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Physical Activity & Developmental Disability Lab

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Improving health and physical function for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

TCU’s Physical Activity & Developmental Disability Lab is well-equipped with a diverse range of measurement tools that allow for precise and objective assessments of physical activity and motor development.

The central research objective of this laboratory is to enhance our comprehension of the health and physical function in individuals who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through the utilization of these advanced measurement tools, the lab strives to uncover valuable insights that can lead to improvements in the overall well-being and physical abilities of this specific population.



TCU Rickel Academic Wing
Room 256

Lab Members

Phil Esposito TCU

Dr. Esposito’s research focuses on the health and develop mental disparities that exist among individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, primarily those with Down syndrome. He has mentored nearly 100 undergraduate student research, overseeing their projects, three graduate students and two students' current research experiences with the Burnett School of Medicine at TCU. His students have presented at professional conferences both domestically and internationally. He currently serves as a Health Promotions Clinical Director for Special Olympics Texas and as a Global Clinical Advisor for Special Olympics North America. He is also an Associate Editor for Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly.

Claire Thompson, Physical Activity & Developmental Disability LabClaire Thompson is a second-year medical student at the Burnett School of Medicine at TCU. She is originally from Boston and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in health and human biology with honors from Brown University. Her current research focuses on screening tools in Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and how Autism presents in females.

Samuel Ayeni, Physical Activity & Developmental Disability LabSamuel Ayeni is a first-year master's student with a focus on nutrition, physical activity and chronic disease. Samuel is from Osun, Nigeria and his current research examines the predictors of overweight and obesity among Nigerian immigrants in the United States. Samuel's goals are to obtain a doctorate degree and become a research scientist in the field of nutrition and physical activity. 

Eric Eaton, Physical Activity & Developmental Disability LabEric Eaton is a senior movement science and psychology dual-degree candidate from Euless, Texas. His senior research project is focused on the effectiveness of ankle-foot orthotics in improving static balance for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). His professional goals include pursuing a doctor of physical therapy degree to eventually practice clinically as a neurologic physical therapist.

Madeline "Maddie" Gose, Physical Activity & Developmental Disability LabMaddie is an incoming first-year master’s student from Carmel, California. She is pursuing an emphasis in motor control and plans on focusing her research on the development of gross motor skills in children with intellectual disabilities through a gymnastics intervention program. Her hope is to encourage kids to confidently engage in sport by providing a program that helps them learn the necessary skills to participate with their peers.

Hannah Murphy leaning on a tree

Hannah Murphy is a junior movement science major on the pre-dental track from Westport, CT. Her departmental honors research project is focusing on the oral health status of people with intellectual disabilities in Texas and the interventions through Special Smiles. Her professional goals include going to dental school to eventually practice as a pediatric dentist. 

Picture Rayner E

Rayner Ellington is a movement science major and plans to attend a doctor of cccupational therapy program following her graduation in May 2025. From minoring in deaf and hard of cearing communication studies and child development, Rayner hopes to work with children with autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and nonverbal learning disabilities. Rayner is from Amarillo, Texas nd enjoys Pilates, spending time with friends and family, and watching college football.