VCU part of national $3.4 million award for research on infants with delayed skills

Stacey Dusing, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, works with Miles Mrozinski at home with his parents, Whitney and Brent Mrozinski. Miles has been part of the START-Play Program since April.

Stacey Dusing, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, works with Miles Mrozinski at home with his parents, Whitney and Brent Mrozinski. Miles has been part of the START-Play Program since April.

Thanks to a $3.4 million award from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, a team of researchers that includes Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Physical Therapy faculty has begun work on an initiative to rehabilitate infants with motor skill delays.

The START-Play program is one of the largest national clinical trials of its kind. The project’s purpose is to evaluate the effectiveness of a fully developed intervention that targets sitting, reaching and motor-based problem-solving in infancy. VCU is one of four intervention sites across the United States.

Stacey Dusing, Ph.D., associate professor in the VCU Department of Physical Therapy in the School of Allied Health Professions, is the primary investigator on the project.Emily Marcinowski, Ph.D., is a VCU postdoctoral fellow in charge of recruitment and assessment. The study will take place over four years, Dusing said, and will include students from the Department of Physical Therapy, the Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Sciences and the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Rehabilitation and Movement Science.

“We are excited to be part of this effort because the research we’re conducting will contribute to research going on around the world on this topic,” Dusing said. “One goal of the study is to advance the motor and cognitive skills of enrolled children in order to better prepare them to learn in preschool and beyond.”

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