PWSA (USA) Joseph McErlane Research Grant

PWSA (USA) is sponsoring a grant that will bring therapy to the home!

PWSA (USA) Joseph McErlane Research Grant

Project Title: Evaluating the Feasibility of a Telehealth Intervention of Early Social Cognitive Processes in Children with Prader-Willi syndrome

Principal Investigator: Anastasia Dimitropoulos, Associate Professor of Psychology, Ph.D.

Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH


Relevance of this study:

Current research in typically developing children has shown that pretend play, the ability to play with toys in an imaginative way, is related to important areas of development, such as social-emotional understanding. Research has also shown that individuals with PWS have difficulty in social situations, in emotionally understanding others, and have difficulties with regulating their behavior and emotions in difficult situations. Since many children with PWS have trouble with social-emotional skills, intervention targeting these skills through pretend play could increase quality of life while also decreasing problem behaviors, as has been shown in children with other developmental disabilities.


Through this grant, they will administer intervention in the participant’s home (using telehealth videoconferencing) to increase its accessibility to the PWS population. If feasibility and improvements are found, these results will lead to establishing a practical treatment alternative for families dealing with Prader-Willi syndrome.


Eligible participants will be children with PWS between 5-11 years of age. Individuals without Internet capable computers will be excluded from participation; however, equipment will be available for participating families who do not have necessary components (i.e., webcam). Details of participant eligibility will be available in the near future on PWSA (USA)’s website and Face Book pages.


(Note: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could provide help for families that live far from major treatment centers and spare all families dealing with PWS from some of the multiple trips needed to get the proper intervention? We see this pilot project as the 1st step in bringing this type of intervention to your home. It’s the wave of the future! ~ Janalee)

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