I joined the Occupational Therapy Department at Ithaca College in 1998, when our first class of students was entering the senior year. I served as Graduate Chair from 1999-2002, and as Chair and Program Director from 2004-2011. My teaching in recent years has included courses related to the assessment and treatment of children (with particular emphasis on working with infants and toddlers and their families), research methods, healthcare and culture, and occupational science. I enjoy research, and have worked with many graduate students in completing their individual theses and group research projects in areas related to primarily to pediatric practice.
For the past several years, I have been working closely faculty colleagues Sharon Stansfield from Computer Science and Helene Larin from Physical Therapy on the development and outcomes of experiences with a robotic mobility device designed to provide independent movement to infants with disabilities. this project is based on research that indicates that independent mobility in infants is associated with developmental growth in perception, cognition, social/communicative functions, and object interaction. Our view, which is shared by many other clinicians and researchers, is that we should provide safe, assistive technology to allow infants with motor impairments to travel independently as early as is feasible. Undergraduate and graduate students have been heavily involved in this project, which we call "Tots on Bots", and have presented results of their research at local, state, and national conferences. Infants, who have ranged in age from 5 to 9 months of age have learned to control their movement on our WeeBot (a robot controlled by infant leaning over a WiiFit balance board) in just a few training sessions! While most of our work has been with infants who are developing typically, we have begun a project working with infants with disabilities, with positive results to date. You can find videos and other information about this project on this page and at this web site: https://www.ithaca.edu/hs/depts/cs/facstaff/sstansfield/totsOnBots/.
I also have a strong interest in the effects of culture on health and healthcare. Through this interest I have enjoyed a number of international experiences in occupational therapy, which have included teaching in Sweden, Russia, and England, and leading short-term study abroad courses in the Dominican Republic. I spent the academic year 2006-2007 living and working in London in the fall (at the Ithaca College London Center) and Buenos Aires, Argentina in the spring. In the summer of 2011 I travelled to Santiago, Chile to participate in a seminar, and Ibarra, Ecuador to join a colleague who works in a clinic in that city. In May of 2012, I traveled to Ireland and Sweden to discuss faculty/student exchange possibilities, and to present professional papers at COTEC, the European occupational therapy conference.
I am delighted to welcome prospective students and their parents to the department. I really enjoy sharing information about our program and about the field of occupational therapy, so please call me (607-274-1057)!
Sc.D. Therapeutic Studies, Sargent College, Boston University
M.A. Special Education for Infants and Toddlers, University of Connecticut
B.S. Occupational Therapy, University of New Hampshire