Pediatrics Group: Diverse Research and Tackling Challenges
At the Occupational Science Summit in St. Louis, the pediatrics group had 12 paper presentations and 7 poster presentations. The topics ranged from autism to cerebral palsy and included many different types of study designs and methodologies.
“It was a very diverse group and the kinds of methodologies that people were drawing on went all the way from single subject case study design to large scale population studies,” says Mary Lawlor, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA, chair of the pediatrics group. “I was impressed with the quality of work that people are doing.”
Grace Baranek, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, presented a paper about teaching parents certain interventions to help their infants who are at risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) develop function and lessen the severity of core symptoms of ASD. “This was a researcher using good science, in terms of a clinical trial, looking at training parents to have their children be more engaged in everyday interaction and occupation,” says AOTA Vice President Virginia Stoffel, PhD, OT, BCMH, FAOTA.
Following the 6-month home based intervention, the children in the study made gains in receptive language, socialization, daily living, motor skills, and communication. Baranek says the research needs to be replicated with a larger sample.
The participants in the pediatric group discussed the challenges they have conducting studies and measuring outcomes. The group also decided that researchers in pediatrics need to network and support one another more often. “One of the concrete outcomes that could come out of a subsequent summit is some type of planning grant for a giant research project,” says Lawlor.
Read more about the Occupational Science Summit and find summaries of the research presented in other groups here.