Lisa Mische-Lawson, Ph.D., CTRS
Program Director, Therapeutic Science
Director, Sensory Enhanced Aquatics Program
Department of Occupational Therapy Education
Lisa Mische Lawson, Ph.D., CTRS, joined the department in 2006, She is the therapeutic science doctoral degree program director, is a mentor to students in that program, and has also taught and mentored students in the occupational therapy degree programs.
As a certified therapeutic recreation specialist, Mische Lawson focuses on the benefits of recreation participation for individuals with disability or chronic disease. In 2012, she received the School of Health Professions Stata Norton Award for teaching excellence and in 2016 she received the University of Kansas Medical Center Early Career Achievement in Health Professions Alumna Award.
Mische Lawson was added to the Fulbright Specialist roster for expertise in inclusive and adaptive recreation in 2018. In 2019 she completed a Fulbright Specialist project promoting research at Ala-Too International University in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. In 2019, the American Therapeutic Recreation Association recognized Mische Lawson's contributions with the association's Scholarly Achievement Award, the highest scholarship award for the profession.
Mische Lawson earned a bachelor's degree in parks and recreation with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation from the University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., in 1993. During her undergraduate program, she studied international tourism and recreation program development at Christlijke Hogeschool Noord-Nederland-Netherlands.
She completed a master's degree in education in therapeutic recreation at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa., in 1996. Later, she earned her doctorate in therapeutic science from the University of Kansas.
Mische Lawson's research interests include physical activity interventions for individuals with disabilities, benefits of recreation participation for individuals with disability or chronic disease, and health promotion for children with autism spectrum disorder and their families.
The major goal of ongoing research in the Accessible Leisure Laboratory is to promote health of individuals with disability and chronic illness through leisure and physical activity. These researchers are investigating factors impeding or facilitating leisure participation and effects of physical activity on health behaviors and body composition.
Mische Lawson serves as director of KU Sensory Enhanced Aquatics, a swimming and water safety program for children with autism spectrum disorders. Her research specifically focuses on the effects of water-based physical activity on health outcomes of children with autism.
Graduate students training with Mische Lawson obtain clinical and research experiences with physical activity measurement, program development and evaluation, one-on-one client services, and quantitative and qualitative research methods. They also acquire significant presentation and writing experience for professional and general audiences.
Selected Recent Publications
Mische Lawson, L. D'Adamo, J., Campbell, K., Hermreck, B., Holz, S., Moxley, J., Nance, K., Nolla, M., & Travis, A. (2019). A qualitative investigation of swimming experiences of children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. Clinical Medicine Insights: Pediatrics, 13, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1179556519872214/
Mische Lawson, L. & Lisk, C. (2019). Feasibility Study of Perceived Exertion and Heart Rate of Children with ASD during Swimming. American Journal of Recreational Therapy, 18, (2), 29-37.
Mische Lawson, L., Carter, M., Kadolph, A., Le, A., & Pettersson, S. (2019). The Descriptive Study of Concerns of Parents of Children with ASD and Factors Related to Obesity. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 52(2), 117-131. Doi: 10.18666/TRJ-2019-V53-I2-9128.
Ismael, N., Mische Lawson, L. Moqbel, M., & Little, L. (2018). Coping strategies among caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorders: A cluster analysis. International Journal of Medical and Health Sciences, 7(3).
Glennon, C., McElroy, S., Connolly, L., Mische Lawson, L. Bretches, A., Gard, A., & Newcomer, L. (2018). Use of virtual reality to distract from pain & anxiety. Oncology Nursing Forum, 45(4), 545-552. Doi.10.1188/18.ONF.545-552.
Ismael, N. & Mische Lawson, L. (2018). The relationship between sensory processing and participation in daily occupations for children with autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review of studies that used Dunn's Sensory Processing Framework. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(3):7203205030p1-7203205030p9 doi: 10.5014/ajot.2018.024075.
Mische Lawson, L., Hiskey, B., & Theleman, M. (2018). Effects of a national health promotion program for improving health behaviors of individuals with disabilities. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 52(1), 58-70. doi:10.18666/TRJ-2018-V52-I1-8460.
