Faculty/Staff Resources Student Resources
University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Erna Blanche PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Erna Blanche PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Clinical Professor of Occupational Therapy

CHP 222T
(323) 442-1857
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Erna Imperatore Blanche received her basic training in occupational therapy at the University of Chile (Santiago, Chile) and later earned her Master of Arts degree in Special Education at Columbia University and her PhD degree in Occupational Science at the University of Southern California. She is an expert in pediatric occupational therapy and interventions based on occupational science. She has co-authored several books and one video series, “Combining Neurodevelopmental Treatment and Sensory Integration Principles,” on pediatric practice. She has also published numerous articles in English and Spanish on the topics of play, wellness and other issues in clinical practice. Her articles have appeared in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy International, Journal of Occupational Science, and Play and Culture Studies, among others, as well as in pediatric textbooks. Blanche has lectured internationally in more than 20 countries and maintains ties with Therapy West, Inc., a clinic that she co-founded and which sees more than 400 children per week, as well as with the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Chile.

Research Interests

Dr. Blanche’s research interests are in the areas of play, clinical evaluation of children with developmental disabilities including autism, and the relationship between sensory processing and lifestyle choices.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Science
1998 | University of Southern California

Master of Arts (MA) in Occupational Therapy
1988 | University of Southern California

Master of Arts (MA) in Special Education
1982 | Columbia University

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Human Services
1979 | Empire State College, State University of New York

Professional Degree in Occupational Therapy
1973 | Universidad de Chile (Santiago, Chile)



Book Chapters

Blanche, E. I., & Gunter, J. S. (2020). Sensory processing disorders. In Janette B. Benson (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development (2nd ed., Vol. 3, pp. 116-124). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Science. Full text

Journal Articles

Floríndez, L. I., Carlson, M. E., Pyatak, E., Blanchard, J., Cogan, A. M., Sleight, A. G., Hill, V., Díaz, J., Blanche, E., Garber, S. L., & Clark, F. A. (2020). A qualitative analysis of pressure injury development among medically underserved adults with spinal cord injury. Disability and Rehabilitation, 42(15), 2093-2099. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2018.1552328 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Carlson, M., Vigen, C. L., Rubayi, S., Blanche, E. I., Blanchard, J., Atkins, M., Bates-Jensen, B., Garber, S. L., Pyatak, E. A., Díaz, J., Floríndez, L. I., Hay, J. W., Mallinson, T., Unger, J. B., Azen, S. P., Scott, M., Cogan, A., & Clark, F. (2019). Lifestyle intervention for adults with spinal cord injury: Results of the USC-RLANRC Pressure Ulcer Prevention Study. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 42(1), 2–19. https://doi.org/10.1080/10790268.2017.1313931 Show abstract

Other Articles

Bodison, S. C., Stein Duker, L. I., Cermak, S. A., & Blanche, E. I. (2019, May). An examination of sensory-related terminology across disciplines: Part one. SIS Quarterly Practice Connections, 4(2), 5-7.


Journal Articles

Blanche, E. I., Chang, M. C., Gutierrez, J., & Gunter, J. S. (2016). Effectiveness of a sensory-enriched early intervention group program for children with developmental disabilities. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70(5), 7005220010p1-7005220010p8. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.018481 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Blanche, E. I., Díaz, J., Barretto, T., & Cermak, S. A. (2015). Caregiving experiences of Latino families with children with autism spectrum disorder. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(5), 6905185010p1-6905185010p11. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.017848 Show abstract

Ghaisas, S., Pyatak, E. A., Blanche, E., Blanchard, J., & Clark, F. (2015). Lifestyle changes and pressure ulcer prevention in adults with spinal cord injury in the Pressure Ulcer Prevention Study Lifestyle Intervention. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(1), 6901290020p1-6901290020p10. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.012021 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Cogan, A. M., Blanche, E. I., Díaz, J., Clark, F. A., & Chun, S. (2014). Building a framework for implementing new interventions. OTJR: Occupation, Participation, and Health, 34(4), 209-220. https://doi.org/10.3928/15394492-20141009-01 Show abstract

Koester, A. C., Mailloux, Z., Coleman, G. G., Mori, A. B., Paul, S. M., Blanche, E. I., Muhs, J. A., Lim, D., & Cermak, S. A. (2014). Sensory integration functions of children with cochlear implants. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(5), 562-569. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2014.012187 Show abstract

Blanche, E. I., Parham, D., Chang, M., & Mallinson, T. (2014). Development of an adult sensory processing scale (ASPS). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(5), 531-538. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2014.012484 Show abstract

Clark, F., Pyatak, E. A., Carlson, M., Blanche, E. I., Vigen, C., Hay, J., Mallinson, T., Blanchard, J., Unger, J. B., Garber, S. L., Díaz, J., Floríndez, L. I., Atkins, M., Rubayi, S., & Azen, S. P. (2014). Implementing trials of complex interventions in community settings: The USC-Rancho Los Amigos Pressure Ulcer Prevention Study (PUPS). Clinical Trials, 11(2), 218-229. https://doi.org/10.1177/1740774514521904 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Pyatak, E. A., Blanche, E. I., Garber, S. L., Díaz, J., Blanchard, J., Floríndez, L., & Clark, F. A. (2013). Conducting intervention research among underserved populations: Lessons learned and recommendations for researchers. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 94(6), 1190-1198. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2012.12.009 Show abstract


Book Chapters

Blanche, E. I., Mailloux, Z., & Reinoso, G. (2012). Sensory functions — General. In A. Majnemer (Ed.), Measures for children with developmental disabilities: An ICF-CY approach (pp. b210-b270). London, UK: Mac Keith Press. Full text

