Erna Blanche

Clinical Professor of Occupational Therapy

Erna Imperatore Blanche received her basic training in occupational therapy at the University of Chile (Santiago, Chile) and later earned her Master of Arts degree in Special Education at Columbia University and her PhD degree in Occupational Science at the University of Southern California. She is an expert in pediatric occupational therapy and interventions based on occupational science. She has co-authored several books and one video series, “Combining Neurodevelopmental Treatment and Sensory Integration Principles,” on pediatric practice. She has also published numerous articles in English and Spanish on the topics of play, wellness and other issues in clinical practice. Her articles have appeared in the American Journal of Occupational TherapyOccupational Therapy InternationalJournal of Occupational Science, and Play and Culture Studies, among others, as well as in pediatric textbooks. Blanche has lectured internationally in more than 20 countries and maintains ties with Therapy West, Inc., a clinic that she co-founded and which sees more than 400 children per week, as well as with the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Chile.

Research Interests

Dr. Blanche’s research interests are in the areas of play, clinical evaluation of children with developmental disabilities including autism, and the relationship between sensory processing and lifestyle choices.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Science
1998 | University of Southern California

Master of Arts (MA) in Occupational Therapy
1988 | University of Southern California

Master of Arts (MA) in Special Education
1982 | Columbia University

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Human Services
1979 | Empire State College, State University of New York

Professional Degree in Occupational Therapy
1973 | Universidad de Chile (Santiago, Chile)



Journal Articles

Floríndez, L. I., Carlson, M. E.Pyatak, E.Blanchard, J., Cogan, A. M., Sleight, A. G., Hill, V., Díaz, J.Blanche, E., Garber, S. L., & Clark, F. A. (2020). A qualitative analysis of pressure injury development among medically underserved adults with spinal cord injury. Disability and Rehabilitation42(15), 2093-2099. Show abstract


Journal Articles

Carlson, M.Vigen, C. L., Rubayi, S., Blanche, E. I.Blanchard, J., Atkins, M., Bates-Jensen, B., Garber, S. L., Pyatak, E. A.Díaz, J., Floríndez, L. I., Hay, J. W., Mallinson, T., Unger, J. B., Azen, S. P., Scott, M., Cogan, A., & Clark, F. (2019). Lifestyle intervention for adults with spinal cord injury: Results of the USC-RLANRC Pressure Ulcer Prevention Study. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine42(1), 2–19. Show abstract

Other Articles

Bodison, S. C.Stein Duker, L. I.Cermak, S. A., & Blanche, E. I. (2019, May). An examination of sensory-related terminology across disciplines: Part one. SIS Quarterly Practice Connections4(2), 5-7.


Journal Articles

Blanche, E. I., Chang, M. C., Gutierrez, J., & Gunter, J. S. (2016). Effectiveness of a sensory-enriched early intervention group program for children with developmental disabilities. American Journal of Occupational Therapy70(5), 7005220010p1-7005220010p8. Show abstract


Journal Articles

Blanche, E. I.Díaz, J., Barretto, T., & Cermak, S. A. (2015). Caregiving experiences of Latino families with children with autism spectrum disorder. American Journal of Occupational Therapy69(5), 6905185010p1-6905185010p11. Show abstract

Ghaisas, S., Pyatak, E. A.Blanche, E.Blanchard, J., & Clark, F. (2015). Lifestyle changes and pressure ulcer prevention in adults with spinal cord injury in the Pressure Ulcer Prevention Study Lifestyle Intervention. American Journal of Occupational Therapy69(1), 6901290020p1-6901290020p10. Show abstract


Journal Articles

Cogan, A. M., Blanche, E. I.Díaz, J.Clark, F. A., & Chun, S. (2014). Building a framework for implementing new interventions. OTJR: Occupation, Participation, and Health34(4), 209-220. Show abstract

Blanche, E. I., Parham, D., Chang, M., & Mallinson, T. (2014). Development of an adult sensory processing scale (ASPS). American Journal of Occupational Therapy68(5), 531-538. Show abstract

Koester, A. C., Mailloux, Z., Coleman, G. G., Mori, A. B., Paul, S. M., Blanche, E. I., Muhs, J. A., Lim, D., & Cermak, S. A. (2014). Sensory integration functions of children with cochlear implants. American Journal of Occupational Therapy68(5), 562-569. Show abstract

Clark, F.Pyatak, E. A.Carlson, M.Blanche, E. I.Vigen, C., Hay, J., Mallinson, T., Blanchard, J., Unger, J. B., Garber, S. L., Díaz, J., Floríndez, L. I., Atkins, M., Rubayi, S., & Azen, S. P. (2014). Implementing trials of complex interventions in community settings: The USC-Rancho Los Amigos Pressure Ulcer Prevention Study (PUPS). Clinical Trials11(2), 218-229. Show abstract


Journal Articles

Pyatak, E. A.Blanche, E. I., Garber, S. L., Díaz, J.Blanchard, J., Floríndez, L., & Clark, F. A. (2013). Conducting intervention research among underserved populations: Lessons learned and recommendations for researchers. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation94(6), 1190-1198. Show abstract


Book Chapters

Blanche, E. I., Mailloux, Z., & Reinoso, G. (2012). Sensory functions — General. In A. Majnemer (Ed.), Measures for children with developmental disabilities: An ICF-CY approach (pp. b210-b270). London, UK: Mac Keith Press. Full text

Journal Articles

Blanche, E. I.Bodison, S., Chang, M. C., & Reinoso, G. (2012). Development of the Comprehensive Observations of Proprioception (COP): Validity, reliability, and factor analysis. American Journal of Occupational Therapy66(6), 691-698. Show abstract

Schaaf, R. C., & Blanche, E. I. (2012). Emerging as leaders in autism research and practice: Using the data-driven intervention process [From the desk of the guest editors]. American Journal of Occupational Therapy66(5), 503-505.

