A photo of Karen Harpster.

Karen L. Harpster, PhD, OTR/L

  • Occupational Therapist III, Division of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy
  • Member, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disability (LEND) Program
  • Assistant Professor, UC Department of Allied Health


PhD: The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 2011.

Masters in Occupational Therapy: The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 2006.

BA in Psychology: LaSalle University, Philadelphia, PA, 1999.


Evaluation and treatment for children with neurodevelopmental disorders with a large focus on infants and children with cerebral palsy and/or cerebral visual impairment; treatment approaches such as constraint-induced movement therapy; children with cerebral visual impairment; assessments used for early detection of cerebral palsy, such as the General Movements Assessment (GMA) and Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination (HINE).

Services and Specialties

Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy


Developing research and clinical programs for prevention and early treatment for infants at high risk for cerebral palsy and those with cerebral visual impairment; quality improvement projects to implement early detection of cerebral palsy and cerebral visual impairment.

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"Even though a lot of kids have it, not a lot of people have knowledge of it ": A qualitative study exploring the perspectives of parents of children with cerebral/cortical visual impairment. Oliver, H; Seccurro, D; Dorich, J; Rice, M; Schwartz, T; Harpster, K. Research in Developmental Disabilities. 2023; 135:104443.

Interventions for children with cerebral visual impairment: A scoping review. Delay, A; Rice, M; Bush, E; Harpster, K. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. 2023; 65:469-478.

Functional goals and intervention planning in children with cerebral visual impairment. Schwartz, T; Harpster, K; Liveccae, A; Middlecamp, C. Journal of American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. 2022; 26:e30-e31.

Exploring the Need for Education on Cortical Visual Impairment Among Occupational Therapy Professionals and Teachers of Students With Visual Impairments. Harpster, K; Hamilton, S; Lusk, KE; Seastone, AM; Fox, AE; Rice, ML; Schwartz, T. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness. 2022; 116:451-460.

Magnetic resonance spectroscopy brain metabolites at term and 3-year neurodevelopmental outcomes in very preterm infants. Illapani, VS P; Edmondson, DA; Cecil, KM; Altaye, M; Kumar, M; Harpster, K; Parikh, NA. Pediatric Research. 2022; 92:299-306.

Restricted Eating in Preschoolers with Autism: Mother Stressors and Solutions. Burkett, K; Haggard, ML; Van Rafelghem, D; Harpster, K. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2022; 52:2589-2597.

An iPad-based intervention to improve visual-motor, visual-attention, and visual-perceptual skills in children with surgically treated hydrocephalus: A pilot study. Harpster, K; Weckherlin, N; Engsberg, JR; Powell, SK; Barnard, H; Kadis, D; Dodd, JN; Garrett, ML; Mangano, FT; Limbrick, DD; et al. Child's Nervous System. 2022; 38:303-310.

Brain microstructural antecedents of visual difficulties in infants born very preterm. Chandwani, R; Harpster, K; Kline, JE; Mehta, V; Wang, H; Merhar, SL; Schwartz, TL; Parikh, NA. NeuroImage-Clinical. 2022; 34:102987.

Association between brain structural network efficiency at term-equivalent age and early development of cerebral palsy in very preterm infants. Kline, JE; Yuan, W; Harpster, K; Altaye, M; Parikh, NA. Neuroimage. 2021; 245:118688.

ICF-inspired goal-setting in developmental rehabilitation: an innovative framework for pediatric therapists. Angeli, JM; Schwab, SM; Huijs, L; Sheehan, A; Harpster, K. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice: an international journal of physical therapy. 2021; 37:1167-1176.

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