Researcher biography

Dr Jenny Ziviani is Associate Professor in Occupational Therapy in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

Dr Jenny Ziviani is Associate Professor in Occupational Therapy in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. She has research and teaching interests in the role of handwriting in emergent literacy for school aged children, time use in children and the impact this has on health and wellbeing particularly for children with developmental disabilities, and rehabilitation outcomes for children with acquired injuries.

Dr Ziviani has a long standing research interest in understanding the contribution of skill acquisition to children’s occupational performance. This has resulted in publications into school based skills such as handwriting, and computer use and more broadly into the way these contribute to emergent literacy. This aspect of her activities has looked at children in the normal transition from home to school and also for children with disabilities such as developmental coordination disorder, spina bifida, and learning difficulties.

In recent times Dr Ziviani has looked more broadly at the way social and technological change has impacted on the way children use their time. She has had a particular interest in the way physical activity has changed as a result of the way children undertake their daily roles and the socio-environmental factors which can impact this involvement. Some of these broader issues are covered in a book she has co-authored and edited – Occupational Therapy with Children: Understanding Children’s Occupations and Enabling Participation, published by Blackwell Publishing in 2006. At a more specific level she is exploring the relationship between time use, activity involvement and psychological health as well as physical health in children. She is undertaking this through the interrogation of large national data sets as well as more focused studies.

Dr Ziviani has actively collaborated with a number of clinical centres to determine how therapists can examine the efficacy and outcomes of rehabilitation practices with children and their families. She has looked at this with various interventions for children with cerebral palsy, head injuries and other traumatic events. Of prime interest here is how functional change can impact participation in home, school and leisure domains. Understanding and measuring participation in children as presented by the World Health Organisation, International Classification of Function (ICF) is central to this process.

Dr Ziviani enjoys working in an interdisciplinary context and has encouraged her postgraduate students to do likewise. She works with collaborators in paediatrics, human movement science, physiotherapy, speech pathology, and education.