Assistive Technology Workshop Weekend at NYU Shanghai

From March 12-13, Anita Perr, in collaboration with Marianne Petit of NYU Tisch and NYU Shanghai, hosted the workshop at NYU Shanghai that focused on assistive technology at NYU. OT’s and OT students from the community attended as did developers, designers and media artist and students. The program included presentations by experts from China, Korea, Japan, and the US on topics such as research in exoskeletons, myoelectric prostheses, low-tech fabrication, and devices/technology used by people with vision impairments and blindness.

There were also hands-on sessions focusing on robotics and creativity in technology design. One overarching theme of the program was to stress the benefits of collaboration with potential users of the technology and professionals/others interested in development. Petit and Perr were funded by a grant from the NYU Global Institute for Advanced Study. Everyone in attendance learned a great amount, and the Department hopes that there will be continued collaboration of the participants in this workshop across professions and geography.

Frieda J. Behlen Scholarship Awardees for 2016 Announced

(From left to right: Brandi Stovall, Marisa Davison, and Elisabeth Bahr)

The NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Frieda J. Behlen Occupational Therapy Scholarships. This year’s awardees are Elisabeth Bahr, Brandi Stovall, and Marisa Davison. These three exceptional students will each receive a $3,000 tuition award for their Summer 2016 semester.

Congratulations to all three award recipients!

Elisabeth Bahr is interested in continuing her education with an OTD, as well as developing her newfound interest in research. She has a passion for holistic health and aims to conduct research on how yoga and mindfulness can blend with the holistic vision of occupational therapy. In addition to writing articles — her first of which was accepted in AOTA’s Student Pulse, “Benefits of Mindfulness for Students” — and doing research, she’s also interested in writing books for children, specifically in exploring disability and coping mechanisms in fiction and nonfiction works. Following research she did this semester, she has a newfound interest in different ways to provide disaster relief and global health intervention services, which she thinks could become a long-term focus.

Brandi Stovall is interested in working with infants and young children — something she’s been passionate about since she was first introduced to occupational therapy at a HeadStart program several years ago. Through her experiences and time spent with her grandmother, as well as her coursework in Heath Advisory, Geriatrics, Mental Health and Activity Group Processing, she believes she would also enjoy part-time work running groups in a community setting with older adults. Aside from work inside the classroom, she also closely monitors the current mental health issues facing the country, specifically incarceration, and has been closely following the upcoming election and how the profession will be impacted by the results.

Marisa Davison has been interested in pediatrics since beginning the OT program. However, during her coursework while in the program and volunteer observation in the inpatient geriatric psychiatric unit at Mount Sinai Hospital, her interest in mental health has blossomed. She hopes to combine her two interests in an effort to create a new perspective and approach to pediatric mental health that emphasizes the importance of social connections and capitalizes on clients’ individual strengths. She hopes to eventually pursue a doctorate degree and maintains the goal of teaching, in addition to staying well connected with the NYU OT program throughout her career.

The Frieda J. Behlen Occupational Therapy Scholarship is an endowed fund created principally by gifts from alumni of the occupational therapy programs at NYU. Income generated by the endowment is awarded annually to students who demonstrate superior academic achievement as well as financial need. With growth in the fund’s balance from new gifts, the amount given out has been able to increase and will continue to do so. The award takes the form of a tuition aid applied toward summer courses. Professional Program second-year students are eligible to apply.

The fund was named to honor the memory of Frieda J. Behlen, founder and longtime chair of NYU’s Department of Occupational Therapy. Ms. Behlen was known for never hesitating to find monies, even if from her own pocketbook, to enable deserving students to complete their studies.

To contribute to this and other Department of Occupational Therapy funds please visit

Occupational Therapy Study Finds Four Factors Predict Outcomes for Children with Low Birth Weight

Four factors – medical complications at birth, maternal education, early motor assessments, and early cognitive assessments – help predict later cognitive function and motor performance for children born early and at a very low birth weight, finds a new study authored by Tsu-Hsin Howe, associate professor of occupational therapy at NYU Steinhardt and published in Research in Developmental Disabilities.

Read full article


Disability in a Global Context: Tel Aviv

From January 3-16, 2016 NYU’s OT Department held its elective course, Disability in a Global Context, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Associate Professor Yael Goverover led the course in her home country, sharing not only her knowledge of occupational therapy in Israel, but also by sharing her Israeli culture with the group of 16 NYU students representing the departments of Occupational Therapy, Early Childhood Special Education, International Education, among others.

