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USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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News and Events

Latest Chan Division News

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New analysis of developmental screen finds autistic children showed heightened sensory, motor behaviors as infants ⟩
March 7, 2022

Autism Community and Partners Research

By analyzing more than 6,000 questionnaire responses, team of USC and UNC researchers identify areas during infancy linked to later neurodevelopmental risks.

By Mike McNulty (Photo/Adobe Stock) Early detection of autism within the community — in the home, at daycare, or during well child visits, for example — is critical to increasing access to early intervention services. But surprisingly, there are just a few tools that can reliably identify the…

New study shows autism correlated with changing sensory preferences during early childhood ⟩
March 3, 2022

Autism Community and Partners Research

Results from a USC–UNC study suggest sensory issues in early infancy may be the first signs of a later autism diagnosis.

By Mike McNulty (Photo/Adobe Stock) Results from a new study published today in Child Development provide the first longitudinal evidence about the trajectories of sensory reactivity patterns during early childhood among a large community sample with diverse developmental outcomes. Many autistic…

Newly published review covers current brain-gut-microbiome and autism literature ⟩
December 16, 2021

Autism Diversity, Access, Equity Research Students

Co-first authors of Nutrients review supported by USC’s DIA JumpStart undergraduate pipeline program.

By Mike McNulty (Illustration by Martina/Adobe Stock) A new scoping review of nearly 200 publications covering the relationships between autism spectrum disorder and the brain–gut–microbiome system was published online today in Nutrients. The review synthesizes the growing body of research…

How a student project led to autism training at USC’s Department of Public Safety ⟩
July 6, 2021

Autism Chan in the Media Community and Partners Students

Master’s students Monica Caris and Riley McGuire just wanted to educate people about autism, but already their capstone project has become part of yearly officer training.

By Grayson Schmidt / USC Today Riley McGuire, DPS Assistant Chief Alma Burke and Monica Caris pose after the two students were honored for their autism project. (Photo/Courtesy of Riley McGuire) For Monica Caris and Riley McGuire, a leadership capstone in occupational therapy extended beyond…

New project aims to increase trust for future autism research ⟩
April 2, 2021

Autism Awards Community and Partners Diversity, Access, Equity Faculty Health and Wellness Research

Two-year project will build formal alliances that accentuate perspectives of autistic people, their family members and caregivers, service providers and researchers.

By Mike McNulty For too long, too few autistic people have had a say in how autism research is designed, developed and disseminated, and researchers have not tapped into the expertise that only autistic people and their families have. A new USC-coordinated project looks to upend that disparity by…

New study shows children with autism have less activity in brain region that observes, simulates movements ⟩
January 28, 2021

Autism Faculty Research Students

Team of USC and UCLA researchers first to pinpoint reduced frontal lobe activity, helping explain some social characteristics unique to autism.

By Mike McNulty A brain region responsible for processing visual observations of others’ movements then mapping those movements upon one’s own body schema is significantly less activated in children with autism spectrum disorder, compared to typically-developing children and to children with…

At Pasadena theater, the ghost of Christmas, relaxed ⟩
December 20, 2019

Autism Community and Partners Diversity, Access, Equity Faculty

How a relaxed performance of “A Christmas Carol” was made possible with guidance from USC Chan occupational therapist.

By Mike McNulty The lights did not dim and the crowd did not hush when Ebenezer Scrooge stepped onstage last weekend in Pasadena. Rather, some in the audience wore noise-reducing headphones. Others handled fidget toys. All were free to come and go, as quietly or as loudly, as they pleased. At this…

How one PhD student is emphasizing the World in World Autism Month ⟩
April 26, 2019

Autism Faculty Research Students

By Bryan Kang MA ’18, OTD ’19 April is World Autism Month, a time to recommit to raising awareness of, and support understanding for, individuals with autism spectrum disorder. The USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy continues to be a leader in autism research, and…

Elementary school students tap imagination and empathy to design mural in new USC research lab ⟩
March 21, 2019

Autism Community and Partners Faculty Research

Lab studying early screening, sensory issues tied to autism opens with Mirman School field trip visit.

By Mike McNulty Mirman School students interacting with the insp!re lab's wall mural. (Photo by Hannah Benet) Harness the collective imagination of nearly 50 kids, channel it through their art and technology teachers, add a Hollywood production designer’s know-how and unleash it all on a blank…

L.A. television news highlights USC Chan-led research study ⟩
June 12, 2018

Autism Chan in the Media Faculty Research

Los Angeles-based television stations KCBS2 and KCAL9 highlighted a USC Chan-led research study during the stations' evening news broadcasts on Friday, June 8. The video package highlighted the National Institutes of Health-funded Sensory Adapted Dental Environments to Enhance Oral Care for…

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