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Child Health and Education Laboratory

General Laboratory Description

Dr. King directs the Child Health and Education Laboratory, which focuses on children with chronic illness, specifically those with sickle cell disease or brain tumors. In addition, Dr. King currently directs the Heartland Sickle Cell Disease Network, a partnership with sickle cell disease care providers and community organizations to improve overall care and quality of life of patients with sickle cell disease in a four-state region that includes Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.

  • Environmental impact on children with chronic illness
  • Studying the relationship between maternal mental health and child development among children with sickle cell disease
  • Development and/or validation of assessments of participation and quality of life of infants and toddlers 1-24 months of age
  • Validation of an assessment of knowledge of sickle cell disease
  • Transition program for adolescents with sickle cell disease
  • Qualitative analysis of focus group sessions to better understand the needs of patients with sickle cell disease

General Description of Student Activities

Students are expected to complete at least one hypothesis-driven project focusing on either children with sickle cell disease or children with brain tumors. Projects could be a retrospective study or a cross-sectional, prospective study. The results will focus on educational and functional outcomes. OTD students are expected to publish a manuscript by the end of the final year. There may also be publication opportunities for MSOT students. Most of the research will be completed at St. Louis Children’s Hospital or at the Program in Occupational Therapy building. Students may occasionally need to drive if their project involves home interviews or community education programs. Some studies may involve evening or weekend research.

Examples of Projects

  • Evaluate the effect of home environment and parental stress on developmental outcomes of children with SCD
  • Develop relationships with community associations to address educational attainment for children with chronic diseases
  • Assess effectiveness of an educational video about SCD
  • Educate adolescents with chronic illness to improve independent living skills to improve transition from pediatric to adult health care and independent living
  • Validate an activity card sort for infants and toddlers, 2-24 months of age
  • Assess cognition in adults with sickle cell disease utilizing the National Institutes of Health (NIH)Toolbox
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