During the intensive two-week course, students studied and observed the intersection between culture, disability, treatment, and rehabilitation. The course examined the breadth of disabilities and medical services offered in Israel. In addition to lectures from medical professionals in various fields, the students visited hospitals, academic centers, veteran centers, and living facilities to look at how individuals receive both acute care and rehabilitation services in the country. Students even had the opportunity to experiment with state-of-the-art technology at various site visits. They experienced multi-sensory therapy in a Snoezelen used to treat patients with autism, developmental disabilities, and brain injury, and also witnessed and participated with the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment, a virtual reality technology that is used to treat a variety of physical disabilities.

Students also experienced the highlights of Israeli culture by visiting Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, hiking in the Negev desert, and eating their way through the markets. Professor Goverover hosted the students at her house for dinner and served a traditional Israeli meal.

At the end of the two weeks, the students on the trip were enthused about their entire experience. Despite the broad range of disciplines, they had all gained many professional and personal experiences that are applicable to their area of study and future careers.

Students posing for a photo after learning about and experiencing the Snoezelen Multi-Sensory Therapy at Beit Issie Shapiro Hospital

Students trying one of the virtual reality therapies offered at Sheba Medical Center Hospital

Summer 2016 in Shanghai: Intensive Occupational Therapy Courses

The NYU Department of Occupational Therapy is excited to announce our partnership with NYU Shanghai to offer students two new courses for Summer 2016. The two courses being offered in China are taught by NYU OT faculty and are open to NYU OT students with advisor approval. Graduate students from other NYU departments, as well as practicing professionals are also invited to enroll with permission from the course instructor.

Eligible students will be able to select from two classes for the Summer 2016 semester:

  • Sensory Processing Challenges and Opportunities: A Focus on Autism: In this course, students will learn about the sensory processing differences for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
  • Advanced Hand & Upper Quadrant Evaluation and Intervention: This course examines the anatomical, biomechanical, and would-healing theories that support current concept in hand and upper-limb rehabilitation.

Shanghai, one of China’s biggest and most vibrant cities, is home to NYU Shanghai’s new Pudong campus. It includes an extensive library and modern classroom and laboratory facilities. You can take a virtual tour of the new Pudong campus here.

For more information, visit NYU OT’s Shanghai page.

Now Open for Registration! Sensory Smart Strategies for Real-Life Challenges


Saturday, February 28, 2016
1:00 – 5:00 PM
NYU Kimmel Center
60 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012, Room 914

Click here to register for this workshop.

Sensory Smart Strategies for Real-Life Challenges
Practical Strategies and Solutions for Maximizing Participation of Children and Teens in Activities of Self Care, Learning and Play at Home, School and in the Community 

Lindsey Biel, MA ’99, OTR/L

Course Description 

This presentation will demystify sensory processing difficulties in children and teens, emphasizing practical strategies and solutions for maximizing participation in self-care, learning, and playing at home, at school, and in the community.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, participants will be able to:

  • Define sensory processing and recognize sensory processing challenges in children.
  • Understand how sensory challenges impact behavior and learning.
  • Implement at least 15 “sensory diet” activities and environmental modifications to help children reach and maintain an optimal state of arousal.
  • Use strategies to cope with sensitivity to noise, touch, movement, sights, taste, smell, and sensory overload.
  • Share “sensory smart” parenting and teaching strategies with others.
  • Learn about the special challenges for teenagers.

Presenter Bio

Lindsey Biel, MA, OTR/L, is a pediatric occupational therapist with a private practice in New York City who evaluates and treats children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders, sensory processing issues, developmental delays, physical disabilities and other challenges. Her latest book is Sensory Processing Challenges: Effective Clinical Work with Kids & Teens, published by W.W. Norton. She is also coauthor of the award-winning Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues, with a foreword by Temple Grandin and co-creator of the Sensory Processing Master Class DVD program. She teaches parents, teachers, therapists, doctors, and others across the country.


NYU OT 75th Anniversary Celebration


Alumni Spotlight: Danielle Butin Creates Foundation to Reduce Waste at Home and Promote Health Abroad

Alumni Spotlight: Danielle Butin Creates Foundation to Reduce Waste at Home and Promote Health Abroad

Butin graduated from NYU Steinhardt with a BS in Occupational Therapy in 1985.  She was drawn to Occupational Therapy because of its holistic approach to disabilities; pairing clinical expertise with individualized evaluation and intervention.  After graduating, Butin worked for many years as an occupational therapist serving older adults and later went on to complete her MPH at Columbia University.  She is now Founder and Executive Director of Afya Foundation, a medical supply recovery organization launched in 2007.

