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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 and Southwest 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 an eight-state region that includes Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.

Current research projects include:

  • 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 0-48 months old
  • Development and implementation of a 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
  • Assessing effect of sickle cell disease on cognition, functional task performance, and health literacy in adolescents and adults
  • Dissemination and implementation of standardized cognitive assessments for adolescents and young adults with sickle cell disease
  • Investigating consequences of hearing loss on cognitive late effects in brain tumor survivors

General Description of Student Activities

Students are expected to complete at least one hypothesis-driven project focusing on either children or adults 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 sickle cell disease
  • Develop relationships with community associations to address educational attainment for children with chronic diseases
  • Assess effectiveness of an educational video about sickle cell disease
  • Educate adolescents with chronic illnesses to improve independent living skills and facilitate transition from pediatric to adult health care and independent living
  • Validate an activity card sort for infants and toddlers, 0-48 months old
  • Assess cognition, functional task performance, and health literacy in adolescents and adults with sickle cell disease utilizing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Toolbox, Weschler Abbreviated Scales of Intelligence (WASI-II), Executive Function Performance Test (EFPT) and Weekly Calendar Planning Activity (WCPA)
  • Qualitative analysis of focus group interviews with patients and families dealing with sickle cell disease

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

Upcoming visit sessions*:

*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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Questions?

Call Dr. Kniepmann at (314) 286-1610
or Robin Hattori at (314) 286-1653