of these two questionnaires to explore the possible relationship between feeding problems and parental stress index.

Study: Executive Control and its Relationship to Behavioral Dyscontrol in an Autistic Spectrum Disorder Population.

 Faculty Mentor: Gerald Voelbel
Students: Erika Brown & Limor Yerushalmi

The purpose of this project was to examine the relationship between measures of executive function and parent rating scales of their child's behavior. The project included analyzing data from a large data set to investigate the influence executive dysfunction has on the disruptive behaviors in children with Autistic or Asperger's Disorder. The students worked on analyzing this data throughout the summer and met with Dr. Voelbel frequently about the data and the results throughout the summer. 

Study: A Study on the Association between the Cognitive Deficits Found in Alcohol and Substance Abusers and their Social Resources Post Treatment. 

Faculty Mentor: Gerald Voelbel
Students: Lindsay Brown, Anna Pudel, & Tova Shapiro

The purpose of this project was to examine the relationship of cognitive deficits to the quality of life in heavy chronic alcohol & substance users. The project included analyzing data from a longitudinal data set to investigate the influence cognitive deficits have on quality of life after individuals enter addictions treatment. The students worked on analyzing the data throughout the summer and met with Dr. Voelbel about the data and results frequently.

Study: The Efficacy of Structured Group Play on Social Skills.

Faculty Mentors: Jim Hinojosa and Tsu-Hsin Howe
Clinical Mentor: Karen Roston
Students: Jacqueline Braha, Jeannette Dobosz, Malka Dubroff, & Georgia Fiotodimitrakis

This study examined the effectiveness of interactive LEGO® play to improve children's social skills. Children who had been identified as having difficulty with social skills in interacting with their peers participated in an intervention for 10-12 sessions. Students were also assigned to Level 1 fieldwork at the site. Both groups met on Mondays and Fridays. NYU students administered a standardized assessment and assisted the Monday-Friday group for 8 sessions. They also collected ongoing data during the intervention sessions.

Study: An Examination of the Generation Effect in Developmental Age Groups 7-11 and 11-15.

Faculty Mentor: Yael Goverover
Students: Erick Fisco, Laloma Kagan, & Lili Wu

The purpose of this study was to examine the generation effect in children and adolescence between theages of 7 and 15. The generation effect is the phenomenon that information is remembered better in comparison to information that is provided or given. The aim of this study was to examine if the Generation Effect was similar in two groups of children: 7-11 and 11-15. In this study, students recruited 15 children between the ages of 7 and 11, and 15 between the ages of 11 and 15 (30 all together), and administered the generation effect protocol.

Study: Walking and Talking: A Pilot Study on Dual Tasking and Executive Function in Healthy Adults. 

Faculty Mentor: Yael Goverover
Students: Meghan Brianne Lauter & Katrina Monroe

Dual tasking refers to the ability to do two things at once. Recent studies have investigated the effects of performing concurrent cognitive tasks while walking. Research suggests that under neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, dementia or MS, performing concurrent tasks has a disproportionate effect on walking when compared to healthy controls. In this study we piloted a new procedure for the dual task paradigm in HC. For this project, students recruited five-ten participants between the ages of 35 and 60. Students were also involved in the administration of cognitive tests and functional information related to the topic of the study. The study took place at NYU and the project mentor was present at testing.

Study: Falls Prevention in the Community Dwelling Elderly.

Faculty Mentors: Karen Buckley and Sally Poole
Students: Jocelyn Lucier, Talia Reiner, Lauren Shampine, & Peri Wagner

The students conducted a thorough literature review of current assessments used to identify older adults at risk for falls. In addition, students reviewed the literature to identify programs to prevent falls and examine the efficacy of these effects. (4 students)

Study: Employer Satisfaction with Graduates of New York University’s Occupational Therapy Professional Master’s Program.

Faculty Mentors: Karen Buckley and Sally Poole
Students: Elizabeth Fersht & Shaina Giller

This study involved surveying employer’s satisfaction with NYU OT graduates level of preparation for employment. This is an important component of the NYU OT program evaluation for accreditation. The survey involved the use of online survey and focus groups.

