Roseann C. Schaaf, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Faculty, Farber Institute for Neuroscience

Roseann C. Schaaf


130 S 9th Street
6th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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215-503-2950 fax

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Roseann C. Schaaf, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Faculty, Farber Institute for Neuroscience


PhD, Neural and Behavioral Sciences, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA
MEd, Motor Development, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
BS, Occupational Therapy, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

Recent Publications

Leadership Positions


  • National Board Certification for Occupational Therapy
  • Licensed Occupational Therapist: Pennsylvania
  • Sensory Integration and Praxis Test Certification
  • AOTA Neuroscience Certificate: Neuroscience Foundations of Human Performance

Professional Societies

  • Member, American Occupational Therapy Association
  • Member, Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association
  • Member, International Society for Autism Research
  • Founding Member, Sensory Integration Research Collaborative
  • Member, Society for Psychophysiological Research
  • Member, Alpha Eta Society

Awards & Honors

  • A. Jean Ayres, Research Award, The American Occupational Therapy Foundation, 2008
  • Bridges to the Ivory Tower Research Award, Pediatric Therapy Network, 2007
  • Dean's Faculty Achievement Award, Thomas Jefferson University, 2005
  • Switzer Fellowship, National Institute on Disabilities and Rehabilitation Research, 2001-2002
  • Service Award, American Occupational Therapy Association Developmental Disabilities SIS, 1993-1996, 1996-1999
  • Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association, 1996
  • Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, Thomas Jefferson University, 1996
  • Fred and Sayde Abrams Award for Excellence in Clinical and Laboratory Instruction, 1993
  • Master Clinician Award of Excellence, Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association, 1990
  • Cordelia Myers Writer's Award, 1985
  • Graduate Teaching Assitantship, Temple University, 1981

Leadership Positions

Research & Clinical Interests

  • Intervention studies to evaluate the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Studying the neural mechanisms of sensory features in Autism including autonomic nervous system markers and the neural impacts of treatment of sensory features.
  • Building evidence to support optimal function and participation in persons with Autism and other neurodevelopmental and environmental conditions.
  • Promoting best practice in occupational therapy through data driven decision-making, intervention research, knowledge translation and implementation science.


Dr. Schaaf is a translational scientist bringing basic and applied science to clinical practice to improve lives.   She is currently co-PI on a large NIH R01 comparative effectiveness trial examining the effectiveness of occupational therapy using Ayres Sensory Integration; an Eagles Autism Foundation Award to develop and test a new assessment of sensory functions; and a large program grant to study “Sensory Features in Autism.” In this latter grant, funded by the Nancy Lurie Marks Foundation, Dr. Schaaf serves as the overall project PI and is responsible for overseeing the work of five projects.  Dr. Schaaf has been involved in research for over 20 years, receiving over $3 Million of funding and serving as a grant reviewer on several panels.  She is the author of 4 books, serves as an associate editor of Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, and chair of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation Academy of Research.  Dr. Schaaf has over 75 publications in peer review journals and an international known speaker.