JeffACE News


She / Her / Hers / Herself
  • Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy
  • Director, Jefferson Autism Center of Excellence
  • Professor, Farber Institute for Neurosciences
Organization: Jefferson Autism Center of Excellence

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Philadelphia, PA 19107

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The JeffACE team presented 5 posters at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Inspire Conference

The JeffACE team presented 5 poster presentations at the annual American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Inspire Conference which took place in Kansas City, MO in April 2023.

  • Adapting a Manualized Occupational Therapy Intervention Using Ayres Sensory Integration for Autistic Children for Remote Delivery.
  • Development of a Fidelity Checklist for Attention Control Group in a Randomized Trial of Ayres Sensory Integration.
  • A Sensory Adaptive Environment to Enhance Participation in Healthcare for Autistic Children:  An Interdisciplinary Design Thinking Approach.
  • Voices Shaping Interventions:  Adapting Occupational Therapy Using Ayres Sensory Integration to Improve Access for Black and African American Autistic Children.
  • Improved Occupational Engagement:  Parent-Identified Goals for Occupational Therapy for Autistic Children.

Dr. Roseann Schaaf received the 2022 Thomas Jefferson University Provost Award for Clinical/Translation Research

Dr. Roseann Schaaf received the 2022 Thomas Jefferson University Provost Award for Clinical/Translation Research. This award recognizes a faculty member for significant contribution to their field through clinical and/or translational research. Dr. Schaaf’s translational research includes her studies of a manualized occupational therapy intervention for sensory symptoms in autism, creating a systematic clinical reasoning framework called Data Driven Decision Making (DDDM). DDDM provides a usable, manualized guide for clinicians and researchers. Dr. Schaaf and her team also created and validated a fidelity measure and a blueprint for outcome measurement that is used to guide clinical practice. These data-based tools are readily translatable to clinical practice.  In fact, the data-driven process is now integrated into the OT curriculum at Jefferson and is used worldwide to guide clinical practice and research. Based on Dr. Schaaf’s work, OT intervention is now recognized as an evidence-based intervention for children with autism. Thus, insurance companies such as CIGNA now cover occupational therapy using sensory integration for children with autism.  

Nancy Talbot Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award Recipient

Congratulations to Dr. Lady Rios-Vega, who was selected to receive the American Occupational Therapy Foundation’s Nancy Talbot Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Dr. Rios-Vega will collaborate with the Jefferson Autism Center of Excellence (JeffACE) on a research project to reduce disparities in the utilization of Occupational Therapy services for Black and African American children with Autism and their families. 

Jefferson Autism Center of Excellence Presents at the American Occupational Therapy Association

Members of the Jefferson Autism Center of Excellence presented five posters at the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference in San Antonio, Texas, from March 28 – April 3, 2022.  Posters included studies related to using Ayres Sensory Integration in Early Intervention, A survey of parent’s interest in Cannabis use for their children with Autism; the Creation of an Autism Sensory-Friendly Vision Clinic for Autistic Persons,  Examining Sexuality Education for Autistic Persons; and Outcomes from a Sensory –Friendly Zumba Class for Autism.  

Helping Kids Thrive With Occupational Therapy Using Ayres Sensory Integration

ASI (Ayres Sensory Integration) began with Dr. Jean Ayres's research into the sensory systems starting in the 1970s. Since then, a core group of occupational therapists has continued to research and advocate for the effectiveness of ASI, especially in people with autism. In recent years, ASI has become an evidenced-based treatment and is now covered by many insurances. 

In this webinar, you will hear from three of the researchers at the forefront of this research, learn about the history of ASI, see ASI in action, and understand how/ if ASI might be helpful to an autistic person in your life.

DHSA Shark Tank Competition Winners

Jefferson Autism Center of Excellence Occupational Therapy Doctoral Capstone students, Danielle Lynn, and Rachel Boyer won the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance (DHSA) Shark Tank research competition, with a grand prize of a $50,000 grant.  DHSA requested population health research proposals from students, faculty, or staff affiliated with any of DHSA’s member institutions. The shark tank-type event, with real-time presentations, judging, and awards, culminate in a final presentation on November 30, 2021.  This research aims to highlight the disparities in healthcare access and delivery.  The Jefferson Autism Center of Excellence focused on health disparities in children with autism, who experience a greater number of healthcare visits per year compared to neurotypical peers and are more likely to experience challenges during their healthcare interactions. These challenges are often related to sensory overstimulation, such as hyper-reactivity to touch and sounds and difficulties receiving, sorting, processing, and integrating sensations from the body and the environment.  Thus, the healthcare visit can be challenging for an autistic child, their caregiver, and the healthcare providers. This research intends to improve access to, and success during healthcare visits for children with autism at the Nemours Swank Autism Center by addressing these sensory challenges.  This will be accomplished by providing educational training opportunities for developmental providers at Swank, and then creating individualized sensory-adapted experiences for use before, during, and after visits in the form of individualized sensory-based toys, environmental adaptations, and pre-and post- visit strategies.

Helping to Bring Social Justice to the Neurodiverse Population

Jefferson's team develops an autism toolkit for police, emergency personnel, and justice professionals.

Read the Nexus story here.

JeffACE YouTube Channel

Provides information and resources for parents and professionals on autism, occupational therapy, and related topics.