Sudha Srinivasan

Assistant Professor

Kinesiology


Dr. Srinivasan’s interests lie in the fields of disability, technology for empowering individuals with disabilities, infant and child development, multisystem interventions for children with disabilities, and inclusive design. She is interested in– (1) understanding differences in the trajectories of individuals with disabilities compared to typically developing individuals across the lifespan, and (2) understanding the impact of environmental experiences including novel multisystem interventions and technology-based aids on individuals with disabilities. Her past work involved early detection of autism in infancy as well as development of engaging, whole-body rhythm and robotic interventions for school-age children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). More recently, her work has involved the development of novel, child-friendly assistive technologies including open-source Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) tools for children with communication difficulties.

 

Research Interests

Infant and child development, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Novel movement-based interventions for children with developmental disabilities, Assistive technologies and aids to empower children with disabilities

 

Research Summary

The REINVENT-PT (REhabilitation INnoVations & Emerging Novel Technologies in Physical Therapy) lab (PI: Srinivasan) is interested in understanding developmental trajectories of individuals with neuro-developmental disabilities such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, and Intellectual Disability across the lifespan. We are interested in studying how infants and children with developmental disabilities explore their physical and social environment compared to typically developing peers and the cascading effects of motor difficulties on a child’s social communication and cognitive development. We are also interested in assessing health-related outcomes in adolescents and young adults with developmental disabilities, including their physical activity and physical fitness levels. Based on our understanding of the developmental trajectories of individuals with disabilities (infants, children, and young adults), our goal is to develop engaging, evidence-based, multisystem, behavioral interventions and assistive technologies to empower the lives of people with disabilities.

 

At present, the lab has four ongoing research projects –

(1) Assessing physical activity and physical fitness levels in adolescents and young adults with developmental disabilities compared to age-matched typically developing peers and understanding factors at the personal and environmental levels that influence physical activity engagement in young adults with disabilities

(2) Development and implementation of novel creative play-based interventions involving music, dance, and yoga in children with developmental disabilities including Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and Down syndrome

(3) Assessing the effects of novel, icon-driven Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) technologies on social communication and behavioral skills of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder using a longitudinal study design, and

(4) Exploring the utility and efficacy of early parent-delivered powered mobility interventions (using the Wild Thing TM device) on movement and socialization skills of children with mobility limitations including Cerebral Palsy.

 

Teaching Responsibilities

            PT 5430 Functional neuro-biomechanical relationships

PT 5432 Motor control and clinical applications

PT 5458 Pediatric Physical Therapy

 

Selected Grants

InCHIP faculty seed grant – Associations among Impairments and Physical Activity in Young Adults with Autism: Seed grant from the Institute of Collaboration on Health, Intervention, & Policy

 

Publications**

Srinivasan, S., & Bhat, A. (2018) Differences in means-end exploration between infants at risk for autism and typically developing infants in the first 15 months of life. Developmental Psychobiology, 1-13. DOI

Srinivasan, S., Cavagnino, D., & Bhat, A. (2018) Effects of equine therapy on individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A systematic review. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40489-018-0130-z

Shield A., Knapke, K., Morgan, H., Srinivasan, S., & Bhat, A. (2017) Impaired praxis performance by deaf children with autism spectrum disorder on a gesture imitation task. Autism and Developmental Language Impairments,1-14.  https://doi.org/10.1177/2396941517745674

Srinivasan, S., Kaur, M., & Bhat, A. (2018) Comparing motor performance, praxis, coordination, and interpersonal synchrony between children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 72, 79-95.

Van Etten H., Kaur, M., Srinivasan, S., Cohen, S., Bhat, A., & Dobkins, K. (2017) Differential patterns of unusual sensory behaviors in infants at risk for, and teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(1), 1-15.

Bhat, A., Srinivasan, S., Woxholdt, C., & Shield, A. (2016). Differences in praxis performance and receptive language during fingerspelling between deaf children with and without autism spectrum disorder. Autism, 1-12.

