Kristie Patten Koenig Wins Grant to Promote Neurodiversity through Film

Congratulations to Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy Kristie Patten Koenig for winning an NYU Steinhardt Faculty Development and Diversity Innovation Project grant.

The funds are awarded to faculty members across the school who are working to heighten the community’s awareness of equity, inclusion, and diversity. Specifically, Koenig’s grant will fund a series of short films offering information about neurodiversity — created by neurodiverse students.

Explaining the importance of this project, Koenig said, “As the community of students who are on the autism spectrum grows, there is a need to educate the broader NYU community on neurodiversity.”

Faculty member awardees posing for a photo together.
Stella Flores, associate dean for faculty development and diversity (center), honored faculty awardees Kristie Patten Koenig, Nisha Sajnani, Maria Hodermarska, Frank Pignatosi, and Joe Salvatore (from right to left).

Collaborators on Koenig’s project include the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities and the Tisch School of the Arts.

New Faculty Spotlight: Amy Hurst

Amy Hurst

The Department of Occupational Therapy would like to spotlight Associate Professor Amy Hurst, who joined the NYU OT community this semester.

Hurst holds a joint appointment with the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and the Technology, Culture, and Society Department in the Tandon School of Engineering. She is also the director of NYU’s Ability Project, an interdisciplinary research space dedicated to the intersection of disability and technology.

In the Q&A below, Professor Hurst shares more about her background, expertise, and what it’s like to teach future OTs.

Can you tell me a little about your background and research interests?

My undergraduate degree is in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. In my quest to understand the impact of the technology we were learning about, I pretty quickly became interested in accessibility and assistive technology. I went on to get my master’s and PhD in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon — most of my work then was focusing on computer access. There is a ton of accessibility software baked into personal computers, but not many people know how to actually configure it. After finishing my degree, I worked at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) for 8.5 years doing more accessibility research.

While at UMBC, you worked on a National Science Foundation-funded project involving 3D printers. What might people not know about 3D printing?

3D printing is not magic — it can be very frustrating, which is one of the main reasons that a lot of 3D printers gather dust. There is a lot of marketing selling the fanciful idea that you push a button and the machine just goes, but the reality is that there are a ton of other steps that need to happen first. And then, once the machine is actually printing, it doesn’t always work. For a lot of people who are starting out in 3D printing, that’s a surprise. But once you have individuals who can become expert operators, you can empower more people to use the printer.

How can 3D printers benefit people like clinicians and individuals receiving therapy?

One exciting area I have studied in my past work is creating 3D-printed assistive technologies that are customized to a user’s unique needs. Specifically, I’ve studied how clinicians and end-users can learn to design and print personalized grips that can go on walkers, crutches, pencils, forks, and more. One of the advantages of having these items made on a 3D printer is that therapists can reproduce models efficiently — creating a practical sustainability plan if the item gets lost or broken.

What misconceptions might folks have about the intersection of ability/disability and technology?

When designing technology for a large and diverse user group, it is important to create systems that are customizable to accommodate diverse abilities, habits, and preferences. These systems must be flexible as it is common for abilities, habits, and preferences to change (on both short and long timescales). When designing for diverse ability, it is important to remember that some users may be gaining function (in a rehabilitation context), losing function (due to a chronic illness or disability), or experiencing short-term changes in function (due to medication, fatigue, stress, or the weather). We must fully understand a target user group, their context, and experiences to design useful, accessible technology.

Can you tell me more about the NYU Ability Project and your director role?

One of the most exciting things about the Ability Project is that it really is an interdisciplinary collaboration across faculty and students in OT, Tisch, and Tandon. Getting this diverse group together to learn with and from each other is really incredible. That’s one of the things that really excited me about this opportunity at NYU.

This semester, I spent a lot of time on a project with the NYU Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities. This is a new dental clinic specifically targeted toward folks with disabilities — which is an entirely new approach to providing dental services for individuals who cannot receive traditional care. We were focused on the waiting room experience, and specifically creating a multi-sensory room where people who are feeling some anxiety around going to the dentist can interact with soothing technology. We’ve been collaborating with folks who have expertise in autism and special education as well as those in dentistry. It’s really interdisciplinary and exciting.

What do you find is the most rewarding aspect of teaching future OT’s?

Teaching accessibility to students who have clinical experience is fantastic. It’s something I hadn’t experienced before — they’re coming into the class with hands-on, personal experience. They can share this perspective and their training with other students, which is very exciting.

NYU OT at the 2019 AOTA Conference in New Orleans

NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy students, faculty, and staff traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana for this year’s American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Annual Conference & Expo.

