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 SCD or brain tumors. In addition, Dr. King currently directs the Heartland and Southwest Sickle Cell Disease Network, a partnership with SCD care providers and community organizations to improve overall care and quality of life in patients with SCD 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 SCD
  • 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 SCD
  • Qualitative analysis of focus group sessions to better understand the needs of patients with SCD
  • Assessing the effects of SCD 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 SCD
  • Investigating the 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 SCD 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 may publish a manuscript by the end of the final year. 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 effects 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 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 SCD 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 SCD

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Current, future and accepted applicants are encouraged to visit us in person or virtually. 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 in person visit sessions*:

Upcoming virtual 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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Call Dr. Kniepmann at (314) 286-1610 or Mikayla Williams at (314) 286-1655.