How Student Strengths Can Help Close the Autism Employment Gap

Twelve years ago, Stephen Shore was visiting Urakawa, a small town in Japan, where he met the mother of a teenage boy with autism. The boy had limited verbal skills, and his mother was worried about what kind of work he might find as an adult.

Shore, an adjunct professor in NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Occupational Therapy, asked her the same question he always asks parents of children with autism: What is it your child likes to do?

The mother said her son liked to spend time in the basement sticking his finger under the faucet and spraying water at high pressure. There could be a number of sensory reasons why the boy enjoyed this, Shore said, including the feeling of pressure on his thumb, the joy of watching water arc across the room, or the sound of water splashing against the wall.

“And that is a gift because it tells us, ‘OK, now we know what he’s interested in: spraying water at high pressure,’” he said. “So that means considering jobs that might involve spraying water at high pressure.”

Focusing on a young person’s interests as a clue to career happiness seems like a given. When a girl shows an interest in animals, she might be encouraged to consider a future career in veterinary sciences. When a boy exhibits an interest in drawing, he may be invited to sign up for art classes. And yet, when children with autism show an interest in a subject, there can be a stigma – many times leading to their interest being labeled “restrictive” or “obsessive.”

“It’s important not to pathologize these strengths,” said Kristie Patten Koenig, an associate professor and department chair for NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Occupational Therapy.

As an example, Koenig said her son, who does not have autism, used to talk a lot about baseball statistics and history, “but we don’t ascribe any weakness to that. We don’t say he’s obsessed or has a ‘restricted interest.’ But for kids who are on the autism spectrum, many people view it as more of a pathology or a deficit versus seeing the potential there, because of the depth of the interest.”

She said removing the pathology from these interests not only eliminates a negative stigma but allows members of the autism community to thrive in situations that capitalize on their strengths. They can be helped mentally and socially, but also occupationally.

Read the full article on our online program OT@NYU‘s blog.

Tracy Chippendale Receives Stroll Safe Grant

Dr. Tracy Chippendale

Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy Tracy Chippendale recently received a grant from NY Community Trust to conduct a feasibility study for “Stroll Safe”, an outdoor fall prevention program that she developed. The 7-week program, designed for active community dwelling seniors, focuses on safe strategy use to prevent stumbles, trips, slips, and falls outdoors. The purpose of the study is to examine the feasibility of the program and data collection protocol to plan a multisite clinical trial.

The topics addressed in the once a week, 7-week outdoor falls prevention program, for which a treatment manual has been developed, are based on the results of a survey conducted of community dwelling older adults that identified gaps in knowledge and use of prevention strategies, and the related literature. The program includes pre-set modules, however, participants will be able to voice individual concerns and problem-solve solutions during group discussions, and will discuss topics such as self-advocacy regarding reporting problems to the city.

Participants will be asked to keep daily diaries of stumbles, trips, slips, and falls from the time they enroll in the study until two months following the completion of the program. Dr. Chippendale is currently conducting the study.

Faculty Achievements: Grants and Publications 2016-2017

A complete list of achievements by the faculty of the NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy.

Grants and Awards:

Tracy Chippendale

“Stroll Safe”: An outdoor fall prevention program. Funder: NY Community Trust. Dates of project:February 2017-February 2018. Role: PI Total budget: $20,000

Janet Njelesani

2017: The landscape of child disability in Rwanda funded by UNICEF. $320,000.

Kristie Patten Koenig

Co-Principal Investigator: “A Comprehensive Program Evaluation of the ASD Nest Program: Student and School Community Impact” (Co-Principal Investigator Cheri Fanscelli, Ph.D.) FAR Fund. Funded for 1/1/17 to 12/31/17. $50,000.

Publications:

Tracy Chippendale

Chippendale, T. & Lee, C-D. (accepted).Characteristics and fall experiences of older adults with and without fear of falling outdoors. Aging & Mental Health.

Chippendale, T., Gentile, P. A. & James, M. K. (accepted). Characteristics and outcomes of falls among older adult trauma patients: Considerations for injury prevention programs. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal.

Yael Goverover

Engel, L., Chui, A., Goverover, Y., &  Dawson, D. (Accepted: 2/3/17). Optimizing activity and participation outcomes for people with self-awareness impairments related to acquired brain injury: An interventions systematic review. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.

