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University of Connecticut Neag School of Education Department of Kinesiology

Physical Therapy Laboratories

The Laboratory for the Study of Impairments and Activity Limitations

Faculty: Richard Bohannon and Deborah Bubela

The goals of the Laboratory for the Study of Impairments and Activity Limitations are to advance physical therapy practice through the study of examination and treatment procedures. Most recently, work being conducted in the lab relates to the investigation of measurements of strength, dexterity, mobility, and endurance and the investigation of perception of postural vertical. Ongoing research relates to the measurement of muscle performance across the life span. Research from the lab is published in leading clinical and applied science journals.

The Infant & Child Development Lab

Faculty: Anjana Bhat
Graduate Students: Sudha Srinivasan, Kinga Palatinus
Undergraduate Students: Kathleen Lynch, Carolyn Susca, Stephanie Godbout

The overarching goals of research conducted in the Infant and Child Develop Lab are to develop novel multisystem tools for assessment and intervention of various developmental disorders such as autism, cerebral palsy, etc. This includes a study of young infants at risk for developmental disorders as well as children already diagnosed with specific problems.

We believe that addressing movement problems of children not only improves their motor skills but also enhances their social, communication, and cognitive skills. Engaging in motor activities during playtime becomes a rich context for building social connections and friendships and facilitates social development. With this broad goal in mind, we are interested in investigating the effects of various novel motor interventions on the social communication skills of children with autism.

The currently ongoing robot-child interaction study investigates the effects of a novel, robot-child interaction training on the motor, social, and communication skills of children with autism. This project is being conducted in collaboration with Kerry Marsh and Deborah Fein at the University of Connecticut, CT, Rebecca Landa at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, MD and Ben Robins at University of Hertfordshire, UK.

Another goal of this research is to identify early markers that put infants at risk for future motor and cognitive problems such as autism, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities. Identifying early markers will allow families to access early interventions with hopes of improving future outcomes of their child. For example, basic perceptuo-motor impairments such as overfocused attention and motor delays are common in young infants at risk for autism. The currently ongoing infant learning study follows the development of infants at risk for autism, preterm infants, and typically developing infants across the first two years of life to determine early signs of autism and cerebral palsy. This project is conducted in collaboration with Deborah Fein at the University of Connecticut, CT.

Lastly, we are also investigating the effects of novel, early perceptuo-motor interventions on the motor, social, communication, and cognitive skills of infants within the first year of life. The currently ongoing infant training study compares two types of training: specific, passive weighting along with active object based experiences and generalized social experiences on the motor, communication, and cognitive skills of infants who are typically developing and those born preterm. Here the idea is to develop early training activities that can be practiced by parents during day-to-day interactions with their infants. This project will be conducted in collaboration with the CT Children’s Medical Center, Neonatal follow-up clinic.

Motion Analysis Lab

Faculty: Jeffrey Kinsella-Shaw and Michael Joseph

The motion analysis lab is equipped with a 6-camera motion capture system, electromyography and multiple force plates. Research in the lab has examined aspects of sport biomechanics, visual perception, balance and fall risk. Research from the lab is published in leading journals in movement science, ecological psychology and sports healthcare.