For the fifth year, the department hosted a booth at the conference, providing an opportunity for faculty and staff to interact with attending alumni, current students, and prospective students interested in learning more about the occupational therapy programs offered through NYU Steinhardt.

This year’s conference included many highlights:

Award Recognitions

  • AOTF Academy of Research: Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy Yael Goverover was inducted into the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) Academy of Research at this year’s AOTA conference. The honor, which is the highest conferred by the AOTF, recognizes elite scientists and scholars who are advancing knowledge in the field of occupational therapy. Read more about Goverover’s recognition and research here.
Yael Goverover posing in front of the AOTA logo.
Yael Goverover, middle, was recognized at AOTA for her contributions to the field.
  • TODOS Service Award: Academic Fieldwork Coordinator Alison Rangel received an award from TODOS (Terapia Ocupacional para Diversidad, Oportunidad y Solidaridad), a Hispanic/Latino-focused professional community of occupational therapy practitioners and students promoting diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism within the profession.

Alumni Reception and Department Honors

The department hosted its annual alumni reception to facilitate connections between former students — the event was also attended by over 30 current students.

The reception featured the broad announcement of two department honors:

  • Jim Hinojosa Distinguished Alumni Award: Dr. Gary Bedell, a two-time alumnus of the department, was awarded the third annual Jim Hinojosa Distinguished Alumni Award for the contributions he has made to the OT profession while working to benefit youth with disabilities. Click here to read a Q&A with Dr. Bedell about his work.

NYU OT Can Dance

For the 2nd year, Academic Fieldwork Coordinator Alison Rangel led a dance break encouraging conference participants to stretch, let loose, and move their bodies to the beat of salsa, merengue, and samba music.

The department’s skill on the dance floor was further solidified when students Lauren Gramatica, Jessica Si, and Daniel Yi took home the top prize in an “OTs Got Talent” dance competition. Click here for a video of their winning performance.

Faculty, Staff, and Student Participation

A large group of students at AOTA holding an NYU flag.
Members of the NYU OT community on the expo floor.

The NYU OT community presented a range of research and findings at this year’s conference.

Kristin Castle – OTD Student

  • RD 4012 – Exploring the Prevalence of Cognitive Deficits Within a Population of Individuals Post Acute Mild Stroke with additional speakers Steve Van Lew, MS, OTR/L, NYU Langone Health; Adrienne Dicembri, MS, OTR/L, NYU Langone Health; Megan Evangelist, MS, OTR/L, NYU Health Langone.
  • RD 7017 – Identifying Cognitive Assessments for Individuals Post-Mild-Stroke in the Acute-Care Setting: A Review of the Psychometrics and Feasibility.
  • RD 5017 – A Clinical Guideline To Promote Return to Work Post-Male-to-Female Gender Reassignment Surgery. Danielle Kearns, MS, OTR, Intensive Therapeutics, Inc and Tsu-Hsin Howe, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, NYU.

Szu-Wei Chen – PhD Candidate

  • GP 7012 – Measuring Leisure Participation in the Adult Population: A Review and Suggestion for Developing a Better Instrument.

Chia-Yang Chiang – OTD Student

  • DD 8004 – Using Social Cognitive Career Theory to Facilitate School-to-Adulthood Transition for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities with additional speaker Tsu-Hsin Howe, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, NYU.

Patricia Gentile – Clinical Assistant Professor

  • RD 3018 – Clinical and Nonclinical Factors that Predict Discharge Disposition After a Fall: Considerations for OT in Early Discharge Planning with Melissa James, PhD, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center; R. Robitsek, PhD, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center; Syed Saghir, MD, Department of Medicine, University of Nevada; Marylin Ramos, MS, PT, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center; Frances Perez, LMSW, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Yael Goverover – Associate Professor

  • Research 8020 – The Validity of the Weekly Calendar Planning Activity for People With Multiple Sclerosis. Diane Rose Allid, MA, NYU, and additional speaker Melissa Orenstein, NYU.
  • Short Course 338 – Remembering to Remember in Everyday Life: Prospective Memory as a Critical Aspect of Functional Cognition with additional speaker Erin Foster, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, Washington University.

Tsu-Hsin Howe – Associate Professor

  • RD 5017 – A Clinical Guideline To Promote Return to Work Post-Male-to-Female Gender Reassignment Surgery. Danielle Kearns, MS, OTR, Intensive Therapeutics, Inc and Tsu-Hsin Howe, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, NYU with additional speaker Kristin Castle, MS, OTR/L, NYU Langone Health.
  • DD 8004 – Using Social Cognitive Career Theory to Facilitate School-to-Adulthood Transition for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities with Chia-Yang Chiang, MA, OTR/L, NYC Dept. of Education.

