Kristie Koenig Receives NSF Grant for IDEAS Project in Collaboration with the ASD Nest Support Project and Others

The IDEAS Project: Inventing, Designing, and Engineering on the Autism Spectrum was awarded a 3 year, $1.1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant! The project is a collaboration between Education Development Center, Inc.’s Center for Children and Technology (EDC|CCT), the ASD Nest Support Project at Steinhardt, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, New York Hall of Science, and SRI International’s Center for Education and Human Services.

IDEAS will work with three New York City Department of Education ASD Nest middle schools and the special educators and therapists to collaborate with engineers and the New York Hall of Science for after school clubs that foster interests in STEM in order to develop meaningful occupations and career pathways.

This innovative project will help build new knowledge about how theoretically grounded and research based techniques for supporting students with ASD can be incorporated into an existing after school program.

EDC|CCT led by Wendy Martin, PhD is the Principal Investigator. ‪Steinhardt Occupational Therapy professor and chair Kristie Patten Koenig is the Co-Principal Investigator, and will direct a subaward that includes both NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and NYU Tandon School of Engineering, along with Co-Investigator, Luke Dubois, Co-Director and Associate Professor of Integrated Digital Media.

Dr. Koenig is also the Principal Investigator of the ASD Nest Support Project – NYU Steinhardt, which is funded by the NYC Department of Education every year to support the NYC DOE ASD Nest program. ASD Nest has over 1000 children with ASD being educated in inclusive classrooms, in 39 schools in all five boroughs of Manhattan.


Q & A with Retiring Occupational Therapy Professor Jim Hinojosa

In an interview with SpOTlight, Hinojosa talks about his 25 years at NYU, his reflections on the profession, and life after retirement.

How did you get your start in Occupational Therapy?

I got into OT by accident. I was a biochemistry major at Colorado State, giving tours to prospective students. I used to joke on the tour that the home economics program brought women into the school. Well, the Dean overheard me one day and let me know that there were many programs under that home economics umbrella, one of them being OT at the time. I looked into it and it ended up being a combination or what I really wanted to do. I got to take all the basic sciences that I was interested in and also got to take art, weaving, and other interesting topics. It really worked for me.

What was your path to NYU?

After completing my master’s at Columbia and my doctorate at NYU, I was an associate professor at Downstate Medical Center-SUNY. The chair of the Occupational Therapy department at NYU at the time knew there was an upcoming opening for the director of post-professional programs, so I applied and was hired. After five years, I was promoted to a full professor, and I’ve been here ever since. During my time here I taught primarily theory. My whole core knowledge that I’m known for is the theoretical base of practice and how it influences day-to-day practice.

What were your favorite aspects of working in the department?

I taught mostly post-professional classes that are relatively small, and therefore I got to create assignments that relied on a lot of involvement with the students. It helped me really get to know them as they’re developing various projects or looking at a particular theory. Really getting to know the students as individuals had been the most rewarding.

Do you have any stand-out memories from your 25 years here?

One memory that sticks out is that of so many student’s achievements after they have finished the program. Many of my doctoral students have surpassed me and my expectations of what I thought they would achieve, worldwide. I have past students who are now deans in schools across the country, program directors, and directors of research in their institutions. One of the most meaningful experiences is when I get to go to a conference and students come up to me and thank me for particular focus that they have or something that I had offered in a class. It feels good to know their time in the department influenced them in such a positive way.

What about life after NYU? Any big plans for retirement?

I think that with retirement will come more control of my own time. I don’t want to make too many particular plans or goals right now, but I want to use it as an opportunity to grow in a way that I will find interesting, like trying out some volunteer work. Also, I have to find a way to fit all the contents of my NYU office into my current (small) apartment!

What kind of legacy would you like to leave at Steinhardt?

I’d like to think I will leave the legacy of a strong focus on theory-based practices in the classroom, as well as some of the things that I introduced into the curriculum like textbooks that are still being used today. Also, the conceptualization of both the PhD program and the clinical doctorate program. My colleagues and students are all incredible people. They are skilled, knowledgeable, and stimulating to work with. I’ve been very fortunate.


NYU ASD Nest Support Project Kickoff 2016

4th Annual Kickoff!