Jim Hinojosa

Hinojosa, J. (In Press). How society’s philosophy has shaped occupational therapy practice for the past 100 years. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy

Tsu-Hsin Howe

Howe, T.-H., Sheu, C.-F., & Hinojosa, J. Teaching Theory in occupational therapy using a cooperative learning: A mixed method study (Accepted). Journal of Allied Health.

Lee, T.-I., Howe, T.-H., Chen, H.-L., & Wang, T.-N. (2016). Predicting handwriting legibility in Taiwanese elementary school children. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70, 7006220020. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.016865

Kristie Patten Koenig

Patten Koenig, K. & Hough, L. (published online first January, 2017). Characterization and utilization of preferred interests: A survey of adults on the autism spectrum. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health.

 

OT Speaker Series: Cognitive-Functional Lecture

This semester, we were pleased to welcome Professor Adina Maeir and Dr. Ruthie Traub Bar Ilan of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Professor Maeir and Dr. Traub Bar Ilan presented their 10 year summary of research and clinical activity of their project Cognitive-Functional (Cog-Fun) Intervention in Occupational Therapy for Individuals with ADHD.

Cog-Fun is an integrated cognitive functional treatment approach designed to address the multifaceted implications of ADHD on the individuals participation in daily occupations.This approach is based on the understanding that the core neurocognitive executive deficits in ADHD interact with psychosocial factors that impact daily functioning and quality of life. The Cog-Fun change mechanisms for improving functioning and quality of life include occupation-based meta-cognitive learning, behavioral learning and environmental adaptation, as well as a positive and empowering therapeutic relationship with clients and their families.

Professor Maeir and Dr. Traub Bar Ilan presented their data as well as showed video interviews with their clients as well as sessions with them to show the impact this treatment approach can have.

 

 

 

NYU at the 2017 AOTA Conference

 

The American Occupational Therapy Association held its Annual Conference & Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia, PA from March 30 to April 2, 2017.  This milestone event had record breaking attendance with over 14,000 attendees. The theme for this year’s conference focused on the History of the OT profession. The conference also had an extra celebratory tone this year with a special Centennial Bash and Centennial Ball for attendees.

For the third year, NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Occupational Therapy 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. We also had a number of student and faculty presenters.

The booth also provided an opportunity for prospective students to learn more about the post-professional MA, OTD, and PhD programs. We were also excited to promote our new online OTD program starting Fall 2017. Faculty members and staff were on hand to answers questions about the curriculum, admissions requirements, and our remuneration program.

We hope to see fellow alums next year at the 2018 AOTA conference in Salt Lake City!

See below for a complete list of department presentations and posters:

Faculty:

Kristie Patten Koenig, Associate Professor

State of the Science Symposium:
“Resilience: Occupational therapy and its role in helping to adapt to adversity”. AOTF State of the Science Symposium Speaker at the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference, Philadelphia, PA March 2017.

Presentation: Shifting to Strengths and Success: Authentic Partnerships Between OT and Autistic Self-Advocates. With Stephan Shore

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Yael Goverover, Associate Professor

Presentation: Assessing Functional Cognition: Its Importance in Occupational Therapy Research and Practice
Contributing Authors: Carolyn M. Baum, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA; Timothy J. Wolf, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA; Joan Toglia, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

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Grace Kim, Assistant Professor

Poster: The Effects of Attentional Focus on Upper Extremity Motor Training Using Robotics With Persons After Chronic Stroke
Contributing Author: Jim Hinojosa, PhD, OTR, FAOTA; Mitchell Batavia, PhD, PT; Ashwini Rao, EdD, OTR, FAOTA

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Tracy Chippendale, Assistant Professor and Patricia Gentile, Adjunct Professor

Poster: Indoor and Outdoor Falls Among Older Adult Trauma Patients: A Comparison of Patient Characteristics and Outcomes

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Janet Njelesani, Assistant Professor

Conversations That Matter: Doing, being, & becoming a tenured professor: Conversations for junior faculty on the tenure track.