Danielle Kearns – PhD Student

  • RD 5017 – A Clinical Guideline To Promote Return to Work Post-Male-to-Female Gender Reassignment Surgery with Tsu-Hsin Howe, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, NYU, and additional speaker Kristin Castle, MS, OTR/L, NYU Langone Health.

Grace Kim – Assistant Professor

  • RD 1003 – Perspectives on Mobile Technology Use and Home Exercise Programs in Stroke Rehabilitation with additional speakers Stephanie Katz, NYU; Nicole MacWhirter, NYU; Hannah Cohen, NYU.

Chang Dae Lee – PhD Candidate

  • PA 1006 – The Necessities of Postoperative Delirium Prevention as a Standard Practice in OT Acute-Care Intervention.

Janet Njelesani – Assistant Professor

  • Research 5010 – OTs’ Roles in Addressing Bullying Against Students With Disabilities with additional authors Beth Schweitzer OTR/L, NYU; Aisha Faulkner OTR/L, NYU; Hayden Jeon OTR/L, NYU.

Alison Rangel – Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and OTD Student

  • Institute 007 – (AOTA) Becoming an Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. Jaynee Taguchi Meyer, OTD, OTR/L, University of Southern California and Jamie Geraci, OTR/L, Occupational Therapy Education Consultants with additional speakers Jeanette Koski, OTD, OTR/L, University of Utah; Rebecca Ozelie, DHS, OTR/L, Rush University.

Mary Shea – Adjunct Faculty

  • Workshop 208 – Effective OT Services in ALS Care and Disease Progression. Amber Ward, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, BCPR, ATP/SMS, Carolinas Neuromuscular ALS/MDA Center, Atrium Health and additional speakers Cathy Carver, PT, ATP/SMS, UAB/Spain Rehabilitation Center.

Brocha Stern – PhD Candidate

  • RD 1004 – Pain in the Hand . . . or Head? A Mindset Shift for Pain Assessment and Intervention in Hand Therapy with additional speakers Hannah Gift, MOT, OTR/L, CHT, SSM Health Physical Therapy – Select Medical Rehabilitation.
  • RD 2024 – The Dangers of Specialization: Appreciating the Interdependence of Body Systems in Upper Extremity Health with additional speakers: Hannah Gift, MOT, OTR/L, CHT, SSM Health Physical Therapy – Select Medical Rehabilitation.
  • RD 3002 – A Conceptual Framework of Self-Management After Acute Musculoskeletal Hand Injury.
  • Research 2018 – “I Don’t Have a Magic Wand”: The Why and How of Patient Education in Outpatient Physical Rehabilitation. Abigail Brody, NYU with authors Promita Banik, NYU; Alisa Doshi, NYU; Prema Khan, NYU; Joy Sarraf, NYU, and additional speakers Emma Gentile, NYU; Emma Hecht, NYU; Kathryn Pelech, NYU.

Margaret Waskiewicz –  OTD Student

  • RD 1008 – It Takes Two: An Evidence-Based Approach to Incorporating Task-Oriented Training With Bilateral Arm Training for Motor Relearning. Samantha Levine, MS, OTR/L, NYU Langone Health-Rusk Rehabilitation.
  • Short Course 138 – Road Map to Evidence-Based Practice (EBP): Practical Application of Vision 2025 in an Outpatient Neuro Rehabilitation Setting. Claribell Bayona, OTD, OTR/L, CSRS, NYU Langone Health with additional speaker Nandita Singh, MPH, OTR/L, NYU Langone Health.

Faculty Achievements: Grants and Publications Fall 2018 – Spring 2019

Patricia Gentile – Clinical Assistant Professor

  • Youngstown, M. J. & Gentile, P.A. (2019). Supervision. In B.Schell & G. Gillen (Eds.) Williard and Spackman’s Occupational Therapy (13th Ed.) Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Yael Goverover – Associate Professor

