In the Occupational Therapy NICU Lab, we seek to better understand the impact of the environment, medical conditions and interventions on brain structure and functional outcome of the developing infant. Most of the current work involves premature infants born prior to 32 weeks gestation and who are hospitalized in the NICU. Short term and long term outcome measures are used that include infant neurobehavioral assessments and feeding evaluations, in addition to maternal, social and environmental assessments. The OT NICU lab also conducts research centered around engaging parents, accessing early intervention services, developing assessment tools, and new technologies and interventions to optimize outcome.
Recent developments from the OT NICU lab include:
The development of the Neonatal Eating Outcome Assessment: a standardized assessment that can be used from the time that feeding is initiated through the neonatal period in order to delineate alterations in the infant’s feeding trajectory.
The development and implementation of the Supporting and Enhancing NICU Sensory Experiences (SENSE) program: a comprehensive approach to ensuring multi-modal positive sensory exposures across hospitalization for high-risk infants in the NICU.
The development and implementation of the Baby Bridge program: a program designed to address challenges associated with the transition from NICU to home and to ensure timely therapy services following NICU discharge.