Last week a group of 350 educators, professionals, and advocates gathered to kick off the school year for the NYU ASD Nest Support Project and the NYC DOE’s ASD Nest Program at the United Federation of Teachers Headquarters in downtown Manhattan. This year’s theme is Together in Difference: Embracing Neurodiversity. Neurodiversity, the concept that neurological differences are as common as any other human variation and that these differences enrich society, is guiding the way Nest teachers and therapists approach the school year.

The DOE’s ASD Nest Program is New York City’s school inclusion program for higher-functioning students with ASD. ”Nested” within supportive neighborhood schools, the ASD Nest program helps children learn how to function well academically, behaviorally, and socially, providing a therapeutic environment within a grade-appropriate academic environment.

The NYU ASD Nest Support Project is one of several community-focused programs serving special populations hosted by NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development’s MetroCenter. Occupational Therapy’s own chair and associate professor Kristie Koenig serves as a Principal Investigator for the project, and conducts professional development for ASD Nest OT’s and PT’s. The project provides training, professional development, and on-site consultation for teachers, therapists, and administrators, as well as workshops and a newsletter for ASD Nest parents.

The kickoff provided educators with tools, training, and inspiration from speakers and breakout sessions throughout the day. Everyone left energized and ready to tackle the new school year with love, understanding, and guidance in the classroom; and the notion that children are more alike than they are different.


This year’s presenters included:

David E. Kirkland, Executive Director of NYU MetroCenter

Dorothy Siegel, Project Director, NYU ASD Nest Support Project

Aaron Lanou, Co-Project Director, NYU ASD Nest Support Project

David Finch, Presenter/Author of The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband


The day also featured the below breakout sessions:

A.C.T. Like an Adult: Successful Transition for Square Pegs
David Finch, Kickoff 2016 Keynote speaker and author

How Could Someone Not Love a Bearded Dragon?
Lauren Hough, Director of Coaching Program, ASD Nest Support Project

There’s Always a Pattern
Brandy Stanfill, Senior Training Specialist, ASD Nest Support Project

Destination: The Middleground
Susan Brennan, SDI Lead Developer, ASD Nest Support Project

Stuff You Can Do for Kids with Free Money
ASD Nest Staff Grant Awardees

Creating Comic Strip Conversations
Allison Brown, Director of Professional Development, ASD Nest Support Project

DynamICONs: Visual Supports for Concrete Communication
Aaron Lanou, Co-Project Director, ASD Nest Support Project



And a self-advocate panel featuring:


Roman Haberli

Paul Kotler

Rachel Pineda


Moderated by Allison Brown


Project co-director Aaron Lanou

Attendees getting settled before the presentations










Keynote speaker David Finch addresses the crowd

NYU Steinhardt represents at the check-in table



2016 Anne Cronin Mosey Lectureship

In 2003, the Anne Cronin Mosey Lectureship began at the NYU Department of Occupational Therapy to honor the legacy of former Department chair Anne Mosey by addressing controversial issues facing the profession. This past March, distinguished NYU Professor of Occupational Therapy Jim Hinojosa (PhD, OT/L, BCP, FAOTA) presented the Mosey Lecture’s 2016 Keynote Address. Hinojosa’s lecture focused on reality and fantasy. With most occupational therapy practitioners, scholars, and the American Occupational Therapy Association believing that occupation is the core and focus of occupational therapy, can a therapist accept that occupation is the core of OT and still provide important, relevant occupational therapy interventions that are not categorized as occupation-based or focused? In addition, are those justifiable interventions and should the profession reconsider the monistic viewpoint it has so widely adopted?

The evening began with an Alumni Wine Reception celebrating the Department’s 75th anniversary. Former students, faculty and staff were able to reconnect and also to celebrate Hinojosa’s time with the Department, as he will be retiring at the end of the 2015-2016 academic year. Faculty and alumni spoke about his far-reaching influence and their memories, and the Department’s Professional Program class representatives (Briana Teasley, Alexia Santiago, Raisa Velez-Bruckman, and Corrie Goldberg) presented a short farewell video for Hinojosa that they put together with their fellow classmates.

Dinner preceded the keynote lecture and a vibrant Q&A session wrapped up the evening. In all, the three-hour event was a success and not only were those in attendance able to hear a keynote lecture from Hinojosa, but were also able to reflect on his remarkable career.

Jim Hinojosa’s keynote lecture can be found here.

Photos from the event can be found here.


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