  • Goverover, Y., Toglia, J., & Deluca, J. (2019). The weekly calendar planning activity in multiple sclerosis : A top-down assessment of executive functions. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 0(0), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1080/09602011.2019.1584573.
  • Goverover, Y., Genova, H. M., Smith, A., Lengenfelder, J., & Chiaravalloti, C. D. (2018). Changes in Activity Participation Following Multiple Sclerosis. International Journal of MS Care.
  • Saleh, S., Sandroff, M. B., Vitiello, T., Owoeye, O., Hoxha, A., Hake, P., Goverover, Y., Wylie, G. R., Yue, G. H., & DeLuca, J. (2018). The Role of Premotor Areas in Dual Tasking in Healthy Controls and Persons with Multiple Sclerosis: An fNIRS imaging study. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 12, 1-11.
  • Kalb, R., Beier, M., Benedict, R.H.B., Charvet, L., Costello, K., Feinstein, A., Gingold, .J, Goverover, Y., Halper, J., Harris, C., Kostich, L., Krupp, L., Lathi, E., LaRocca, N., Thrower, B., & DeLuca, J. (2018). Recommendations for Cognitive Screening and Management in Multiple Sclerosis Care. Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Chiaravalloti, N. D., Goverover, Y., Costa, S. L., & DeLuca, J. (2018). A Pilot Study Examining Speed of Processing Training (SPT) to Improve Processing Speed in persons with Multiple Sclerosis. Frontiers in Neurology, 9,685. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2018.00685 (Manuscript ID: 389748).
  • Stern, B., & Goverover, Y. (2018). An occupational perspective of everyday technology use for men with multiple sclerosis. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308022618777985.
  • Akbar, N., Sandroff, B., Wylie, G., Strober, L.B., Smith, A., Goverover, Y., Motl, R.W., DeLuca, J., & Genova, H. (2018). Progressive resistance exercise training and changes in resting-state functional connectivity of the caudate in persons with multiple sclerosis and severe fatigue: A proof-of-concept study. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. doi: 10.1080/09602011.2018.1449758. PMID: 29618280.
  • Stern, B. Z., Strober, L., DeLuca, J., & Goverover, Y. (2018). Subjective well-being differs with age in multiple sclerosis: A brief report. Rehabilitation Psychology, 63(3), 474-478. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/rep0000220 PMID: 30113202.
  • Goverover, Y., & DeLuca, J. (2018). Assessing everyday life functional activity using actual reality in persons with MS. Rehabilitation Psychology. 63(2), 276-285. doi: 10.1037/rep0000212. PubMed PMID: 29878832.
  • Goverover, Y., Sandroff, B., & DeLuca, J. (2018). Dual-task of fine motor skill and problem-solving in individuals with multiple sclerosis: A pilot study.  Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 99(4):635-640. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2017.10.012. PMID: 29108966.
  • Goverover Y., Chiaravalloti, N., O’Brien, A., & DeLuca, J. (2018). Evidenced based cognitive rehabilitation for persons with multiple sclerosis: An updated review of the literature from 2007-2016. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 99(2), 390-407. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2017.07.021. PMID:28958607.
  • Costa, S. L., DeLuca, J., Sandroff, B. M., Goverover, Y., & Chiaravalloti, N. D. (2018).The role of demographic and clinical factors in cognitive functioning of persons with relapsing-remitting and progressive multiple sclerosis. Journal of International Neuropsychology Society, 24(2), 139-146. doi: 10.1017/S1355617717000777. PMID: 28830576.
  • Kalina, J., Hinojosa, J., Strober, L., Bacon, J., Donnelly, S., & Goverover, Y. (2018). A randomized controlled trial to improve self-efficacy in persons with Multiple Sclerosis: The Community Reintegration for Socially Isolated Patients (CRISP) program. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72, 7205205030p1-7205205030p8. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2018.026864.

Tsu-Hsin Howe – Associate Professor

  • Howe, T.-H., Hinojosa, J., & Sheu, C.-F., A qualitative study of Latino-American mothers’ perspectives on feeding their young children (2019). American Journal of Occupational Therapy.
  • Howe, T.-H., Sheu, C.-F., & Wang, T.-N. (2019). Feeding pattern and parental perception of feeding issues of preterm infants in the first 2 years of life. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73, 7302205030. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2019.029397.
  • Kramer, P., Hinojosa, J. & Howe, T.-H. (2019). Frames of Reference for Pediatric Occupational Therapy. 4th Editions. Baltimore, MD: Wolters Kluwer.
  • Howe, T.-H. (2018). Oromotor Therapy. In J. Ongkasuwan & E. C. Chiou (Eds), Pediatric Dysphagia: Challenges and Controversies (pp. 119-134). New York, NY: Springer.

Amy Hurst – Associate Professor

  • Hamidi, F., Kumar, S., Dorfman, M., Ojo, F., Kottapalli, M., & Hurst, A. (2019). SenseBox: A DIY Prototyping Platform to Create Audio Interfaces for Therapy. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 25-34. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3294109.3295633.
  • Kearney-Volpe, C., Holloway S., & Hurst, A. (2019). Entertainment for All: Understanding Media Streaming Accessibility. Proceedings of CHI ’19 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’19). (To Appear).
  • Kearney-Volpe, C., Hurst, A., & Fitzgerald, S. (2019). Blind Web Development Training at Oysters and Pearls Technology Camp in Uganda. Proceedings of Proceedings of the 16th Web for all Conference. (W4A ’19). (To Appear).

