Stefanie Bodison OTD, OTR/L
Associate Professor of Research, joint appointment with the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Department of Pediatrics
Stefanie Bodison is a graduate of the University of Southern California and has been specializing in sensorimotor and neurodevelopmental intervention techniques with children for more than 20 years. The populations with which she has particular interest include typically developing children and those with autism, developmental dyspraxia, sensorineural hearing loss, prenatal alcohol exposure, developmental coordination disorder, and learning disabilities. Dr. Bodison’s current research focuses on the use of multimodal imaging techniques (MRI, fMRI and DTI) to investigate the neural mechanisms of sensorimotor integration in typically developing children and those with a variety of neurodevelopmental conditions.
Dr. Bodison’s research aims to enhance the theoretical foundation of sensory brain/behavior relationships in typically developing children and those with neurodevelopmental conditions, to ultimately support the evaluation of the effectiveness of rehabilitation interventions for children with sensory and motor conditions. Dr. Bodison received training in multimodal neuroimaging techniques from 2013-2016 during a KL2 Mentored Career Development Award from the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Southern California (NIH/NCRR/NCATS #KL2TR000131). From 2011 to 2013, she was a postdoctoral fellow in Training in Rehabilitation Efficacy and Effectiveness Trials, a NIH-funded T32 Postdoctoral Training Program at the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Therapy (1T32 HD64578-1A1).
Her research specialties include: Rehabilitation interventions, sensory development in typical children, children with neurodevelopmental disorders, autism, multisensory integration, developmental dyspraxia and learning disabilities.
She is additionally affiliated with the Developmental Cognitive Neuroimaging Laboratory at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (kidsbrains.org) and Pediatric Therapy Network in Torrance, Calif. (pediatrictherapynetwork.org).
Current Research Funding
- Brain and Cognitive Development in the PASS Cohort: The Impact of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Diversity Supplement (NIH National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), R01 AA025653 02S1)
- Inner Ear Anatomy and Motor Skills in Children with Unilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss (Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute Pilot Award)
A. Jean Ayres Award | 2019
American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF)
Margaret S. Rood Award of Professional Promise | 1994
USC Department of Occupational Therapy
Phi Theta Epsilon | 1993
USC Department of Occupational Therapy
Trojan Spirit Award | 1992
USC Department of Occupational Therapy
Master of Science (MS)
in Clinical, Biomedical, and Translational Investigations
2017 | University of Southern California
Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
2010 | University of Southern California
Master of Arts (MA)
in Occupational Therapy
1993 | University of Southern California
Bachelor of Science (BS)
in Occupational Therapy
1992 | University of Southern California
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.
Spitzer, S. L., & Bodison, S. C. (2018). Motor and praxis differences in individuals with ASD. In R. Watling & S. L. Spitzer (Eds.), Autism across the lifespan: A comprehensive occupational therapy approach (4th ed.). Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press. Full text
Bodison, S. C., & Parham, L. D. (2018). Specific sensory techniques and sensory environmental modifications for children and youth with sensory integration difficulties: A systematic review. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(1), 7201190040p1-7201190040p11. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2018.029413 Show abstract
This systematic review examined the effectiveness of specific sensory techniques and sensory environmental modifications to improve participation of children with sensory integration (SI) difficulties. Abstracts of 11,436 articles published between January 2007 and May 2015 were examined. Studies were included if designs reflected high levels of evidence, participants demonstrated SI difficulties, and outcome measures addressed function or participation. Eight studies met inclusion criteria. Seven studies evaluated effects of specific sensory techniques for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Qigong massage, weighted vests, slow swinging, and incorporation of multisensory activities into preschool routines. One study of sensory environmental modifications examined adaptations to a dental clinic for children with ASD. Strong evidence supported Qigong massage, moderate evidence supported sensory modifications to the dental care environment, and limited evidence supported weighted vests. The evidence is insufficient to draw conclusions regarding slow linear swinging and incorporation of multisensory activities into preschool settings.
