Contact Information

Biography

Jeryl Benson’s research focuses on school-based practice, specifically the participation and occupational performance of children with developmental disabilities. Her goal is to make an impact by researching best practices in an educational setting ensuring that children have the tools to fully participate in their educational, social, and community environments. As a scholar, her work investigates best practice in school based occupational therapy and illuminates the culture of school-based practice including the challenges, rewards, and relationship dynamics in these complex educational contexts. She has examined outcomes related to educational team intervention and application of strategies in an educational environment in order to support best practices in the school and to have an immediate impact on the lives of the children and the teams.

Education

  • Ed.D., Educational Leadership, Duquesne University, 2010
  • M.S., Motor Development, University of Pittsburgh, 1995
  • B.S., Occupational Therapy, University of Pittsburgh, 1987

Honors/Awards

  • 2020 Presidential Scholarship Award
  • 2018 J. Warren Perry Distinguished Author Award, Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions
  • 2015 Rangos School of Health Sciences, Deans Award for Excellence in Service
  • 2014 Rangos School of Health Sciences, Deans Award for Excellence in Scholarship
  • 2013 Rangos School of Health Sciences, Deans Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • 2012 Duquesne University Creative Teaching Award
  • 2010 Service Award, Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association

About

Teaching Philosophy:  Occupation is defined as "doing" (Nelson, 1988). My teaching philosophy is based on the core beliefs of occupational therapy.....we find meaning and purpose in the act of doing or engagement. Courses are delivered via interactive lectures and discussions and the opportunity for experiential learning or "doing" whenever possible.

Current Teaching:

OCCT 310 Occupational Performance Across the Lifespan

OCCT 519 Neurological & Sensorimotor Function I

OCCT 522 Intervention Seminar

OCCT 553 Occupational Performance Perspectives

OCCT 574: Fieldwork Proposal

OCCT 610-612: Research Project I, II, III

OCCT 670 Critical Analysis of Practice

Past Teaching:

OCCT 305 Foundations & Concepts of Occupational Therapy

OCCT 537 Human Motion & Movement (developed course)

OCCT 446 Cognitive & Perceptual Function

OCCT 520 Neuromotor & Sensory Function

OCCT 545 Occupational Performance Approaches

OCCT 502 Occupational Therapy Overview

My research focus is in school based practice, sensory processing disorders and occupation. Specifically I am interested in the integration of occupation in pediatric practice and the occupational performance of children with sensory processing disorders.

Current Projects

Benson. J.D., Collins, A., & Smitsky, D. Outcomes of a sensory activity schedule on the task performance and behavior of children with intellectual developmental disability (manuscript preparation)

Benson. J.D. and Szucs, K. Use of Evidenced in School-Based Practice: A Survey of School-based Practitioners (IRB proposal)

Grants (Funded)

Benson, J.D. (2020) The Presidential Scholarship Award Grant. To support research on the impact of sensory activity schedules on during independent work time on the on task behaviors of children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). $5000

Benson, J.D. & Blaskowitz, M. (2019) The Charles Henry Leach II Foundation Grant. To support research on the transition process from the educational setting to adulthood for adolescents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). $8240

Benson, J.D., Tokarski, R., Blaskowitz, M., & Geubtner, A.(2021-accepted) A Phenomenological Study of the Transition Process for Adolescents and Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75 (3)

Benson, J.D., Donoso-Brown, E., Blough, A. & Smitsky, D. (2020) The Effects of Sensorimotor Strategies on Attention and In-Seat Behavior in Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot Study, Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, https://doi.org/10.1080/19411243.2020.1732262

Tokarski, R., Benson, J.D., & Geubtner, A.(2020) A Qualitative Study of the Transition from an Educational Setting to Adulthood for Youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74, 7411515339, https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.74S1-PO3203

Blough, A., Benson, J.D., Donoso-Brown, E., & Smitsky, D. (2019) The Effect of Sensorimotor Strategies on Attention and In-Seat Behavior in Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorders, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73(4), Supplement_1:7311520401 https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2019.73S1-PO2042

Benson, J.D., Morgus, K., Donoso Brown, E. & Smitsky, D. (2019): The Effect of Alternate Seating on Improving Attention and In-seat Behavior of Preschoolers with Autism: A Pilot Study, Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, 12 (4), 455-465 https://doi.org/10.1080/19411243.2019.1672606

Morgus, K., Benson, J.D., Donoso Brown, E., & Smitsky, D. (2018) Effects of alternative seating on attention and in-seat behavior for children with Autism, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72 (4), Supplement 1:7211515232p1-7211515232p1. https://doi:10.5014/ajot.2018.72S1-PO3023

Benson, J.D., *Breisinger, E. & *Roach, M. (2018) Sensory-based intervention in the schools: a survey of occupational therapy practitioners, Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, and Early Intervention, https://doi.org/10.1080/19411243.2018.1496872

Wallace, S. E. & Benson, J. D. (2018) Bringing Interprofessional Case-Based Learning into the Classroom for Occupational Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology Students, Occupational Therapy in Health Care, https://doi.org/10.1080/07380577.2017.1414975

Benson, J.D., Szucs, K. DeIuliis, E., & *Leri, A. (2017) The impact of student response systems on student retention of course content. Journal of Allied Health Sciences, 46 (3), 158-163

*Roach, M., *Breisinger, E., & Benson, J.D. (2017) An exploration of the role of sensory based theory in school-based occupational therapy, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, PO4060 [Peer reviewed conference abstract]

*Taylor, M., Benson, J.D., & Szucs, K.A. (2017) Students perceptions of student response systems and learning American Journal of Occupational Therapy, PO2019 [Peer reviewed conference abstract]