Kristie Patten Koenig – Department Chair and Associate Professor

  • Patten Koenig, K. (2019). A strength based frame of reference for autistic individuals. In P. Kramer, J. Hinojosa & T. Howe (Eds.). Frames of reference for pediatric occupational therapy (4th edition).
  • Patten Koenig, K. & Shore, S. (2018). Self-determination and a shift to a strengths based model. In R. Watling & S. Spitzer (Eds.), Autism: A  Comprehensive Occupational Therapy Approach, 4th edition, Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press.
  • Co-Principal Investigator: “Developing Abilities and Knowledge for Careers in Design and Engineering for Students on the Autism Spectrum by Scaling Up Making Experiences.” (Principal Investigator Wendy Martin, PhD). National Science Foundation (NSF#1850289). Funded for 8/19 to 7/22. $514,629 subaward of $1,999,775 total award.
  • Principal Investigator: “Ghanaian Institute for the Future of Teaching and Education (GIFTED) Women’s Fellowship Program-Phase III.” (Co-Principal Investigator Rose Vukovic, Ph.D.). Banco Santander. Funded for 1/19 to 12/20. $278,000.
  • Principal Investigator: “NYU ASD Nest Support Project.” NYC Department of Education.  2018-2023 $8,401,750 Year 1: 11/1/18-6/30/19. $1,680,350.
  • Principal Investigator: “Long Beach, CA ASD Nest Training and Support.” Long Beach Public School District. 11/1/18 – 6/30/19. $36,500.
  • Principal Investigator: “ASD Nest supports, consultation, and professional development.” Norwalk Public School District. 3/1/18 – 6/30/19. $120,059.
  • Co-Principal Investigator: “IDEAS: Inventing, Designing and Engineering on the Autism Spectrum.”(Principal Investigator Wendy Martin, PhD). National Science Foundation (NSF#1614436). Funded for 9/16 to 8/19. $300,734 subaward of $1,193,170 total award.

Janet Njelesani – Assistant Professor

  • Njelesani, J. (2019). “A child who is hidden has no rights”: Responses to violence against children with disabilities. Child Abuse & Neglect, 89, 58-69. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.12.024.
  • Qualitative Research Affinity Group. NYU Steinhardt. Co-Applicant with Audrey Trainor and Natasha Strassfeld.

Gerald Voelbel – Associate Professor

  • Newman, R.M., Alfano, C., Radomski, M.V., Pergolotti, M., Wolf, T, Sleight, A., Leak, A.B., Voelbel, G.T., de Moor, J., Nitkin, R., Daniels, E., Braveman, B., Walker, R.K., Williams, G., Winters-Stone, K.M., Cheville, A., Campbell, S., Lawlor, M., King, A., Ness, K., Srivastava, P., & Lyons, K.D. (2019). Catalyzing Research to Optimize Cancer Survivors’ Participation in Work and Life Roles. OTJR: Occupation, Participation, and Health.
  • Co-Principal Investigator: “Verbal Working Memory and Attention Remediation for Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury.” Global Research Incubator Award, $15,040. Funded: 9/19 – 8/20.

Janet Njelesani Awarded National Academy of Education Spencer Fellowship

Photo of Janet Njelesani.

Janet Njelesani, an assistant professor of occupational therapy in NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Occupational Therapy, was awarded a $70,000 grant from the National Academy of Education (NAEd)/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship to study the phenomenon of school violence in Lusaka, Zambia.

Njelesani’s project, “Generating and Preventing Violence: Schools’ Responses to School Violence Against Students with Disabilities in Zambia,” is investigating how social, cultural, and institutional practices influence inclusion, protection, and education for children with disabilities in Lusaka.

“Although some one million children are living with disabilities in Zambia and the country is committed to education for all children, little is known about children with disabilities’ school experiences, including the violence that may be perpetrated against them,” she said.

Alongside local partners like the Ministry of Education in Zambia, Njelesani is conducting interviews with teachers, school leadership, and students with disabilities to explore the relationships between educators’ attitudes and behaviors and their corresponding responses to school violence.

The findings of her project will provide direction for school violence prevention and intervention efforts, with the goal of enhancing the effectiveness of educator support and school protection policies.

Njelesani’s research will expand upon her previous pilot projects exploring violence against children with disabilities in Zambia — click here to read more about her work in the region.

Yael Goverover Inducted into the AOTF Academy of Research

The NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy is pleased to announce that Associate Professor Yael Goverover was inducted into the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) Academy of Research.

The honor, which is the highest conferred by the AOTF, recognizes individuals who have made significant research contributions to the occupational therapy profession. The 2019 class of inductees was recently honored at the American Occupational Therapy Association conference held in New Orleans.