Pfeiffer, B., May-Benson, T. A., & Bodison, S. C. (2018). State of the science of sensory integration research with children and youth [Editorial]. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(1), 7201170010p1-7201170010p4. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2018.721003 Show abstract
Many children and youth with and without disabilities are affected by challenges in processing and integrating sensations. Occupational therapy practitioners serve a pivotal role in the evaluation and treatment of this population. This special section of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy includes articles that elucidate the relationship between sensory processing and participation in valued occupations as well as articles that guide best practice, including systematic reviews on common occupational therapy interventions for children and youth with challenges in processing and integrating sensation. This editorial elaborates on key issues for future research.
Bodison, S. C. (2018, May). A comprehensive framework to embed sensory interventions within occupational therapy practice. SIS Quarterly Practice Connections, 3(2), 14-16.
Bodison, S. C. (2017). Magnetic resonance imaging. In A. Wenzel (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of abnormal and clinical psychology (p. 1993). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Bodison, S. C. (2017). Neuroimaging. In A. Wenzel (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of abnormal and clinical psychology (pp. 259-265). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Reynolds, S., Glennon, T. J., Ausderau, K., Bendixen, R. M., Kuhaneck, H. M., Pfeiffer, B., Watling, R., Wilkinson, K., & Bodison, S. C. (2017). Using a multifaceted approach to working with children who have differences in sensory processing and integration. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(2), 7102360010p1-7102360010p10. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2017.019281 Show abstract
Pediatric occupational therapy practitioners frequently provide interventions for children with differences in sensory processing and integration. Confusion exists regarding how best to intervene with these children and about how to describe and document methods. Some practitioners hold the misconception that Ayres Sensory Integration intervention is the only approach that can and should be used with this population. The issue is that occupational therapy practitioners must treat the whole client in varied environments; to do so effectively, multiple approaches to intervention often are required. This article presents a framework for conceptualizing interventions for children with differences in sensory processing and integration that incorporates multiple evidence-based approaches. To best meet the needs of the children and families seeking occupational therapy services, interventions must be focused on participation and should be multifaceted.
Bodison, S. C., Sankare, I., Anaya, H., Booker-Vaughns, J., Miller, A., Williams, P., & Norris, K. (2015). Engaging the community in the dissemination, implementation, and improvement of health-related research. Clinical and Translational Science, 8(6), 814-819. https://doi.org/10.1111/cts.12342 Show abstract
To help maximize the real-world applicability of available interventions in clinical and community healthcare practice, there has been greater emphasis over the past two decades on engaging local communities in health-related research. While there have been numerous successful community-academic partnered collaborations, there continues to be a need to articulate the common barriers experienced during the evolution of these partnerships, and to provide a roadmap for best practices that engage healthcare providers, patients, families, caregivers, community leaders, healthcare systems, public agencies and academic medical centers. To this end, this paper presents a summary of a forum discussion from the 2014 Southern California Dissemination, Implementation and Improvement (DII) Science Symposium, sponsored by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI), University of Southern California (USC) CTSI, and Kaiser Permanente. During this forum, a diverse group of individuals representing multiple constituencies identified four key barriers to success in community-partnered participatory research (CPPR) and discussed consensus recommendations to enhance the development, implementation, and dissemination of community health-related research. In addition, this group identified several ways in which the over 60 NIH funded Clinical and Translational Science Institutes across the country could engage communities and researchers to advance DII science.
Bodison, S. C. (2015). Developmental dyspraxia and the play skills of children with autism. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(5), 6905185060p1-6905185060p6. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.017954 Show abstract
Objective. This study sought to investigate the impact of developmental dyspraxia on the play skills of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Method. The praxis abilities of 32 children with ASD (mean age = 7.5 yr) were assessed using two subtests of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests and the Planning and Ideas domain of the Sensory Processing Measure Home Form. Play and leisure skills were measured with the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Second Edition. Utilizing correlation coefficients, we investigated the relationship between developmental dyspraxia and the play skills of children with ASD.