Read full article




Now Open for Registration! Integrating Yoga, Tai Chi, & Feldenkrais with OT Practices Workshop

As the second event of our Department’s 75th anniversary celebrations, we’re pleased to host:

Integrating Yoga, Tai Chi, and Feldenkrais with OT Practices
How Eastern and Western traditions can be integrated into occupational therapy practice to promote occupational performance throughout the continuum of care.
Presented by alumnus Richard Sabel, MA ’97, MPH, OTR, GCFP and Bill Gallagher, PT, CMY, CYT

Event Details
Date: Saturday, November 14, 2015
Time: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: NYU Kimmel Center, Room 905/907
Address: 60 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012
Registration Cost: $125 Non-Affiliated Professionals, $100 NYU Affiliated Professionals (Alumni, Faculty, and Staff), $30 Current NYU Students

For more information please visit:

Register Online Here

This event is limited to 50 participants and 3.75 contact hours are available upon completion.

An Interview with OT Blogger Sarah Lyon (’11)

Sarah Lyon

Sarah Lyon is the founder of the well-known OT blog, Potential, and she also writes as the OT expert for In an interview with SpOTlight, Lyon talks about her work with Potential, her time at NYU, and life after graduation.

Where did you get the idea for Potential?
Right after I graduated from NYU, I moved back to Nebraska­– my home state­–and started work at a hospital in a small town. Like NYU had taught me, I sought out a place of employment with a good mentor, and for the first couple months had the opportunity to work alongside an OT that I respected. But due to life circumstances, she had to leave the practice after a couple months. So all of a sudden, I was working by myself in an isolated area. Like any good millennial, I took to the Internet for resources to help me with my practice and simply could not find the information I wanted. Even the AOTA website was an older version and was really hard to access.

I saw a big gap in accessible information for OTs. So I started blogging in 2012. It was something I did in my spare time, off and on, for a couple of years. Then about a year ago, I moved to Chicago and while I was waiting for my license to get approved by the state, I started blogging more regularly and my numbers started ticking up. This made me feel like the information I was sharing was meeting a need. I’ve been blogging regularly ever since.

So, is this your full-time job?
I tell people it’s a part-time job– the hours vary from week to week. I’m not in clinical practice right now, because I’ve been able to generate enough income to make things work and I really enjoy the blogging process.

Is this something you ever saw yourself doing for a living while you were in school?
When I was in school, I was passionate about patient education. I was fascinated by the growing number of avenues for patients to learn about their condition and their treatment options. So I had a passion for sharing quality information, but didn’t know what a good outlet for that would be. I definitely didn’t anticipate myself writing this much.

You’re still young for having been practicing and now starting your own blog. Even with the experience you have, do you think your age has played a role in how people view you as an OT?
Sometimes I wonder if being a younger OT hurts my legitimacy. I certainly haven’t experienced everything. But, at the end of the day, there seems to be a need for quality information, and as long as the writing is solid and the piece is thoughtful and truthful, people seem to be open to hearing from a younger voice.

What do you hope for Potential in the next five years?
One opportunity that I’m particularly excited about is a new section called Rehab Share, which is place on my site where practitioners can post items they’ve created for their practice – anything from daily documentation forms to e-books. An online marketplace like this would have been especially helpful when I began working by myself in a small-town general hospital. I was generating so many items from scratch. It was frustrating because I knew there were OTs around the country who generated similar forms and policies already, but I didn’t know how to access them. I’m hoping that this new marketplace will be a helpful resource for OTs and that it will continue to grow.

What drew you to NYU’s OT program?
During my senior year at St. Olaf College, I decided last minute that I wanted to be an occupational therapist. At the time, I had it in my mind that there were good OT programs and not-so-good OT programs. I definitely wanted to go to a good one, so I looked up the top-10 OT programs and chose to apply to schools in cities where I knew people.

I’m thankful for the education I received at NYU. The quality of the education has given me a lot of confidence in my OT practice. Also, as I’ve begun writing about OT, the network at NYU has been invaluable. Five years out, my classmates are still my first phone call when I have a question.

What has your relationship with your fellow NYU alumni been like?
It’s been fun reconnecting with some of my classmates through the blog. I’ve had the opportunity to interview several of them. It has been fun to see the different routes people have taken. I’ve been really inspired at the success so many of my classmates have had early in their careers – from leading departments to opening their own businesses. I’ve seen a trend of my classmates really excelling.

After having been out of practicing OT for a while now, do you want to go back to it at some point?
Absolutely. Even if I decide to keep focusing on writing about OT, I know I need to experience OT on the ground. I also miss the interactions with patients and would love to at least pick up 1-2 shifts per week. But, for now, I have a toddler and am enjoying spending time with him.

What’s your favorite part about what you do?
One of my favorites is responding to peoples’ comments and interacting with people on social media.  The other highlight is simply putting out good information about OT that’s engaging and easy to read. Writing for consumers is a particularly fun challenge because I have to push myself to describe occupational therapy without all of the industry lingo that we we’ve become entrenched in.