Dr. Goverover joins the ranks of an elite group of scientists and scholars advancing knowledge in the field of occupational therapy. Her scholarship is based upon the need for research studies in occupational therapy that help improve the lives of individuals with functional multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injuries, with a particular focus on enabling these individuals to perform everyday activities.

“I hope that my work (and others’) will improve the lives of persons with cognitive impairments,” she said. “I hope that the research we do will alleviate cognitive impairments and facilitate the transfer and generalization of treatment gains into their daily lives.”

Congratulations to Yael Goverover — click here to read more about her contributions to the field.

NYU OT at the 2018 AOTA Conference

NYU OT Students at AOTA Conference

This year NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy students, faculty, and staff headed to Salt Lake City, Utah April 19-22 for the annual American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) conference.

The theme for last year’s conference focused on the History of OT during its 100-year celebration, and this year’s conference focused on the future of the OT profession. In support of this year’s theme, AOTA Vice President Shawn Phipps led a session entitled, “Vision 2025.” During this session, participants learned ways the OT community can work together to position the profession for continued growth in the upcoming years.

Faculty at the NYU OT Booth

For the fourth year in a row, NYU Steinhardt OT had a booth in the Expo. Alumni and current students stopped by to say hello, reconnect with the department, and show their NYU OT pride by wearing our popular NYU OT Alumni, Supporter, and Students badges.

The booth also provided an opportunity for prospective students to learn more about the post-professional MA, OTD, and PhD programs, as well as the new online OTD program. Faculty members and staff were on hand to answer questions about the curriculum, admissions requirements, and our remuneration program.

NYU OT Students and Faculty Gathered at AOTA Conference

One of the highlights: Our very own Alison Rangel-Padilla (Fieldwork Coordinator) led a Salsa Dance Break! This well-attended and fun event had conference participants dropping their bags and moving their bodies to salsa, merengue, and samba music on the conference floor.

 

 

 

 


NYU Steinhardt OT Faculty, Staff, and Student Participation:

 

Kristie Patten Koenig, Associate Professor

-Short Course 122 – Senses & Sensibilities: Experiencing, Recognizing, and Providing Support for Sensory Issues from Autistic and Practitioner Viewpoint (With Stephen Shore Ed.D., Adelphi University)

Plenary: Autistic Individuals as Equal Partners in Occupational Therapy Research

 

Yael Goverover. Associate Professor

-Research 2009 – My Way of Staying Connected”?: The Lived Experience of Adults With Multiple Sclerosis as Everyday Technology Users

-Abstract Synopsis: This constructivist grounded theory study examined the lived experience of adults with multiple sclerosis as everyday technology users. Technology is experienced as a means of fostering reciprocal connections to self and others within a context of connection to the world.

Contributing Authors: Batsheva Becher; Ilana Goss; Stephanie Tufano; Yael Goverover, PhD, OTR/L

-Short Course 405 – Everyday technology for all? Limitations and opportunities in assessment and treatment for adults with neurological disorders. Rehabilitation, Disability, & Participation. With additional speakers Brocha Z. Stern, MOT, OTR/L, CHT, New York University; Joan Toglia, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Mercy College

Tsu-Hsin Howe:

-CY 3009 – Life Beyond School: Developing a Functional Life Skills Intervention To Promote School-to-Work Transition for Students With Developmental Disabilities with speakers Chia-Yang Chiang, M.A., OTR/L, New York City Department of Education

-Research 1027 – Effectiveness of Self-Determination Programs in Promoting Secondary Transition for Young Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities with speaker Chia-Yang Chiang, M.A., OTR/L, New York City Department of Education

-Research 4012 – Parental Feeding Practice and Perceptions of Feeding Issues of Their Children With History of Prematurity in the First 2 Years of Life

 

Patricia Gentile:

-RDP 1001 – Occupational Therapy in the Perioperative Surgical Home, Part of Poster Session #1 Rehabilitation, Disability, & Participation

 

Tracy Chippendale:
-Research 3012 – Knowledge, Behavioral Practices, and Experiences of Outdoor Fallers: Considerations for Prevention Programs

 

Allison Rangel, Fieldwork Coordinator:

-Institute 025 – (AOTA) Becoming an Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, with additional speakers Jamie Geraci, MS, OTR/L, Stony Brook University; Jeanette Koski, OTD, OTR/L, AFWC, The University of Utah; Jaynee Meyer, OTD, OTR/L, University of Southern California

 

Students:

Sandra Duarte
-GP 8006 – Cultural Competence in Occupational Therapy: Putting Cultural Sensitivity To WorkWith additional speaker Brigitte Desport