Results. Children with ASD demonstrated definite dysfunction in imitative praxis abilities, the generation of ideas, and participation in age-appropriate play and leisure activities.
Conclusion. Praxis problems in children with ASD greatly affect their successful participation in play and leisure activities.
Bodison, S., & Mostofsky, S. (2014). Motor control and motor learning processes in autism spectrum disorders. In F. R. Volkmar, R. Paul, S. J. Rogers, & K. A. Pelphrey (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders: Volume 2: Assessment, interventions, and policy (4th ed., pp. 354-377). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(Supplement 1), S1-S48. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2014.682006 Show abstract
The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process, 3rd edition (hereinafter referred to as "the Framework"), is an official document of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Intended for occupational therapy practitioners and students, other health care professionals, educators, researchers, payers, and consumers, the Framework presents a summary of interrelated constructs that describe occupational therapy practice.
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
Objective. We developed an observational tool, the Comprehensive Observations of Proprioception (COP), for identifying proprioceptive processing issues in children with developmental disabilities.
Method. Development of the COP underwent three phases. First, we developed items representing proprioceptive functions on the basis of an extensive literature review and consultation with occupational therapists. We then established interrater reliability and content, construct, and criterion validity. Finally, we completed a factor analysis of COP ratings of 130 children with known developmental disabilities.
Results. Adequate validity and reliability were established. Factor analysis revealed a four-factor model that explained the underlying structure of the measure as it was hypothesized.
Conclusion. The COP is a valid criterion-referenced short observational tool that structures the clinician’s observations by linking a child’s behaviors to areas identified in the literature as relevant to proprioceptive processing. It takes 15 min to administer and can be used in a variety of contexts, such as the home, clinic, and school.
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
Objective. Sensory processing difficulties among children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been extensively documented. However, less is known about this population’s ability to process proprioceptive information.
Method. We used the Comprehensive Observations of Proprioception (COP; Blanche, Bodison, Chang, & Reinoso, in press) to describe the proprioceptive difficulties experienced by children with ASD. A sample of 32 children with ASD, 26 children with developmental disabilities excluding ASD, and 28 typically developing control children were studied using the COP.
Results. Children with ASD present with proprioceptive processing difficulties that are different from those of children with developmental disabilities and their typically developing counterparts. Specific data, potential clinical applications, and directions for future research are described.
Conclusion. Results suggest that the COP has useful clinical research applications. Further assessment of psychometric properties, clinical utility, and meaningful differences among diverse clinical populations are needed.
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
Building on established relationships between the constructs of sensory integration in typical and special needs populations, in this retrospective study we examined patterns of sensory integrative dysfunction in 273 children ages 4–9 who had received occupational therapy evaluations in two private practice settings. Test results on the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests, portions of the Sensory Processing Measure representing tactile overresponsiveness, and parent report of attention and activity level were included in the analyses. Exploratory factor analysis identified patterns similar to those found in early studies by Ayres (1965, 1966a, 1966b, 1969, 1972b, 1977, & 1989), namely Visuodyspraxia and Somatodyspraxia, Vestibular and Proprioceptive Bilateral Integration and Sequencing, Tactile and Visual Discrimination, and Tactile Defensiveness and Attention. Findings reinforce associations between constructs of sensory integration and assist with understanding sensory integration disorders that may affect childhood occupation. Limitations include the potential for subjective interpretation in factor analysis and inability to adjust measures available in charts in a retrospective research.
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
Bodison, S. (2007, September 24). Sensory Integration Special Interest Section update. OT Practice, 12(17), 20. Full text
Bodison, S. (2006). Sensory integration: It’s not just for children. Sensory Integration Special Interest Section Quarterly, 29(4), 1-4. Full text
Bodison, S., & Mailloux, Z. (2006). The Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests: Illuminating struggles and strengths in participation at school. OT Practice, 11(7), CE1-CE8. Full text