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Currently funded projects

Efficacy of the START-Play Program for Infants with Neuromotor Disorders, Multi-site trial, Dept. of Education, IES; $3,413,002, Primary Investigator. 2015-2019. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the efficacy of Sitting Together And Reaching To Play (START-Play), an intervention designed to target sitting, reaching, and motor-based problem solving to improve development and readiness to learn in infants with motor delays or dysfunction. There is limited research examining the efficacy of early physical intervention on infants with neuromotor dysfunction. In addition, most early motor interventions have not been directly linked to learning, despite the research demonstrating an association between motor activity and cognitive skills. START-Play specifically targets motor skills that lead to greater physical exploration, which has been associated with improved problem solving and global development. A randomized controlled trial of START-Play will be conducted across four states to investigate the impact of the intervention on changes over time in sitting and reaching, subsequent changes in global cognitive development, and the mediating influences of motor skill changes and problem solving. http://ies.ed.gov/funding/grantsearch/details.asp?ID=1618

Position available for START-Play project: Post-Doctoral Research Scientist will be responsible for assisting in all aspects of this large multi-site grant. Specific duties will include recruitment of participants, the scheduling of the assessment sessions, setup for home assessments, and the proper execution of the data collection, data sharing, data reduction, and storage and data back-up procedures. The Research Scientist will also be involved in facilitating communication between all the research sites, interpretation of the results and the write-up of the results. 100% of her/his time will be devoted to the project.

Project for Cognitive Advancement in infants with Neuromotor DisOrders. Pennsylvania CURE Grant, $32,781, 1/1/15-12/31/16. This project utilizes a novel method for collecting and coding detailed video in a natural environment to measure motor behavior emerging in early infancy, while simultaneously measuring visual attention (via eye-tracking), as well as cognitive problem solving performance. This longitudinal study will examine the ongoing interaction between the domains of cognitive and motor development in infants with neuromotor disability, as well as compare differences between groups of infants receiving two types of intervention.

A Mobile Application for Early Quantification of Motor Skill in Infants at Risk, $6,500, 5/1/15-4/30/17. The overall goal of this research proposal is to create a means of quantifying very early changes in crucial areas of motor skill in order to improve early intervention. Toward this end, in co-operation with the SIMI corporation, we will build a mobile application for real-time measurement of infant postural control, similar to sports applications currently available for iPads or iPhones. This will allow clinicians to quantify and document incremental changes in sitting and movement skills in infants with movement delays or disorders in natural settings such as the home.