Szucs, K., Benson. J.D. & Haneman, B. (2017) Using a Guided Journal Club as a Teaching Strategy to Enhance Learning Skills for Evidence-Based Practice, Occupational Therapy in Healthcare, 31 (2), 143-149 https://doi.org/10.1080/07380577.2016.1278296

Benson, J.D., Szucs, K., & *Taylor, M. (2016) Student response systems and learning: Perceptions of the student, Occupational Therapy in Healthcare, 30 (4), 406-414
https://doi.org/10.1080/07380577.2016.1222644

Benson, J., Szucs, K. & *Mejasic, J.J. (2016) Teacher's Perceptions of the Role of Occupational Therapy on Student Participation in the Schools, Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, 9 (2), 208-219 https://doi.org/10.1080/19411243.2016.1183158

Szucs, K., Benson, J.D., & *Corturillo, A. (2016) Use of a journal club for professional development: Outcomes in a school-based occupational therapy practice, Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, 208-219 https://doi.org/10.1080/19411243.2016.1176549

Mejasic, J.J., Benson, J.D., & Szucs, K. (2015) The Teacher-Occupational Therapist relationship in School-based Practice: Perspectives from the Teacher, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, PO2117 [Peer reviewed conference abstract] doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO2117

Benson, J.D. (2015) An Exploration of the Use of Occupational Language in School-based Occupational Therapy Documentation, Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, 8 (3), 228-235 https://doi.org/10.1080/19411243.2015.1075452

Benson, J.D., Elkin, K., Wechsler, J., & Byrd, L. (2015) Parent perceptions of school-based occupational therapy services, Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, 8 (2), 126-135 https://doi.org/10.1080/19411243.2015.1040944

*denotes publications with Duquesne University students

International

Szucs, K.A. and Benson, J.D., Journal Club to Support Evidence-Based Practice in Clinical Setting. Research Poster, Lilly International Conference on Evidence-Based Teaching and Learning, Bethesda, MD, June 2016.

Benson, J.D., Szucs, K. DeIuliis, E., & *Leri, A. The Impact of Student Response Systems on Student Retention of Course Content Research Poster, Lilly International Conference for College Teaching Miami, OH, November 2014

National

Tokarski, R., Benson, J.D., Geubtner, A. & Blaskowitz, M. A Qualitative Study of the Transition from an Educational Setting to Adulthood for Youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Research Poster, American Occupational Therapy Association Boston, MA, March 2020 (conference canceled due to COVID-19)

Blough, A., Benson, J.D., Donoso-Brown, E. & Smitsky, D. Effects of Sensory Motor Activities on Attention to Task and Self-Stimulatory Behaviors in Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorders Research Poster, American Occupational Therapy Association New Orleans, LA, April 2019

*Morgus, K., Benson, J.D., Donoso Brown, E., & Smitsky, D. Effects of alternate seating on attention & in seat behavior for children with Autism Research Poster, American Occupational Therapy Association Salt Lake City, Utah, April 2018

*Roach, M., *Breisinger, E. & Benson, J.D. An Exploration of the Role of Sensory Based Theory in School-based Occupational Therapy Research Poster, American Occupational Therapy Association Philadelphia, PA, April 2017

*Sitterly, A. Partnerships for Educational Planning Talks: Facilitating Successful Transition for Families from Early Intervention to Preschool Special Education Benson, J.D. contributing author Short Course American Occupational Therapy Association Philadelphia, PA April 2017

*Taylor, M., Benson J.D., & Szucs, K.A. Student Response System and Learning: Perceptions of the Student Research Poster, American Occupational Therapy Association Philadelphia, PA, April 2017

Benson, J.D., Szucs, K. DeIuliis, E., & *Leri, A. The Impact of Student Response Systems on Student Retention of Course Content Research Poster, American Occupational Therapy Association Nashville, TN, April 2015

*Mejasic, J.J., Benson, J.D., & Szucs, K. Teacher Perceptions of the Role of Occupational Therapy in the Schools Research Poster, American Occupational Therapy Association Nashville, TN, April 2015

State

Tokarski, R., Benson, J.D., Geubtner, A. & Blaskowitz, M. A Qualitative Study of the Transition from an Educational Setting to Adulthood for Youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Research Poster, Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Valley Forge, PA, October 2019

*Blough, A., Benson, J.D., Donoso-Brown, E. & Smitsky, D. Effects of Sensory Motor Activities on Attention to Task and Self-Stimulatory Behaviors in Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorders Research Poster, Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Pittsburgh, PA, October 2018

*Geubtner, A. & Benson, J.D. A Qualitative Study of the Transition from an Educational Setting to Adulthood for Youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Research Poster, Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Pittsburgh, PA, October 2018

*Taylor, M., Benson, J.D., & Szucs, K.A., Student Perceptions of Clicker use and Learning Research Poster, Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Valley Forge, PA, October 2016

*Breisinger, E., Roach, M. & Benson, J.D. Sensory Integration in the Schools: Current Trends Research Poster, Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Valley Forge, PA, October, 2016

*Corturillo, A., Szucs, K., & Benson, J.D. The Use of a Journal Club for School-based Professional Development Research Poster, Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association Scranton, PA, October, 2015

Local

Benson, J.D. Sensory Challenges with Apraxia, Childhood Apraxia of Speech Intensive Training Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, 2018

Delmonico, D. (Facilitator), Benson, J. and Prier, D. (panelists), IRB for Scholarship in Community Based Research and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Center for Teaching Excellence, Duquesne University, 2017

Benson, J.D. Winning Ideas and Tips on Preparing Creative Teaching Award Submissions Panel Discussion, Center for Teaching Excellence, Duquesne University, 2012

*denotes presentations with Duquesne University students