Current Research & Projects

  • Social Participation And Navigation (SPAN): Adaptation, Usability And Implementation For Youth and Transition-age Young Adult Brain Tumor Survivors. Deborah Munroe Noonan Memorial Research Fund. Principal Investigator. (Awarded and funded 2020-2023). 

He will be collaborating with the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation ( The project will involve obtaining feedback from young brain tumor survivors and their family members to inform adaptations to SPAN (spanprogram), an app-based virtual coaching intervention originally designed for teenagers with traumatic brain injury, and then testing its usability and preliminary effects on social participation outcomes.

  • Modifying Social Participation And Navigation (SPAN) for Adolescents with Social Anxiety incorporating pet dogs. Tufts Springboard Award. Co-Principal Investigator.  Principal Investigator, Dr. Megan Mueller, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. (Awarded and funded 2020-2021).

The adaptation will incorporate feedback from key stakeholder (adolescents, parents, professionals) and principles from SPAN (e.g., coaching and goal planning) and leverage human-animal interaction (through the supportive relationship of a dog companion) to promote social connections and participation for adolescents with social anxiety.

  • Adaptation and Usability of Social Participation And Navigation (SPAN) for adolescent speakers with dysarthria. Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute Pilot Study award.  Co-Principal Investigator.  Kathryn Connaghan, Northeastern University, Principal Investigator (Awarded and funded 2018-2019).

This study examines the social interaction experiences, including barriers, facilitators, and strategies to promote successful social participation of adolescents with dysarthria and assesses the usability of Social Participation and Navigation (SPAN), an evidence–based intervention designed to mitigate barriers to social participation through web-based app training, peer-coach support, and online didactic content. Based on the success of SPAN with adolescents with traumatic brain injury, we aim to adapt the intervention for use with adolescents with dysarthria.

  • Robot Assistance with Activities of Daily Living for Persons with C4-C7 Spinal Cord Injury. Craig H. Neilsen Foundation. Co-Principal investigator.   William Messner, Tufts University, Principal Investigator (Awarded and funded 2017 -2018).

The purpose of this research is to program and further develop a Robot to assist persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) perform activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living. Study partners with SCI will inform the development and be involved with usability testing along with a team of researchers and students from mechanical Engineering and Occupational Therapy.

  • Developing and testing a new Social Participation And Navigation (SPAN) website and web-based app. Tufts Faculty Research Award Committee (FRAC) grant. Principal Investigator (2017 – 2018).

The purpose of this research is to develop a new SPAN website and web-based app based on feedback and findings from a prior pilot implementation trial with teenagers with TBI and brain tumors.

  • Feasibility Test of a Pediatric Web-Based Care Planning Guide. American Occupational Therapy Foundation. Co-Investigator. Mary Khetani, ScD.,  University of Illinois-Chicago, Principal Investigator (Awarded and funded, 2016-2017; no cost extension until 2018).

The purpose of this research is to develop a web-based app to assist parents with developing goals and action plans and strategies to promote participation of their children with disabilities  based on the results on their child’s Young Children’s Participation and Environment Measure (YC-PEM).

  • Social Participation AND Navigation (SPAN): Intervention for teens with TBI using peer coaching and phone and web technology. Department of Health and Human Services – National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant #H133G130272). Co-Principal Investigator.  Shari Wade, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (Approved and funded, 2013- 2016; no cost extension until 2017).

The purpose of this grant was to develop and conduct preliminary testing of an intervention (SPAN) for teens with TBI.  The intervention will involve use of mobile phone and web technology and training and supervision of college student peer coaches who will support teens in setting social participation goals and with problem solving and implementation of strategies to achieve these goals.  Ongoing work.

  • Validating the Child and Adolescent Scale of Participation (CASP) for use in population-based research with children and youth with Traumatic Brain Injury. Initial funding from Tufts University, Faculty Research Award Committee (FRAC) Grant-in-Aid.  Approved and funded. Principal Investigator (2012 – 2013).  Ongoing work.

I am doing additional psychometric testing (responsiveness and discriminative validity; construct validity) of the Child and Adolescent Scale of Participation (CASP), Child and Adolescent Scale of Environment, and Child Adolescent Factors Inventory (CAFI) to determine their usefulness in population-based and multi-site research with children and youth with traumatic/acquired brain injuries and other disabling conditions.

Downloadable draft guidelines for these measures are available under “Measurement tools”