Journal Articles

Blanche, E. I., Bodison, S., Chang, M. C., & Reinoso, G. (2012). Development of the Comprehensive Observations of Proprioception (COP): Validity, reliability, and factor analysis. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66(6), 691-698. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2012.003608 Show abstract

Blanche, E. I., Reinoso, G., Chang, M. C., & Bodison, S. (2012). Proprioceptive processing difficulties among children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities [Brief report]. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66(5), 621-624. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2012.004234 Show abstract

Schaaf, R. C., & Blanche, E. I. (2012). Emerging as leaders in autism research and practice: Using the data-driven intervention process [From the desk of the guest editors]. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66(5), 503-505. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2012.006114

Chang, M. C., Parham, L. D., Blanche, E. I., Schell, A., Chou, C.-P., Dawson, M., & Clark, F. A. (2012). Autonomic and behavioral responses of children with autism to auditory stimuli. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66(5), 567-576. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2012.004242 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Blanche, E. I., Fogelberg, D., Díaz, J., Carlson, M. E., & Clark, F. A. (2011). Manualization of occupational therapy interventions: Illustrations from the Pressure Ulcer Prevention Research Program. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65(6), 711-719. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2011.001172 Show abstract

Schaaf, R., & Blanche, E. I. (2011). Comparison of behavioral intervention and sensory-integration therapy in the treatment of challenging behavior [Letter to the editor]. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(10), 1436-1438. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1303-0

Vaishampayan, A., Clark, F. A., Carlson, M. E., & Blanche, E. I. (2011). Preventing pressure ulcers in people with spinal cord injury: Targeting risky life circumstances through a community-based interventions. Advances in Skin and Wound Care, 24(6), 275-284. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.ASW.0000398663.66530.46 Show abstract

Mailloux, Z., Mulligan, S., Smith Roley, S., Blanche, E. I., Cermak, S. A., Coleman, G. G., Bodison, S., & Lane, C. J. (2011). Verification and clarification of patterns of sensory integrative dysfunction. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65(2), 143-151. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2011.000752 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Schaaf, R. C., Benevides, T., Blanche, E. I., Brett-Green, B. A., Burke, J. P., Cohn, E. S., Koomar, J., Lane, S. J., Miller, L. J., May-Benson, T. A., Parham, D., Reynolds, S., & Schoen, S. A. (2010). Parasympathetic functions in children with sensory processing disorder. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 4(4), 1-4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnint.2010.00004 Show abstract

Jackson, J. M., Carlson, M. E., Rubayi, S., Scott, M. D., Atkins, M. S., Blanche, E. I., Saunders-Newton, C. D., Mielke, S. E., Wolfe, M. K., & Clark, F. A. (2010). Qualitative study of principles pertaining to lifestyle and pressure ulcer risk in adults with spinal cord injury. Disability and Rehabilitation, 32(7), 567-578. https://doi.org/10.3109/09638280903183829 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Fogelberg, D., Atkins, M., Blanche, E. I., Carlson, M. E., & Clark, F. A. (2009). Decisions and dilemmas in everyday life: Daily use of wheelchairs by individuals with spinal cord injury and the impact on pressure ulcer risk. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, 15(2), 16-32. https://doi.org/10.1310/sci1502-16 Show abstract


Book Chapters

Blanche, E. I. (2008). Play in children with cerebral palsy: Doing with — not doing to. In L. D. Parham & L. S. Fazio (Eds.), Play in occupational therapy for children (2nd ed., pp. 375-393). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier. Full text

Journal Articles

Koomar, J., Miller, J. L., Schoen, S. A., Brett-Green, B., Schaaf, R. C., Benevides, T., Lane, S. J., Reynolds, S., Parham, D., May-Benson, T. A., Teasdale, A., Mailloux, Z., Smith-Roley, S., Blanche, E. I., & Bodison, S. (2008). Collaborative research programs in sensory integration and processing. Sensory Integration Special Interest Section Quarterly, 31(4), 1-4. Full text



Blanche, E. I., & Decker, T. (2007). Sensory balance: A quick reference guide for parents and professionals. Lulu Press. Full text Show abstract

Journal Articles

Clark, F. A., Sanders, K., Carlson, M. E., Blanche, E. I., & Jackson, J. M. (2007). Synthesis of habit theory. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 27(4), S7-S23. Full text Show abstract

Blanche, E. I. (2007). The expression of creativity through occupation. Journal of Occupational Science, 14(1), 21–29. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2007.9686580 Show abstract



Smith Roley, S., Blanche, E. I., & Schaaf, R. C. (Eds.) (2004). Sensorische integration: Grundlagen und therapie bei entwicklungsstörungen (German Edition). Berlin, Germany: Springer. Full text



Smith-Roley, S., Blanche, E. I., & Schaaf, R. C. (Eds.) (2001). Understanding the nature of sensory integration with diverse populations. San Antonio, TX: Therapy Skill Builders. Full text Show abstract


Journal Articles

Blanche, E. I., & Henny-Kohler, E. (2000). Philosophy, science and ideology: A proposed relationship for occupational science and occupational therapy. Occupational Therapy International, 7(2), 99–110. https://doi.org/10.1002/oti.110 Show abstract



Blanche, E. I. (1999). Play and process: The experience of play in the life of the adult. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan.


Journal Articles

Blanche, E. I. (1996). Alma: Coping with culture, poverty, and disability. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 50(4), 265–276. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.50.4.265 Show abstract



Blanche, E. I., Botticelli, T. M., & Hallway, M. K. (1995). Combining neuro-developmental treatment and sensory integration principles: An approach to pediatric therapy. Tucson, AZ: Therapy Skill Builders. Full text