Peggy Barco with student in modified car

Driving and Community Mobility Laboratory

General Laboratory Description

Dr. Barco directs the Driving and Community Mobility Laboratory, in which students are actively incorporated into both clinical and research experiences. Students have the opportunity to observe and perform occupational therapy vision, motor, cognitive screens, and performance-based cognitive assessments on medically challenged individuals including older adults with dementia, stroke, Parkinson disease and visual disorders as part of determining fitness to drive. Students observe how interpersonal communication skills and therapeutic use of self can be utilized to assist in providing sometimes-difficult driving recommendations (including driving retirement) to clients and families and transition plans after driving cessation.

General Description of Student Activities

Students in this lab will become familiar with the role of occupational therapy in utilizing a variety of screens and assessments when determining fitness to drive. Projects can be clinic- or research-focused, depending on the student’s individual goals.

Examples of Projects

  • Assist in the development and training of novel performance-based cognitive functional screens to be used when determining driving capabilities in cognitively challenged individuals
  • Assist in the development of occupational therapy’s role in interventions supporting best practice in the development of alternative transportation options to driving to maintain participation
  • Assist in the development of services for specialized populations (e.g., autism, driving with physical impairments) related to driving abilities
  • Continue the study of the effectiveness of an on-line training program to standardize the measurement of driving errors observed during the on-road assessment

Ranked as the Number Three OT Program in the Nation

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Schedule a Virtual Visit

Current, future and accepted applicants are encouraged to virtual visit. We also welcome people who are exploring career options and considering occupational therapy. Dr. Kathy Kniepmann, one of our faculty members, opens our virtual visit sessions with an informal presentation and discussion,  followed by a chat with a current student.

Upcoming VIRTUAL visit sessions*:

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*At least two to three visit sessions are scheduled every month. All times are Central Standard Time (CST). Click here for more info.

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Call Dr. Kniepmann at (314) 286-1610
or Sarah Alsop at (314) 286-1655