Srinivasan, S., Eigsti, I-M., Gifford, T., & Bhat, A. (2016). The effects of embodied rhythm and robotic interventions on the spontaneous and responsive verbal communication skills of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A further outcome of a pilot randomized controlled trial. Research in Autism Spectrum disorders, 27, 73-87.

Srinivasan, S., Eigsti, I-M., Neelly, L., & Bhat, A. (2016). The effects of embodied rhythm and robotic interventions on the spontaneous and responsive social attention patterns of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A pilot randomized controlled trial. Research in Autism Spectrum disorders. 27, 54-72.

Srinivasan, S., & Bhat, A. (2016). Differences in Object Sharing and Locomotor Development between Infants at Risk for Autism and Typically Developing Infants in the First 15 Months of Life. Infant Behavior and Development, 42, 128-141.

Srinivasan, S., Park, I., Kaur, M., Gifford, T., Marsh, K., & Bhat, A. (2015). The effects of rhythm and robotic interventions on the imitation/praxis, interpersonal synchrony, and motor performance of children with Autism Spectrum. Autism Research and Treatment, vol. 2015, Article ID 736516.

Srinivasan, S., & Bhat, A. (2015) A comparison of the effects of rhythm and robotic interventions on repetitive behaviors and affective states of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Research in Autism Spectrum disorders, 18, 51-63.

Kaur, M., Srinivasan, S., & Bhat, A. (2015) Atypical object exploration in infants at-risk for autism compared to typically developing infants. Frontiers of Psychology, 6:798.

Srinivasan, S., Pescatello, L., & Bhat, A. (2014) Current perspectives on physical activity and exercise recommendations for obesity and physical fitness in children and adolescents with Autism spectrum disorders. Physical Therapy, 94(6), 875-889.

Srinivasan, S., & Bhat, A. (2013) The effect of robot-child interactions on social attention and verbalization patterns of typically developing children and children with autism between 4 and 8 years of age. Autism, 3(111), 2.

Srinivasan, S., Lynch, K., Gifford, T., Bubela, D., & Bhat, A. (2013) Effect of interactions between a child and a robot on the imitation and praxis performance of typically developing children and a child with autism: A preliminary study Perceptual & Motor Skills, 116(3), 885-904.

Srinivasan, S., & Bhat, A. (2013) A review of “music and movement” therapies for children with autism: embodied interventions for multisystem development. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 7, 22.

 

Selected Presentations

 

Bhat, A. & Srinivasan, S. Creative movement and play interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder. Accepted educational session to be presented at the Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) at Denver, Colorado in February 2020.

 

Srinivasan, S. Early perceptuo-motor delays in infants at risk for developing Autism Spectrum Disorder – Invited talk at the Developmental brown bag seminar in Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT in October 2019

 

Srinivasan, S., Sen, A., & Poovaiah, R. Jellow Senior: Providing a voice to the unheard. Pitch presentation in the Social Impact Labs at the Global Health & Innovation Conference held at Yale University, New Haven, CT on April 13-14, 2019.

 

Srinivasan, S. Rossum vs. Rhythm: What do kids with autism prefer? – Invited presentation at the Perception & Action Workshop conducted by the Center for Ecological Study of Perception & Action, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT in March 2019

 

Srinivasan, S. Jellow Communicator: Insights from a user-centric design process – Invited presentation at the Conference on Augmentative and Alternative Communication in Children with Communication Disorders organized by the School of Audiology & Speech Language Pathology at Bharti Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra, India in November 2018

 

Poovaiah, R. Sen, A., & Srinivasan, S. Design of an Icon-driven Augmentative and Assisted Communication System for Children experiencing Difficulty with Speech and Language. Platform presentation at The Singapore Educational Technology Conference, Singapore held on August 30-31 2018.

 

Srinivasan, S. Jellow Communicator: A novel communication tool for children with communication difficulties – Invited presentation at the National Conference on Ensuring Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Sports for the Empowerment of Women with Disabilities, Coimbatore, India in February 2018.