Study: An Effective Way of Measuring Thumb Opposition.

Faculty Mentor: Jane Bear-Lehman 
Clinical Mentor: Pamela Lawton
Students: Jessica Pellegrino & Michelle Rosenberg

The traditional method of using a ruler to measure the completion of thumb opposition is the primary method therapists rely on to document and to chart progress for those who have impaired thumb movement at the CMC joint. A new tool has been designed and is being marketed to measure thumb opposition. This inquiry looked at the utility of this new tool on a sample of patients who had expressed injuries affecting their CMC joints and who were undergoing treatment in NYC. Students participated in Level 1 fieldwork to enhance data collection.

Study: The Underused Measure: Usage and Clarity of the Upper Extremity Functional Index (UEFI).

Faculty Mentor: Jane Bear-Lehman
Clinical Mentor: Pamela Lawton and Julie Corbett
Students: Donna Anavian, Jessica Battaglia, & Hilary Till

The Upper Extremity Functional Index (UEFI) is a self-report tool used to measure a patient’s perception to perform ADL and IADL tasks. It has been suggested that the labels on the 5-level likert scale need further detail. We asked patients who were in treatment for their hand injury to complete the UEFI and the revised UEFI. Students participated in Level 1 fieldwork to enhance data collection. 

Study: Comparison of User’s and Clinician’s Views of How Wheelchair Users Participate in Community Activities.

Faculty Mentor: Anita Perr
Students: Stacy Euchs, Sara Jenisch, & Jennifer Lukens

Part of the focus of occupational therapy is to help people develop the skills to be able to participate in community-based activities. Wheelchair users encounter physical, social, and personal barriers that influence their ability to participate in the community activities they want. Barriers include aspects like steps, poor physical strength, and poor self-esteem. There are also things that people find to help them to participate in these activities. These ‘helping’ things are referred to as facilitators and may include things like strategies to navigate barriers, people willing to help out, assertiveness and confidence, and ramps.

Previous projects in this area have sought to identify and describe the barriers and facilitators to participation. This project compared the findings from two groups of people: wheelchair users and clinicians. The literature review included information about mobility, community participation, and previous studies comparing clinician’s and client’s opinions. Using qualitative methods, this group used the transcripts from interviews already completed to identify important themes on this topic. They then compared how the two groups of people view the thematic areas.

Study: Use of Popular Technology in Occupational Therapy.

Faculty Mentor: Anita Perr
Students: Letricia Brown, Melissa Edwards, & Marielle Lombardo

The use of technology has permeated many aspects of our lives including communication (cell phone), work/leisure (e-reader, iPad, X-box, Wii). Clinicians are using these technologies in a number of their ways during their work, either training clients to use the technologies or using the technologies as treatment tools. This group studied how clinicians are using everyday technologies with their clients. The group had the option to limit their focus to a specific area of practice (school based, physical disabilities, etc). 

 The thorough literature review included an investigation of the most common popular technologies and therapy approaches as well as an investigation of whether a usable survey exists. This group developed a survey to collect data about specific technologies being used in occupational therapy and how occupational therapists are using the technologies.

Study: Hyperextension Measurement of the Metacarpophalangeal Joints: A Study of Intra-rater Reliability and Inter-rater Reliability.

PhD Candidate Mentor: Siaw Chui Chai
Students: Rivka Bachrach & Rebecca Lipton

This cross-sectional study aimed to evaluate the intra-rater and inter-rater reliability of finger goniometer, and ruler methods for measuring hyperextension of the metacapophalangeal joints (MCPJs). The study recruited a sample of 100 convenient subjects on the NYU campus. Hyperextension of the MCPJs is one of most difficult motions to measure. Finger goniometer is currently the standard measuring method. Ruler method was a new method proposed by the research mentor of this study based on the trigonometric principle.

Study: Teachers’ Beliefs and Reasons for Volunteering to Use GRTL Program and Their Experiences of Administering it in the Classrooms.