Poster: Test Construction of the Occupational Repertoire Development Measure- Parent (ORDM-P)

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Sally Poole, Clinical Assistant Professor

Short Course: Evidence-Based Occupational Therapy Intervention for Patients With Distal Radius Fractures. With Debra T. Zizik

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Tsu-Hsin Howe, Associate Professor and Jim Hinojosa, Professor Emeritus

Poster: A Postmodern Approach to Clinical Reasoning in Occupational Therapy

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Students:

Chien-Ying Yang, PhD Candidate

Poster: Motor Performance of Children With Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Fourth to Sixth Grades: Differences Among Subtypes
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Yun Shi PhD Candidate and Tsu-Hsin Howe, Associate Professor

Poster: Confirmatory Factor Analysis of the Behavior-Based Feeding Questionnaire (BBFQ) for Taiwanese Mothers of Preterm Infants

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Brocha Stern, PhD Candidate
Poster: Time To Learn: A Neurobehavioral Approach After Musculoskeletal Hand Injury

Poster: Older and Happier? Associations Among Age, Affective Symptomology, and Quality of Life in Multiple Sclerosis

Poster: Coaching in Hand therapy: Strategies for engagement and empowerment, with Mark Hardison

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Margaret Waskiewicz, OTD student with Steve Van Lew, Daniel Geller, and Liz Martori
Poster: Adult MTBI and Sensory processing

Poster: Determining the efficacy of OT treatment of postconcussive syndrome, with Elizabeth Martori

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Professional Program Recent graduates:

Catherine Stalter (MS Program), Elisabeth Bahr (MS Program), Norhora Guzman (MA Program), with Kristie Patten Koenig, Associate Professor

Poster: Afya: A Descriptive Study of Community-Based Long-Term Rehabilitation Project in Post-Earthquake Haiti

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Kristina Fusco (MS Program), Erin Devine (MS Program), Talia Zeitz (MS Program) with Kristie Patten Koenig, Associate Professor

Poster 4049 – Afya: The Impact of a Long-Term Rehabilitation Project on Pain and Function Outcomes in Post-Earthquake Haiti

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Marisa Davison (MS Program), Cara Flinter (MS Program), Nylah Lummer (MS Program), Katelyn Ryan (MS Program), Mallori Seliger (MS Program) with Grace Kim, Assistant Professor

Poster: The Use of Web-Based Resources To Facilitate Stroke Rehabilitation

 

Janet Njelesani Receives Grant from UNICEF

The Department congratulates Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy Janet Njelesani on her recent grant from UNICEF. Dr. Njelesani has worked with UNICEF throughout her career, and her research currently focuses on enhancing equity for children with disabilities in low and middle-income countries.

Dr. Njelesani was awarded funding in the amount of $320,226 from UNICEF. The funding supports the project, entitled “The landscape of child disability in Rwanda”, and will support the development of national child disability indicators for Rwanda, which align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The overall goal of the project is to improve the monitoring of the rights of children with disabilities in Rwanda, building on the work of the Government of Rwanda and the National Council of Persons with Disabilities. The project is led by Dr. Njelesani, in collaboration with the University of Toronto’s International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation.

Study by Kristie Patten Koenig: Adults With Autism See Interests as Strengths, Career Paths

Department of Occupational Therapy Associate Professor and Chair Kristie Patten Koenig recently published the findings of a new study in the journal Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, which found that adults on the autism spectrum see their interests as possible fields of study and career paths, as well as ways to mitigate anxiety.

The findings continue a shift away from perceiving strong interests as a negative, and toward a perspective that recognizes the strengths and potential of these personal pursuits.

To read more about the study and its findings, visit Steinhardt At a Glance.

ASD Nest Support Project Awarded Contract by NYC DOE to Continue Work Supporting Autism Program

The NYU ASD Nest Support Project has been awarded a $929,100, one-year contract from the New York City Department of Education to provide support services for its ASD Nest Program, which now serves more than 1,000 children with autism in 39 public schools across the city. The grant also includes funding to train Department of Education staff working in non-ASD Nest schools on evidence-based and promising strategies to help children with autism.

“We are thrilled to continue working with the Department of Education as the ASD Nest Program expands into new classrooms, from Staten Island to the Bronx, and are proud of the work that is done in New York City schools every day to help students on the autism spectrum  reach their full potential,” said Kristie Patten Koenig, principal investigator of the ASD Nest Support Project and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

The ASD Nest Program is the New York City Department of Education’s integrated co-teaching program for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Nestled within supportive neighborhood schools, the ASD Nest program helps children with autism learn how to function well academically, behaviorally, and socially in school and in their community. The goal is to provide a therapeutic environment and supports within a grade-appropriate academic setting.

