Research Programs

Using Sensory Processing Constructs to Support Individuals in Daily Life

This line of research taps into knowledge from neuroscience, sensory integration, and family centered care domains to design and test applications for best practice assessment and intervention. We have discovered in very recent work that the same patterns of sensory processing exist in adults as we originally found in children, suggesting there may be some stable patterns of sensory processing across the life span that can guide our thinking and best practices. Therefore, we plan to conduct studies to refine the Adult Sensory Profile, to test it with disability groups and aging populations, and to design and test the Baby Sensory Profile for infants and toddlers.

Future directions:

In this area of research, the following types of questions remain to be addressed:

  • How work site planning and organizing might take in to account individual differences in sensory processing
  • What role does aging play in the interaction of sensory processing preferences with disability and risk factors
  • When certain sensory processing styles produce performance difficulties, how can adaptations be designed to prevent those difficulties.
  • Do specific patterns of sensory processing characterize specific disability groups?

Understanding Cognition and its Role in Quality of Life

This line of research applies knowledge from cognitive psychology to quality of life issues in aging, stroke, and mental illness. In the context of normal aging, our work focuses on exploring environmental parameters that affect the attentional abilities of young and older adults. We are particularly interested in visual information processing and how the control of eye movements affects the efficiency with which information is processed and activities are carried out in daily life.

In addition, work on cognitive abilities following stroke has identified attentional deficits among stroke survivors that are significantly associated with declines in quality of life. In addition to aging and stroke, another line of work examines the impact mental illness may have on information processing, and how that impact may affect daily life activities.

Future directions:

Work in this line of research may be expanded to address the following questions:

  • What is the role of attention in daily life function of individuals with stroke or Alzheimer's disease?
  • What factors most promote or interfere with efficient attentional functioning in healthy older adults?
  • How is the control of eye movements in visual information processing affected in normal aging, and what is the impact on daily activities such as reading and driving?
  • How is visual information processing affected in schizophrenia, and how does it affect daily life?

Last modified: Dec 31, 2012
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