PhD Candidate Mentor: Satvika Garg
Students: Mariela Arcentales, Lea Cali, & Michelle Creighton

This qualitative study conducted with classroom teachers at NY public schools explored the reasons why these teachers agreed to participate in the ongoing GRTL program (yoga based treatment program for children with Autism) and their experiences with using/implementing the program in their classrooms. Our intent was to use this study to find ways to make the GRTL program easy to implement/use in classroom settings in the future.


 

Fall 2010

Led by Jane Bear-Lehman, Associate Professor and Department Chair, the two-semester course sequence, E40.2724 Occupational Therapy Research: Project Design (Summer 2010) and E40.2725 Occupational Therapy Research (Fall 2010) combined lectures and laboratory sessions with faculty sponsored group research projects. The following is a listing of the 2010 research projects:

Study: Graduate Students’ Perceptions of the Effectiveness of NYU Steinhardt’s Professional Program in Occupational Therapy.

Faculty Mentors: Karen Buckley and Sally Poole
Students: Malica Bretous & Lauren Gurwicz

This survey polled OT graduates of the last 3 years to ascertain their perspectives of the curriculum’s effectiveness in preparing them for employment.

Study: Evaluation of Cultural Competency in the NYU Occupational Therapy Program.

Faculty Mentor: Karen Buckley and Sally Poole
  Students: Talia Forman, Kristen Hughes, & Denise Stigliano

This survey determined the OT program's effectiveness in preparing our students to work with a variety of cultural groups. The students designed a 6-8 item questionnaire with faculty input. Students then polled, via the phone, former students to get their responses.

Study: Implementation Fidelity of the Get Ready to Learn Program.

Faculty Mentor:   Kristie P Koenig  
Clinical Mentor: Anne Buckley Reen
Students: Dina Raimondi, Ilana Rothbein, & Bruria Sharbat

Students expanded an ongoing project that assesses the fidelity and implementation of the GRTL program and pilots recommended pre and post testing on a small subset of classes to assess initial efficacy of the program. Students observed and rated video tapes of GRTL program to assess fidelity of implementation and analyze pre and post-test data after a 12-week period of intervention.

Study: An Efficacy Study of Handwriting Interventions for School-Aged Children, Grades 1-2.

Clinical Mentor: Karen Roston
Students: Lisa Katsir & Jessica Strauss

Handwriting is the main reason for referral in school-based settings for occupational therapists. Students in this research project assessed the efficacy of different amounts of practice. Two Handwriting Clubs were established that met 2 times a week for 6-8 weeks for 30-45 minutes, for 8-12 sessions. One group (the 8 session group) met on Mondays and Fridays at the end of the day, the other on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The NYU students ran the Monday-Friday group for 8 sessions. Students traveled to PS 199 in order to administer a standardized handwriting assessment and to run the Monday/Friday Handwriting Club. In addition, researchers were trained to score the Minnesota Handwriting Assessment by passing both the tutorial in the manual and by attending inter-rater reliability sessions at NYU. Students then analyzed the data they collected.

Study: A Qualitative Study of the Influence of Homework and Home Treatment Programs on Family Life.

Faculty Mentor: Jim Hinojosa
Students: Tara Friedman, Elana Maslow, Rachel Nayman, & Rachelle Renov

Homework is an activity that most school-age children are expected to participate in at their homes after school. For children with disabilities, this may include a home treatment program. Homework is also a common activity in which parent-child friction occurs. This study focused on the experiences and perceptions of parents and siblings about homework and/or home treatment programs and their influences on family life. The goal of this study was to describe and understand how the parents and siblings of children with disabilities engage and participate in homework/home treatment.

Study: Qualitative Study on Parental Feeding Experience with Young Children in Different Ethnic Groups.