NYU’s ASD Nest Support Project – housed within the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools at NYU Steinhardt – provides training, professional development, and on-site consultation for teachers, therapists, and administrators. The project’s team, led by Patten Koenig and project co-directors Dorothy Siegel and Aaron Lanou, also conducts research, provides workshops and a newsletter for ASD Nest parents, gives presentations at national professional organizations, and writes articles and other publications on relevant topics.

NYU’s partnership around autism with New York City’s Department of Education and Hunter College’s School of Education began in 2001; it aimed to fill a gap in the programs offered for children on the autism spectrum who were capable of doing grade-level work. The fruit of that collaboration was the ASD Nest program, piloted at P.S. 32 in Brooklyn in September 2003.

The ASD Nest Program continues to grow in every neighborhood of New York City. Now, in the 2016-17 school year, the program serves just over 1,000 children with autism in 256 fully inclusive ASD Nest classrooms in 21 elementary schools and 18 middle and high schools.

 

 

Books from our Faculty: Changes in the Brain by Yael Goverover

The department would like to congratulate Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy Yael Goverover on the publication of her new book, Changes in the Brain: Impact on Daily Life, edited by Professor Goverover and Nancy D. Chiaravalloti.

This informative text details the many changes in everyday life as the result of injury, illness, or aging affecting the brain. Experts across brain-related fields trace mechanisms of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, TBI, and dementia as they impact regions of the brain, and resulting cognitive, emotional, sensory, and motor impairments as they contribute to deficits in personal and social functioning. In addition to symptoms and behaviors associated with insults to the brain (and the extent to which the brain can adapt or self-repair), chapters provide cogent examples of how societal and cultural expectations can shape the context and experience of disability. The book’s focus on everyday activities brings new clarity to diverse links between symptoms and diagnosis, brain and behavior.

Included in the coverage:

·The aging brain and changes in daily function.

·Stroke: impact on life and daily function.

·Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the impact on daily life.

·Everyday life with cancer.

·Real-world impact of HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment.

·Disability and public policy in America.

·Living after brain changes, from the patient’s perspective.

Rich in empirical data and human insight, Changes in the Brain gives neuropsychologists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, and rehabilitation nurses a robust new understanding of the daily lives of patients, both in theory and in the real world.

 

Faculty Achievements: Grants and Publications

A complete list of achievements by the faculty of the Department of Occupational Therapy.

Grants:

Kristie Koenig, Associate Professor and Department Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy

Co-Principal Investigator: “IDEAS: Inventing, Designing and Engineering on the Autism Spectrum”. (Principal Investigator Wendy Martin, PhD). National Science Foundation (NSF). Funded for 9/16 to 8/19. $215,660 (subaward).

Principal Investigator: “Ghanaian Institute for the Future of Teaching and Education (GIFTED) Women’s Fellowship Program- Phase II”. (Co-Investigator Rose Vukovic, Ph.D.). Banco Santander. Funded for 4/16 to 12/18. $418,000

Principal Investigator: “Oh the Places Students with ASD Can Go: Development of the ASD Nest High School Model. FAR Fund. Funded 9/30/15-10/1/16. $50,000

Principal Investigator: “NYU ASD Nest Support Project.” NYC Department of Education. 7/1/15-6/30/16. $1,375,000

 

Anita Perr, Clinical Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy

User-centered Stroke Rehabilitation Video Game Using the Kinect. Funded by NYU Research Challenge Fund. $12,000. July 1, 2016- June 30, 2017.

NYU Global Institute of Advanced Study. (2015-16)). Awarded to Anita Perr and Marianne Petit as co-PIs. $30,000; funded to develop and hold NYU/NYU Shanghai Assistive Technology Workshop. Workshop held 3/12-13/2016.

 

Publications:

Yael Goverover, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

Goverover, Y., Haas, S., & DeLuca, J. (Accepted May 2, 2016). Money Management Activities in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Genova, H., Genualdi, A., Goverover, Y., Chiaravalloti, N. D., Marino, C., & Lengenfelder, J. (Accepted March 29, 2016). An Investigation of the Impact of Facial Affect Recognition Impairments in Moderate to Severe TBI on Fatigue, Depression, and Quality of Life. Social Neuroscience.

