Faculty Mentor: Grace Baranek PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Research Lab: Innovations in Neurodevelopmental Sensory Processing Research (insp!re)
Year of Entry: 2022
My research interests are focused on early indicators that may lead to an autism diagnosis, including sensory processing and communication differences. I am particularly interested in strengths-based parent education in relationship to screening, diagnosis, and early-intervention. As a research assistant in the Innovations in Neurodevelopmental Sensory Processing Research (insp!re) lab, I am working on a project that will use Respiratory Sinus Arrythmia (RSA) levels of both infants and caregivers to measure parent engagement and synchrony during early occupations (such as play, sleep, feeding, etc).
Prior to my time as a PhD student, I worked clinically as an occupational therapist in schools and for California Children’s Services for 4 years. During this time, I identified a need for more understanding of the parent and child relationship and how this impacts early occupation and development in young children with neurodevelopmental disorders. I am eager to explore this relationship, among many others, under the guidance of Dr. Baranek.