Faculty mentors: Tsu-Hsin Howe and Jim Hinojosa
Students: Julieta Caraballo, Sarah DeFilippis, Dominique Scacciaferro, & Sarah Schupak

Feeding is one of the most important occupations for infants and is influenced by cultural beliefs and practices. An awareness of the infant feeding practices of any ethnic group is needed to be able to design and implement effective feeding intervention strategies targeted at infants of that particular ethnic group. The primary objective of the study was to learn about the feeding experience of families from various ethnic groups. Students explored information on breast feeding versus bottle feeding, the timing of introducing supplementary foods, primary and secondary sources of information about recommendations for infant feeding and dietary intake for young children. Students interviewed participants using an interview guide provided by research mentors. Students then transcribed the interviews they had conducted and used qualitative strategies to analyze the interviews. As part of this project, students completed a literature review specific to their research question and used ATLAS software to analyze these qualitative data. Students were expected to attend scheduled classes with research mentors to learn the ATLAS software for the data coding and comparative analysis.

Study: The Relationships between Feeding Problems and Parental Stress Index in Preterm Infants Under 2 Years Old.

Faculty Mentor: Tsu-Hsin Howe
Students: Melissa Bello, Kara Feller DiRocco, Robin Herskowitz, & Salma Malik

There is a high incidence rate of feeding problems in infants with prematurity. However, there is no instrument available at the present time to help therapists learn infants' feeding history systematically from their primary caretakers in order to understand feeding problems in context. The first step in addressing this is to develop a questionnaire and to establish its reliability for clinical use. In this project, students were required to complete the survey with 20 primary caretakers who had babies with a history of prematurity and who were under the age of 2 years. Prematurity is defined as gestational age ≤ 37 weeks. Students had each participant complete two questionnaires: behavioral-based feeding questionnaire and parental stress index. Students then analyzed the results of these two questionnaires to explore the possible relationship between feeding problems and the parental stress index.

Study: A Developmental Approach for Studying the Generation Effect.

Faculty Mentor: Yael Goverover
Students: Nana Adu, Lianna Mitchell, & Latrenda Thomas

The purpose of this study was to examine the generation effect in children and adolescents between the ages 7-15. The generation effect is the phenomenon that information is remembered better in comparison to information that is provided or given. The aim of this study was to examine if the Generation Effect is similar in two groups of children: 7-11 and 11-15. In this study students recruited 15 children between the ages of 7-11 and 15 between the ages of 11-15 (30 all together) and had to administer the generation effect protocol.

Study: Walking and talking: Could we do both at the same time?

Faculty Mentor: Yael Goverover.
Students: Karina Geiger, Katherine Malfucci, & Heather Penchinar

Dual tasking refers to the ability to do two things at once. Recent studies have investigated the effects of performing concurrent cognitive tasks while walking. Research suggests that under neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, dementia or MS, performing concurrent tasks has a disproportionate effect on walking when compared to healthy controls. In this study we piloted a new procedure for the dual task paradigm in HC.

For this project, students recruited five participants between the ages of 45-60. Students were also involved in the administration of cognitive tests and functional information ration related to the topic of the study. The study took place at NYU and the project mentor was present at testing.

Study: An Investigation of the Effect of Cognitive Deficits Executive Function Deficits on the Quality of Life of Individuals One Year After They Enter Addictions Treatment.

Faculty Mentor: Gerald Voelbel
Students: Kristie Hong & Malky Kalikstein

The purpose of this project was to examine the relationship of cognitive
deficits to the quality of life in heavy chronic alcohol & substance users.
The project analyzed data from a longitudinal data set to investigate the influence cognitive deficits have on the quality of life after individuals entered addictions treatment.

Study: Establishing Face Validity of Executive Function-Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire.

Faculty Mentor: Gerald Voelbel
Students: Jacqueline McLaurin, Anna Mortensen, & Cameron Culwell

Recently, a self-report measure was developed to examine components of
executive dysfunctions in the participation of instrumental activities of
daily living (IADL). The face validity of this instrument was explored
by administering it to seniors from the community.  

Study: Occupational Therapists’ Perceptions of their Wheelchair using Clients’ IADL Function in the Community.

