Physical Activity & Developmental Disability Lab

Take the lead on enhancing functional capabilities for children and adults

The primary research goal of the laboratory is to better understand health and physical function in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A secondary goal is designing and implementing programs to decrease functional and health disparities in these groups.

Faculty

Dr. Phil Esposito
p.esposito@tcu.edu

 

Current Lab Members

  • Del Aguliar
  • Megan Bowers
  • Paige Browning
  • Natalie Harris

 

Past Lab Members

  • Kyla Collins – current 1styear DPT student at University of Saskatchewan
  • Kathryn Favaloro – current 1styear DPT student at Louisiana State University, New Orleans
  • Emily Bow – current 1styear DPT student at University of North Texas Health Science
  • Arianna Bennett – current 2ndyear DPT student at Regis University (CO.)
  • Karri Kugler – current 2ndyear DPT student at Azusa Pacific University (CA.)
  • Elise Pellett – current 2ndyear DPT student at Washington University (St. Louis)

Current Projects

  • Adaptive Skills and School Readiness in Children with Down syndrome
    • Children with Down syndrome experience a variety motor and cognitive deficits. Combined, these deficits place children with Down syndrome at risk for developmental delays limiting their ability to enter the school system with their same age peers. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of adaptive skills on school readiness in children with Down syndrome.
  • The Effect of Hippotherapy on Balance in Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
    • Although hippotherapy was first cited in the occupational therapy literature approximately thirty years ago, there has been little research into its clinical application in occupational therapy. The purpose of this study was to study the effectiveness of hippotherapy on balance among individuals with intellectual disabilities.
  • The effects of sensory processing disorder in relation to praxis skills in young children with learning disabilities and/or attention disorders.
    • Sensory processing disorder is a concept that is generally accepted within occupational therapy communities and is characterized by an inability or difficulty converging several pieces of sensory information at one time. The purpose of this study is to explore if young children with learning disabilities experience praxis deficits due to sensory processing disorder.
  • The effect of muscular strength on balance in individuals with intellectual disabilities & Down syndrome
    • Individuals with Down syndrome have been found to have poor postural control and decreased muscular strength. The purpose of this study is to examine the role of lower limb strength on balance.

 

Recent Research

Student Presentations

Favaloro, K., Roberts, E., Bow, E., Decker, E., & Esposito, P. (2019). The Role of Visual Input on Balance in Individuals with Down syndrome and Intellectual Disabilities. Poster presentation at the 2019 American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting (CSM), Washington, D.C.

Collins, K., Decker, E., & Esposito, P.  (2018). Validation of Special Olympics Balance Assessment.  Poster presentation at the 2018 American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting (CSM), New Orleans, Louisiana.

Bennett, A., Pellett, E., Kugler, K., Decker, E., & Esposito, P. (2018). Balance in individuals with Down syndrome and intellectual disabilities.  Poster presentation at the 2018 American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting (CSM), New Orleans, Louisiana.

Cole, W., Giovinazzo, B., Owens, L., & Esposito, P. (2017).  Reaction time and fine motor dexterity in adults with intellectual disabilities.  Poster presentation at the 2017 American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Annual Conference & Expo, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Collins, K., Young, A., & Esposito, P. (2017). New criteria for assessing body composition among children with Down syndrome. International Symposium for Adapted Physical Activity (ISAPA). Daegu, South Korea.