Chia-Yang Chiang, M.A., OTR/L, New York City Department of Education
CY 3009 – Life Beyond School: Developing a Functional Life Skills Intervention To Promote School-to-Work Transition for Students With Developmental Disabilities with Tsu-Hsin Howe
-Research 1027 – Effectiveness of Self-Determination Programs in Promoting Secondary Transition for Young Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities with Tsu-Hsin Howe

Margaret Waskiewicz:
-RDP 2006 – Back to Basics: Enhancing Our Practice Through a Return to Occupation
Part of Poster Session with Kellianne Arnella and Nandita Singh, MPH, OTR/L; and
Steve Vanlew
-RDP 7015 – Tying It All Together: Mindfulness-Based Interventions for People With Parkinson’s Disease

Brocha Stern

-Short Course 405 – Everyday technology for all? Limitations and opportunities in assessment and treatment for adults with neurological disorders with Yael Goverover; Joan Toglia
-Short Course 245 – (SIS) RDSIS Hand Subsection Annual Program – Health Promotion and Self-Management Support in Hand Therapy – Bridging Chronic and Acute Care with additonal speaker Brian Connors
-RDP 3001 – So You Want To Be a Hand Therapist? Strategies for Authentic Specialization
-Research 2009 – My Way of Staying Connected”?: The Lived Experience of Adults With Multiple Sclerosis as Everyday Technology Users with additional speakers Samantha Gelon and Kathryn Ross
-Short Course 412 – Update on Upper-Extremity Cumulative Trauma Disorders: Physiological, Psychosocial, and Ecological Perspectives

Chang Dae Lee
-Research 5002 – Korean Upper-Extremity Performance Test for the Elderly: Validity and Reliability
-Research 8003 – Korean Upper-Extremity Performance Test for the Elderly: Normative Data and Characteristics of Upper-Extremity Function of Adults and Elderly

Monica Puglisi, MS, OTR/L, New York City Department of Education
-CY 3001 – Common Core Writing Standards and Alignment With Typical Childhood Development in Elementary School: A Scoping Review with Kristie Koenig, additional Speaker

Diversity, Equity, and Human Rights: An Interview with Janet Njelesani on Educational Opportunity for Children with Disabilities in Zambia

Photo of Janet Njelesani

Janet Njelesani

Janet Njelesani, assistant professor of occupational therapy, researches how social, cultural, and institutional practices impact the education of children and youth with disabilities. Her work is influenced by her experience as an occupational therapist and disability inclusion technical advisor to international governments and United Nations agencies.

Njelesani received Steinhardt’s Global Research Incubator Award in 2017 to carry out a pilot project on school violence against children with disabilities in Lusaka, Zambia in which she is collaborating with the University of Zambia and Ministry of Education. She uses child-centered methodologies, including arts-based research methods,  to engage students with disabilities. Graduate students from both the University of Zambia and NYU Steinhardt are involved in this research process and are learning how to elicit children’s experience through qualitative methods, as well as learning how to build an international research partnership.

A child’s drawing is used to gain insight into her social experience at school.

You are studying violence against children with disabilities in Zambia.  What led you to your research?

Violence at school exists in every country, spanning across cultures, classes, education levels, abilities, incomes, and ethnic origins, and children with disabilities are at a significantly greater risk than their non-disabled peers. Although some one million children are living with disabilities in Zambia and the country is committed to education for all children, little is known about children with disabilities’ school experiences, including the violence that may be perpetuated against them. The experiences of these students are important to understand because violence in schools can not only cause physical harm and psychological distress, but also can affect a child’s ability to learn while in school.  Many students won’t remain in school long enough to reap the benefits of education as parents pull them out for safety reasons.

What are some of the risk factors that children with disabilities face?  

There is a complex interaction of child characteristics (e.g., type of impairment), societal biases (e.g., disability stigma), and other environmental factors (e.g., cultural beliefs and gender norms) that interact to cause greater violence against students with disabilities. Data from recent national school surveys indicated that the prevalence of non-disabled children being bullied by peers was 63% and virtually all (97%) have reported being physically punished by teachers over the past school year. Despite this high incidence of violence against non-disabled children, violence against children with disabilities is even higher in Zambia where there are greater stigmas associated with having a disability and less resources and services available for children with disabilities to succeed at school.

Photo of Janet Njelesani and members of the research team

Janet Njelesani (left) and members of the research team discuss how to adapt research tools to include students with all kinds of disabilities.

You come to your research as an occupational therapist.  How does this influence your point of view?

As an occupational therapy practitioner and scholar, I strive to carry out work that centers on illuminating issues of diversity, equity, and human rights for children and adults with disabilities living in low and middle-income countries. Being an occupational therapist has influenced how I carry out my research in regard to understanding that the participation and rights of persons with disabilities have traditionally been neglected in research and policy. Furthermore, client-centeredness, which assumes that clients are the experts in their lives, is core to the profession of occupational therapy, so I understand the need to partner and collaborate with persons with disabilities, their families, and representative organizations, in order to combine our complementary skills and knowledge to address the rights of persons with disabilities.

