Marinthea Richter OTD
Faculty Mentor: Bobbi Pineda PhD, OTR/L, CNT
Research Lab: NICU Therapy Lab
Year of Entry: 2020
I am currently a PhD student in the Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy working under the guidance of Dr. Bobbi Pineda. My research interest relates to the neurodevelopmental outcomes of high-risk infants and early intervention focusing on neonates. I became interested in this field during my clinical experience as an Occupational Therapist in South Africa, where I worked in pediatric acute care and outpatients at a large tertiary hospital. My current role as a PhD student is to support Dr. Pineda’s work related to the Supporting and Enhancing Neonatal Sensory Experience program (SENSE), and her research on the neurodevelopmental outcomes of premature infants admitted in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. My long term goal is to return to South Africa and continue with research on factors that may influence the neurodevelopmental outcomes for NICU survivors in developing countries.
Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
2020 | University of Southern California
Masters in Early Childhood Intervention (MECI)
2017 | University of Pretoria
Bachelors in Occupational Therapy (BOT)
2012 | University of Pretoria
Meether, M., Bush, C. N., Richter, M., & Pineda, R. (2020). Neurobehavior of very preterm infants at term equivalent age is related to early childhood outcomes. Acta Paediatrica. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.15595 Show abstract
Aim. To describe neurodevelopmental outcomes during early childhood among infants born very preterm and define the relationships between neurobehavior of very preterm infants and neurodevelopmental outcomes at 4 years.
Methods. Forty‐eight infants born ≤32 weeks gestation had neurobehavior assessed at term equivalent age using the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale (NNNS). Outcomes at 4 years were assessed with the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ‐3), the Sensory Profile – Short Form (SF), and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function – Preschool version (BRIEF‐P).
Results. At 4 years, 23 (48%) children had at least one below average score on the ASQ‐3, 15 (31%) had a below average total score on the Sensory Profile‐SF, and 3 (6%) had an abnormal total score on the BRIEF‐P. Children with lower fine motor scores at 4 years had poorer orientation (p=.03) and self‐regulation (p=.03), hypertonia (p=.01), and more sub‐optimal reflexes (p=.02) as neonates. Children with lower gross motor scores at 4 years of age had more sub-optimal reflexes (p=.03) and lethargy (p=.046) as neonates. Children with tactile sensitivity at 4 years of age had poorer orientation (p=.01) and tolerance of handling (p=.03) as neonates. Children with decreased responsiveness at 4 years of age had low arousal (p=.02) as neonates, and those with poor auditory filtering at age 4 years had hypotonia (p=.03) as neonates.
Conclusion. Early neurobehavior is related to neurodevelopmental outcome in early childhood.