Accessible Leisure Laboratory
The major goal of ongoing rearch by Lisa Mische Lawson, Ph.D., CTRS, is to promote the health of individuals with disability and chronic illness through leisure and physical activity.
This research team investigates factors impeding or facilitating leisure participation and effects of physical activity on health behaviors and body composition. Mische Lawson directs 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 working in this program 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 suited for communicating with professional and general audiences.
Educational Methodologies and Community Participation
Dory Sabata, OTD, OTR/L, studies teaching and learning methodology, interprofessional education and practice, and community participation and health of persons with stroke.
She developed year-long service learning opportunities for entry-level occupational therapy students and championed interprofessional education. In addition, she now leads the department to develop and implement innovative educational methodologies.
Sabata's research of educational methodologies and community participation of stroke survivors is intertwined. Students are trained to support stroke survivors to participate in community activities. Research projects investigate both the effectiveness of educational methodologies and participation outcomes.
Rehabilitation of Concussion Injuries
Research by Jeff Radel, Ph.D., studies biophysical and social risk factors for concussions and other causes of traumatic brain injury. Of particular interest are the subset of patients who are slow to recover full function after brain injury and those individuals continuing to experience persistent post-concussion symptoms that often limit return to normal activities.
An important focus is the evaluation of factors influencing the trajectory of recovery and the study of social factors influencing participation by parents, students, teachers, and school officials behaviors and activities that risk concussion injury.
Visual Neuroscience Laboratory
By studying animal models of brain development and retinal function, Jeff Radel, Ph.D., is exploring experimental perturbations in the developing brain. His work has examined dietary fatty acids in relation to brain and retina development, and vascular pathology of the retina after perinatal oxygen exposure (a model of retinopathy of maturity in humans).