Goverover, Y., Genova, H. Smith, A., Chiaravalloti, N., & Lengenfelder, J. (accepted March 16, 2016). Changes in activity participation following traumatic brain injury. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.

Goverover, Y., Chiaravalloti, N., & DeLuca, J. (2016). Brief International Cognitive Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis (BICAMS) and performance of everyday life tasks: Actual reality. Multiple Sclerosis, 22, 544-550.

 

Kristie Koenig, Associate Professor and Department Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy

Tomcheck, S., & Patten Koenig, K. (2016). Occupational Therapy Practice  Guidelines for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association.

 

Gerald Voelbel, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

Voelbel, G.T., Wu, Z., Tortarolo, C., & Bates, M.E. (2016). Executive Dysfunction and Processing Speed Predict Nonverbal Problem Solving Deficits in a Substance Use Disorder Population. International Journal of Brain Disorders and Treatment. 2(1), 1-5.

Halkitis, P.N., D’Avanzo, P., Stults, C.B., Levy, M.D., Krause, K.D., Kupprat, S.A., Voelbel.G.T., Urbina, A.E., Kapadia, F. (2016). Neurocognitive functioning in an urban clinic-based sample of adults ages 50 and older living with HIV. Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Service.


Tsu-Hsin Howe, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

Lee, T.-I., Howe, T.-H., Chen, H.-L., & Wang, T.-N. (In Press). Predicting handwriting legibility in Taiwanese elementary school children. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70,

Hinojosa, J. & Howe, T.-H. (2016). EPortfolio: The scholarly capstone for the practice doctoral degree in occupational therapy. Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 3(4), Article 10, DOI: 10.15453/2168-6408.1203.

Shi, Y. & Howe, T.-H. (2016). A survey of occupational therapy practice in Beijing. Occupational Therapy International, 23(2), 186-195, DOI: 10.1002/oti.1423

Howe, T.-H., Sheu, C.-F., Hsu, Y.-W., Wang, T.-N., &Wang, L.-W. (2016). Early neurodevelopmental assessments as predictors of neuromotor outcomes in preterm children at 5 years of age. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 48, 231-241; DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2015.11.003

 

Janet Njelesani, Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

Njelesani J., Fehlings L., Tsang A., Polatajko H. (2016). The influence of context on occupational selection in sport-for-development programming. Societies; 6(3), 24; doi:10.3390/soc6030024

Njelesani, J. (2016). Rethinking rehabilitation: Theory and practice book review. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy; doi: 10.1177/0008417416651962

 

Tracy Chippendale, Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

Chen, S. & Chippendale, T. (2016). Factors associated with IADL independence: Implications for OT practice. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, Early online.

Chippendale, T., Gentile, P. A., James, M. K. & Melnic, G. (2016). Indoor and outdoor falls among older adult trauma patients: A comparison of patient characteristics, risk factors, and outcomes. Geriatrics and Gerontology International, Early online.

Chippendale, T. (2016). The “Aging Other”. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 17, 96.

Bear-Lehman, J., Chippendale, T. & Albert, S. (2016). Approaches to Screening and Assessment in Gerontological Occupational Therapy. In Barney & Perkinson (Eds.) Occupational Therapy with Aging Adults: Promoting Quality of Life through Collaborative Practice. St. Louis: Elsevier.

 

Jim Hinojosa, Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

Koenig, K.P. & Hinojosa, J. (In Press). Additional developmental assessments and treatment. In D. Kober, & D. Treadwell-Deering (Eds.) The Handbook of Autism: A Concise Guide. Singapore: World Scientific

Hinojosa, J. & Howe, T-Hsin (2016) EPortfolio: The Scholarly Capstone for the Practice Doctoral Degree in Occupational Therapy. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 4(3), Article 10. http://dx.doi.org/10.15453/2168-6408.1203

Kalina, J. T., & Hinojosa, J. (2016). A Protocol for Improving Loneliness in People with Multiple Sclerosis. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 32, 130-145 doi:10.1080/0164212X.2015.1130106

Koenig, K.P. & Hinojosa, J. (In press). Additional developmental assessments and treatment. In D. Kober, & D. Treadwell-Deering (Eds.) The Handbook of Autism: A Concise Guide.