Alwawi, D., Dean, E., Heldstab, A., Mische-Lawson, L., Dunn, W. (2018) A qualitative study of stroke survivors; experiences of sensory changes after stroke. International Journal of Stroke, 13, p. 54.
Mische Lawson, L. Mazurowski, M. & Petersen, S. (2017). Sensory processing patterns and swim skill acquisition of children with an autism spectrum disorder. American Journal of Recreational Therapy, 16(2), 290-40. http://dx.doi.org/10.5055/ajrt.2017.0131.
Trowbridge, K. & Mische Lawson, L. (2017). A preliminary investigation of workplace provided compressed mindfulness-based stress reduction (cMBSR) with pediatric medical social workers. Health and Social Work, 42(4). https://doi.org/10.1093/hsw/hlx038.
Delahunt, J., & Mische Lawson, L. (2017). Relationships between Adolescent Reported Levels of Physical Activity and Sensory Processing Patterns. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 84(3), 189-198. https://doi.org/10.1177/0008417417711459.
Mische Lawson, L., & Little, L. (2017). Feasibility of a swimming intervention to improve sleep behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorder. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 51(2), 97-108. https://doi.org/10.18666/TRJ-2017-V51-I2-7899.
Trowbridge, K., & Mische Lawson, L. (2017). Social work research in practice: Lessons Learned. Journal of Evidence-Informed Social Work, 14(1), 1-7. doi:10.1080/23761407.2016.1261382.
Mische Lawson, L., & Foster, L. (2016). Understanding sensory patterns, obesity and physical activity participation of children with autism spectrum disorders. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70, 7005180070. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2016.021535.
Mische Lawson, L., Jordan Cline, French, A., & Ismael, N. (2016) Patient perceptions of a one hour art-making experience during blood and marrow transplant treatment. European Journal of Cancer Care. doi: 10.1111/ecc.12482.
Mische Lawson, L., Wedan, L., Stock, M. & Glennon, C. (2016). A qualitative study of blood and marrow transplant patient experiences participating in art making and music listening. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 22, 71-77. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2016.03.010.
Mische Lawson, L., Harrell, V, Krause, K., Moore, A. & Glennon, C. (2016) Effects of art making and music listening on symptoms related to blood and marrow Transplantation. Oncology Nursing Forum, 43(10), E56-E63. doi: 10.1188/16.ONF.E56-E63.
Trowbridge, K., & Mische Lawson, L. (2016). Mindfulness-based interventions with social workers and the potential for enhanced patient-centered care: A systematic review of the literature. Social Work in Health Care. doi: 10.1080/00981389.2015.1094165.
Selected Recent and Current Projects
Mische Lawson, Lisa (PI)
World Leisure Organization, Strategic Program Grant
Developing Global Capacity of Recreation Providers to Teach Swimming and Water Safety to Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
The purpose of this project is to manualize Sensory Enhanced Aquatics instructor training materials for international dissemination
Mische Lawson, Lisa (PI)
Recreation Therapy Foundation
Swim Training and Quality of Life of Children with Autism
The purpose of this project is to determine the feasibility of the Children’s Health Questionnaire for measuring children’s quality of life after the Sensory Enhanced Aquatics intervention.
Mische Lawson, Lisa (PI)
KU Medical Center Research Institute, Clinical Pilot Award
Physical Activity in Overweight/Obese Children with ASD Participating in Sensory Enhanced Aquatics
The purpose of this project was 1) to determine the extent to which Sensory Enhanced Aquatics 1) increases moderate to vigorous physical activity, and 2) improves parent/child function.
Mische Lawson, Lisa (PI)
KU Medical Center CTSA Dr. Lauren S. Aaronson Trailblazer Funding
Physical Activity in Children with ASD Participating in Sensory Enhanced Aquatics
The purpose of this project was to determine the feasibility of Actigraph and Garmin Forerunner/HRM Swim for measuring activity levels and heart rate of children with ASD participating in Sensory Enhanced Aquatics.
Mische Lawson, Lisa (PD)
Vantage I Can Do It Incentivized Advocate Funding
Promoting Physical Activity and Nutrition through Sensory Enhanced Aquatics
The purpose of this project was to develop and implement I Can Do It, You Can Do It (ICDI) with KU Medical Center adapted sports programs. ICDI is mentoring program from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition to promote physical activity and nutrition for individuals with disabilities.