Kristen Arestad

While I was born in Dallas, Texas, I primarily grew up in Littleton, Colorado. I am the youngest of two children with an older brother who served as my partner in crime growing up. Living in Colorado, I learned to love the outdoors from a young age, from skiing, to kayaking, to rafting, and more. I was a highly active child and enjoyed music as well as a variety of sports. I took piano lessons, played basketball, did taekwondo, and played competitive soccer.

After graduating high school, I made the journey eastward to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to begin college. I graduated from Lehigh University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2010. Following my undergraduate career, I began work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a college campus ministry. In 2013, I made the journey from the east coast back to beautiful Colorado. I am thrilled to be back in the land of the Rocky Mountains! Upon returning to Colorado, I had the wonderful opportunity to work as a special education paraprofessional in a local middle school. This experience not only furthered my desire to pursue occupational therapy, but it also gave me new insights into childhood disability.

I am now a second year occupational therapy student pursuing an MS in occupational therapy at Colorado State University. Being a part of the CPERL team throughout my studies has been a highly enriching experience. It has enabled me to see first hand how I can combine both of my interests of pursuing pediatric occupational therapy practice and actively participating in research. As part of the MS program requirements, I am completing a thesis that involves cognitive testing to explore the influence of culture on the questions we ask about children’s participation in assessments. I have culturally adapted the Young Children’s Participation and Environment Measure (YC-PEM) for potential use by Hispanic families of Mexican background/descent. This study is nested within a larger CCTSI funded pilot project that I am helping to coordinate in the 2015-2016 academic year. My CPERL team mate Lauren Nale and I are serving as research coordinators for one leg of this pilot project. We are working with early intervention providers in Denver Metro to collect functional outcomes data (including the YC-PEM) so that we can examine linkages between early intervention services and child and family outcomes.