What do children reveal in their art work?

Arts-based methods are one of the many tools I use in my research because they can be adapted to meet the diverse needs of children, for example a child who has difficulty communicating may prefer to draw a picture, whereas a child with a vision impairment may prefer telling a story.
Children often reveal in their art what is most important to them, helping us to understand what supports are already in place in their school community and which we can build upon.  They also express their challenges. From an occupational therapy  perspective, this expression has therapeutic value as often they’ve never been given the opportunity to share these experiences before.

Photo of primary school in Lusaka, Zambia

This primary school in Lusaka, Zambia includes children with disabilities.

What interventions will help schools decrease violence against children?  

The Government of Zambia has committed to developing education policy and improving access to quality education for all Zambian children, including those with disabilities. As this study is being carried out in conjunction with researchers from the University of Zambia and policy makers in the Zambian Ministry of Education, findings can be used to inform policy and develop comprehensive and effective violence prevention that are inclusive of all children, including students with disabilities in Zambia.

Read more by Janet Njelesani:  From the day they are born: a qualitative study exploring violence against children with disabilities in West Africa

 

 

 

NYU OT Students Study Autism in London

This January professor Kristie Patten Koenig and adjunct professor Stephen Shore took OT students to London for the Steinhardt Global course United Photo of OT StudentsKingdom: Comparative Perspectives on Autism and Well-Being. The course examined literature and research findings for evidence that supports treatment of children and youth with autism in a variety of settings.  Students’ clinical and educational experiences were used as a basis to examine the efficacy and effectiveness of intervention through a strength based lens. Advances in strength based approaches including health and education were examined and a comparative analyses conducted.

We spoke with Francine Cacciola, a current MS in OT student, about her experience during the London class, what brought her to NYU OT, and how she sees herself as a future practitioner.

Photo of Francine CacciolaWhat made you want to participate in this global class, and what was your favorite part about the experience?

One of my greatest academic interests has always been working with children with autism. I have taken many courses and worked with many children on the spectrum, so when I learned about the course being offered in London I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about autism from a new perspective.

Aside from the opportunity to explore the beautiful city of London, the course offered so many diverse opportunities to learn from Kristie Koenig, professor and chair of NYU’s OT department, and Stephen Shore, professor at Adelphi University and autism self advocate, as well as other autism self advocates, researchers, and professionals in the field. Unlike classes that rely heavily on reading and lectures, this course was interactive and provided first hand experiences from those living with autism and working with autistic individuals. I especially loved the interdisciplinary approach that the course encompassed. The students represented over 10 different programs from NYU and learning alongside students from other related programs fostered collaboration of ideas, experiences, and perspectives.

How did your time in London influence your view of the current system of working with ASD individuals in the US?

I have always had an interest in working in the school system, so it was inspiring to see the ways in which London is advanced in focusing on strengths in autistic individuals, a focus that I will incorporate into my practice and encourage others to do as well. We had the opportunity to visit the SPA School, a specialized school for autistic children. The school was equipped with full size trampolines in the gymnasium to provide the children with vestibular input, a greenhouse for children participate in horticulture, and art, music, and drama programs to foster creativity and promote expression and socialization. The school also had a coffee shop next door in which all of the students worked shifts during school hours to learn life skills. The SPA school was an encompassment of what I feel all schools should be offering to students on the spectrum or not. As a future occupational therapist I plan to incorporate aspects of the SPA School and what I have learned through the course in London into my practice working with children in schools.

Why do you think viewing autism through a strength based lens is the most effective form of intervention?

One theme that Kristie and Stephen strongly emphasized throughout the course is the fact that we don’t build a life doing things we are bad at. So why should we, as professionals, push for working on things that autistic people are bad at, especially when each individual has so many strengths to focus on. Instead of working solely on remediating weaknesses, we should be working with autistic individuals on creating a life based on their strengths.

What activity during the time in London opened your eyes most?

It is hard to pick one experience that impacted me the most during the course in London because each day was so memorable. One particular experience that truly resonated with me was the morning that we had the producers, cast, and writers of children’s show Pablo, come speak to us.

Pablo is a children’s show featuring an autistic child as the main character who creates animal friends with his magic crayons which represent different characteristics of autism. It was so amazing to hear from the autistic writers and actors themselves about their process of creating the episodes and generating ideas based off of their own life experiences. Most of the media portrayals of autism in the US are written and acted by individuals who are not autistic, so hearing the raw, honest process that goes into creating Pablo opened my eyes to how the US should be portraying autism.