Faculty Mentor: Anita Perr     
Students: Sara Hayden & Elizabeth Hogan

This project built upon one completed by last year’s group who interviewed wheelchair users about their thoughts and feelings concerning their neighborhoods and their participation in community activities. In this project, students interviewed occupational therapists about their perceptions of their discharged patients’ community access and integration. Of particular interest was learning whether occupational therapists and the client’s they serve have similar ideas about participation, accessibility and social interactions.

Study: An Effective Way of Measuring Thumb Opposition?

Faculty Mentor: Jane Bear-Lehman 
Clinical Mentor: Pamela Lawton
Students: Molly Schmidt & Samuel Quintana

The traditional method of using a ruler to measure the completion of thumb opposition is the primary method therapists rely on to document and to chart progress for those who have impaired thumb movement at the CMC joint. A new tool has been designed and is being marketed to measure thumb opposition. This inquiry looked at the utility of this new tool on a sample of normal adult women and a sample of women who have expressed injuries affecting their CMC joints and who were undergoing treatment in NYC.

Study: Comparison of Children's Participation and Enjoyment of Activities between Children with ASD and Typically Developing Children.

Faculty Mentor: Kristie Koenig
Students: Lily Sanders, Jessica Sarah Spier, & Abigail Stoll

The students interviewed an age & gender matched sample of typically developing children (6-10 years of age). They administered the CAPE/PAC and compared the results to children with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s syndrome. Students input the data and ensured the groups were comparable. Students then performed data analysis to assess differences between groups.

Study: Lived Experience of Life Review and Reminiscence in Older Adults.

PhD Candidate mentor: Tracy Chippendale
Students: Chana Richter, Adina Salamon, & Nina Suss

Theresearch question was "What are the effect(s) of life review on spirituality in older adults?” Students wrote a theoretical base for the study with a focus on Erik Erikson’s last stage of social development. Students completed a literature review that examined the effectiveness of life review as an intervention tool. The second part of the project entailed semi-structured interviews with older adults to investigate how life review enhances meaning in life. Students were required to have access to people age 70 years of age or older and audio recording equipment. This was part of a larger quantitative study that will examine the effects of life review on depressive symptoms and life satisfaction in older adults.

Study: Personal Space and Friendship in Adolescents with Asperger’s Syndrome.

PhD Candidate mentor: Alisha Ohl
Students: Kristen Gibson, Naomi Siegel, & Heidi Torres-Fewell

Adolescents with Asperger’s syndrome (AS) often violate the personal space of their peers. These personal space violations have been hypothesized to contribute to difficulties developing friendships; however, this hypothesis remains unexplored in the research literature. The purpose of this study was to examine how personal space relates to the ability to develop friendships, friend characteristics, and friendship quality among adolescents with AS and a control group of neurotypical adolescents living in a large metropolitan area in the Northeast. Students assisted in recruiting adolescent participants (ages 12 to 18) and with administering the following instruments: Asperger’s Syndrome Diagnostic Scale (ASDS), Parent questionnaire, Berndt’s Assessment of Friendship Features, and the stop-distance procedure. This study took place at NYU during evenings and weekends

Study: Survey of the Role of the Occupational Therapist in Inclusive Classrooms of the Elementary Schools.

PhD Candidate Mentor: Chiao-Ju Fang
Students: Sandra Ghelman & Michelle Levin

This project focused on the current inclusion classrooms in the elementary school district. Students read relevant literature and based on the qualitative research data collected last year, developed a survey utilizing a web-based program (survey monkey) that looked to identify what OT roles have been in schools. The main questions in this study were: 1) what is considered best practice in occupational therapy for inclusion? and 2) what steps do we, as staff members, need to take to get there? This survey also tested the face validity from OT experts to obtain a context rich picture of current experiences.

Study: Qualitative study to find the most commonly used assessment measures by the practicing OTs to assess feeding issues in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Mentor: Satvika Garg
Students: Jenalyn Carino Abalos. Tanzina Ali, & Kathy Chan

Students sent out a survey to identify the most commonly used assessment scales and outcome measures by the practicing pediatric OTs (in schools and clinics) to assess feeding issues in children (3-5 years) with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Students analyzed the data and prepared a presentation of the findings.