Thomas Jefferson University
Jefferson College of Rehabilitation Sciences
Department of Occupational Therapy

Schaaf, Roseann

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Roseann C. Schaaf

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

Contact Dr. Schaaf

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

(215) 503-9609
(215) 503-2950 fax


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

Advanced Certifications

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

University Appointments

  • Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy
  • Director, Jefferson Autism Center of Excellence
  • Faculty, Farber Institute for Neuroscience
  • Research Associate, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa (2018)
  • Visiting Professor, Albert Einstein Medical Center (2015 - present)

Leadership Positions

Professional Societies

  • Member, American Occupational Therapy Association
  • Member, International Society for Autism Research
  • Member, American Occupational Therapy Foundation
  • President, Academy of Research, American Occupational Therapy Foundation
  • Member, Alpha Eta Honor Society
  • Member, Philadelphia Autism Project
  • Member, World Federation of Occupational Therapists
  • Member, Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association.
  • Founding Member, Sensory Integration Research Collaborative

Awards & Honors

  • American Occupational Therapy Foundation Academy of Research (Inducted April 6, 2016).
  • Jean Ayres Research Award. (April 2008): The American Occupational Therapy Foundation.
  • Bridges to the Ivory Tower Research Award. (February 2007) Pediatric Therapy Network.
  • Dean’s Faculty Achievement Award. (May 26, 2005) Thomas Jefferson University, College of Health Profession.
  • Switzer Fellowship. (July 1, 2001-June 30, 2002). National Institute on Disabilities and Rehabilitation Research.
  • Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. (1996). Thomas Jefferson University.
  • Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association. (1996).
  • Service Award.  (1993-1996, 1996-1999).  AOTA Developmental Disabilities SIS.
  • Fred and Sadie Abrams Award for Clinical and Laboratory Teaching Excellence.  (1993). Thomas Jefferson University.
  • Master Clinician Award of Excellence.  (1990). Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association.

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. 


Most Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. Sensory Features as a Marker of Autism Spectrum Disorders
  2. Neural foundations of ayres sensory integration®
  3. Occupational therapy interventions for children and youthwith challenges in sensory integration and sensory processing: A clinic-based practice case example
  4. Occupational therapy interventions for children and youthwith challenges in sensory integration and sensory processing: A school-based practice case example
  5. Ayres Sensory Integration Meets Criteria for an Evidence-Based Practice: A Response to Stevenson [2019]
  6. A systematic review of ayres sensory integration intervention for children with autism
  7. Erratum: (American Journal of Occupational Therapy (2018) 72: 1 DOI: 10.5014/ajot.2018.029017)
  8. Efficacy of occupational therapy using ayres sensory integration®: A systematic review
  9. Introduction to the evaluation in ayres sensory integration® (EASI)
  10. Sleep in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  11. Manualization of occupational therapy using ayres sensory integration® for autism
  12. Application of data-driven decision making using ayres sensory integration® with a child with Autism
  13. Toward a Best-Practice Protocol for Assessment of Sensory Features in ASD
  14. Creating evidence for practice using data-driven decision making
  15. Ayres sensory integration®intervention
  16. Linking Sensory Factors to Participation: Establishing Intervention Goals with Parents for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  17. Sensory integration and praxis patterns in children with autism
  18. State of the science: A roadmap for research in sensory integration
  19. Measuring change in somatosensation across the lifespan
  20. Sensory interventions for children with autism
  21. Response from authors to comments on "An intervention for sensory difficulties in children with autism: A randomized trial"
  22. Interrater reliability and discriminative validity of the structural elements of the ayres sensory integration® fidelity measure©
  23. State of measurement in occupational therapy using sensory integration
  24. An intervention for sensory difficulties in children with autism: A randomized trial
  25. Occupational therapy based on ayres sensory integration in the treatment of retentive fecal incontinence in a 3-year-old boy