Outcomes of an Interdisciplinary Therapy Program for Children with Disabilities

Grant Winners

  • Rebecca Rosenthal, J.D. – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Eric Shamus, M.S., Ph.D. – College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Melissa Tovin, M.A., Ph.D. – College of Health Care Sciences
  • Sarah Valley-Gray, Psy.D. – Center for Psychological Studies
  • Mary Ann Lowe, SLP.D. – Abraham S. Fischler School of Education
  • Julia Harper, OTR, M.A. – Therapeeds Inc./Camp Integrations
  • Dena Paige, Student – College of Health Care Sciences

Dean

  • Richard Davis – College of Health Care Sciences

Abstract

Award Winners

Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), developmental delays (DD), or learning disabilities (LD) constitute a growing population in need of specialized services. These children often present with a wide range of impairments that interfere with independence in daily activities. Clinical practice and research show that aggressive interventions such as physical, occupational, speech and language, and behavior therapy can greatly improve a childís functioning. This study represents a collaborative and interdisciplinary effort among university faculty, community partners, and students, to provide and evaluate a creative alternative to traditional therapy for an underserved population of children in the community. Purpose: This study will investigate short and long-term outcomes of intensive, short duration, interdisciplinary therapy conducted in group format for children with disabilities, and parent adherence to a home program.

Method: Qualitative data will be collected from questionnaires completed by parents of approximately 24 children, ages 4 through 12, diagnosed with ASD, DD, or LD. The Piers- Harris Childrenís Self-Concept Scale 2 and Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOT) will be administered to the children to evaluate changes in self-concept and gross and fine motor function. Data Analysis: Data obtained from parent questionnaires and interviews will be analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The results will be evaluated using standard frequency analysis to examine responses. Written and verbal responses to open-ended questions and interviews will be analyzed for common themes using the constant comparative method.