Blanche, E. I., Reinoso, G., Chang, M. C., & Bodison, S. (2012). Proprioceptive processing difficulties among children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities [Brief report]. American Journal of Occupational Therapy66(5), 621-624. Show abstract

Chang, M. C., Parham, L. D., Blanche, E. I., Schell, A., Chou, C.-P., Dawson, M., & Clark, F. A. (2012). Autonomic and behavioral responses of children with autism to auditory stimuli. American Journal of Occupational Therapy66(5), 567-576. Show abstract


Journal Articles

Blanche, E. I., Fogelberg, D., Díaz, J.Carlson, M. E., & Clark, F. A. (2011). Manualization of occupational therapy interventions: Illustrations from the Pressure Ulcer Prevention Research Program. American Journal of Occupational Therapy65(6), 711-719. Show abstract

Schaaf, R., & Blanche, E. I. (2011). Comparison of behavioral intervention and sensory-integration therapy in the treatment of challenging behavior [Letter to the editor]. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders41(10), 1436-1438.

Vaishampayan, A., Clark, F. A.Carlson, M. E., & Blanche, E. I. (2011). Preventing pressure ulcers in people with spinal cord injury: Targeting risky life circumstances through a community-based interventions. Advances in Skin and Wound Care24(6), 275-284. Show abstract

Mailloux, Z., Mulligan, S., Smith Roley, S., Blanche, E. I.Cermak, S. A., Coleman, G. G., Bodison, S., & Lane, C. J. (2011). Verification and clarification of patterns of sensory integrative dysfunction. American Journal of Occupational Therapy65(2), 143-151. Show abstract


Journal Articles

Schaaf, R. C., Benevides, T., Blanche, E. I., Brett-Green, B. A., Burke, J. P., Cohn, E. S., Koomar, J., Lane, S. J., Miller, L. J., May-Benson, T. A., Parham, D., Reynolds, S., & Schoen, S. A. (2010). Parasympathetic functions in children with sensory processing disorder. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience4(4), 1-4. Show abstract

Jackson, J. M., Carlson, M. E., Rubayi, S., Scott, M. D., Atkins, M. S., Blanche, E. I.Saunders-Newton, C. D.Mielke, S. E., Wolfe, M. K., & Clark, F. A. (2010). Qualitative study of principles pertaining to lifestyle and pressure ulcer risk in adults with spinal cord injury. Disability and Rehabilitation32(7), 567-578. Show abstract


Journal Articles

Fogelberg, D., Atkins, M., Blanche, E. I.Carlson, M. E., & Clark, F. A. (2009). Decisions and dilemmas in everyday life: Daily use of wheelchairs by individuals with spinal cord injury and the impact on pressure ulcer risk. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation15(2), 16-32. Show abstract


Book Chapters

Blanche, E. I. (2008). Play in children with cerebral palsy: Doing with — not doing to. In L. D. Parham & L. S. Fazio (Eds.), Play in occupational therapy for children (2nd ed., pp. 375-393). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier. Full text

Journal Articles

Koomar, J., Miller, J. L., Schoen, S. A., Brett-Green, B., Schaaf, R. C., Benevides, T., Lane, S. J., Reynolds, S., Parham, D., May-Benson, T. A., Teasdale, A., Mailloux, Z., Smith-Roley, S., Blanche, E. I., & Bodison, S. (2008). Collaborative research programs in sensory integration and processing. Sensory Integration Special Interest Section Quarterly31(4), 1-4. Full text



Blanche, E. I., & Decker, T. (2007). Sensory balance: A quick reference guide for parents and professionals. Lulu Press. Full text Show abstract

Journal Articles

Clark, F. A., Sanders, K., Carlson, M. E.Blanche, E. I., & Jackson, J. M. (2007). Synthesis of habit theory. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research27(4), S7-S23. Full text Show abstract

Blanche, E. I. (2007). The expression of creativity through occupation. Journal of Occupational Science14(1), 21–29. Show abstract



Smith Roley, S., Blanche, E. I., & Schaaf, R. C. (Eds.) (2004). Sensorische integration: Grundlagen und therapie bei entwicklungsstörungen (German Edition). Berlin, Germany: Springer. Full text



Smith-Roley, S., Blanche, E. I., & Schaaf, R. C. (Eds.) (2001). Understanding the nature of sensory integration with diverse populations. San Antonio, TX: Therapy Skill Builders. Full text Show abstract


Journal Articles

Blanche, E. I., & Henny-Kohler, E. (2000). Philosophy, science and ideology: A proposed relationship for occupational science and occupational therapy. Occupational Therapy International7(2), 99–110. Show abstract



Blanche, E. I. (1999). Play and process: The experience of play in the life of the adult. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan.


Journal Articles

Blanche, E. I. (1996). Alma: Coping with culture, poverty, and disability. American Journal of Occupational Therapy50(4), 265–276. Show abstract



Blanche, E. I., Botticelli, T. M., & Hallway, M. K. (1995). Combining neuro-developmental treatment and sensory integration principles: An approach to pediatric therapy. Tucson, AZ: Therapy Skill Builders.

Speaker Details