 

Srinivasan, S. Techno Talk: Translating Ideas into Apps – Invited presentation at the 6th Annual Conference of the Maharashtra branch of the Indian Speech and Hearing Association, Mumbai, India in November 2017.

 

Srinivasan, S. Jellow Communicator: An aid for children with communication impairments – Invited presentation at the 12th Annual Conference of the Indian Academy of Cerebral Palsy, Pune, India in November, 2017.

 

Srinivasan, S. Assistive Technologies for children with disabilities: A user-centered design perspective – Invited talk in “User-centered design” symposium at the 4th Annual Conference of the Association of Cognitive Sciences, Hyderabad, India in October, 2017.

 

Srinivasan, S. Jellow Communicator: An aid for children with speech impairments – Invited talk within the “Technology Innovations for Inclusion” session organized as a part of the 5th Drishti Annual Symposium, Mumbai, India in February 2017

 

Srinivasan, S. Jellow Communicator: An aid for children with communication impairments –  Invited presentation at the 12th Annual Conference of the Indian Academy of Cerebral Palsy, Pune, India in November, 2017

 

Srinivasan, S. Jellow Communicator: An aid for children with communication impairments – Invited presentation at the National Convention of the Indian Speech and Hearing Association, Kolkata, India in January, 2017

 

Srinivasan, S. Role of a physiotherapist in pediatric rehabilitation – Invited presentation at Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Center within the session titled “Early identification and management of pediatric neurological developmental disabilities”, Mumbai, India in August, 2015

 

 

Bhat, A., Srinivasan, S., Kaur, M., Gifford, T., Eigsti, I-M., & Marsh, M. The effects of rhythm and robotic interventions on social communication skills of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Platform presentation at the International Meeting for Autism Research, Baltimore, Maryland, USA in 2016.

 

Srinivasan, S., Lynch, K., Gifford, T., Bubela, D., Bhat, A. The effects of robot-child interactions on imitation and praxis performance of typically developing children and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) between 4-10 years of age. Platform presentation at the North American Society for Sport Psychology and Physical Activity (NASPSPA) Conference, Burlington, Vermont, USA in 2011.

 

Srinivasan, S., Iyer, S. Effect of dual task conditions on gait parameters: A comparison between healthy elderly fallers and non-fallers. Platform presentation at the Conference of the Indian Association of Physiotherapists, Mangalore, Karnataka, India in 2010.

 

Honors/Awards

Neag School of Education Graduate Student Travel Award (University of Connecticut) for attending the International Meeting for Autism Research held at Atlanta, Georgia in May, 2014.

Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, University of Connecticut, 2013.

Lisa Pappanikou Glidden Scholarship, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut, 2012.

Geraldine Pellecchia Memorial Scholarship, Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut, 2011-2012.

Certificate of merit for securing the first rank in university for the Master of Physiotherapy course (2006-2009) in April 2010 from the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Nashik.

Gold medal for securing the first rank in the University in the first and second years of the Bachelor of Physiotherapy course in 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 respectively from the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Nashik.

Certificate of merit for securing second place in the third year and third place in the fourth year in the University for the Bachelor of Physiotherapy course in 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 respectively from the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Nashik.

 

Current Graduate Students

 

Faculty Announcements

            The REINVENT-PT lab is seeking a diligent, energetic, and empathetic student interested in pursuing a Master’s/doctoral degree in Kinesiology beginning Spring/Fall 2020. The prospective graduate student should have a background in physical therapy, occupational therapy, allied health, psychology or other health-related disciplines. The student should also preferably have around 1-2 years experience working with children or adults with developmental disabilities. For more details on this position, please send a cover letter, CV, and a brief statement of interests via email to Dr. Sudha Srinivasan at sudha.srinivasan@uconn.edu

 

Contact Information
Emailsudha.srinivasan@uconn.edu
Phone860-486-6192