Tal Jarus

Professor
PhD (OT), MA (OT), BOT
Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy

Dr. Jarus has two research focuses. Her first focus is on motor learning, with an emphasis on how skills are acquired, retained, and generalized to other tasks. Her second focus is on occupational performance and how it relates to health and well-being. Specifically, she examines the transition into and out of university of students with disabilities.

Tal believes everyone has the right to be an occupational human being. “The personal is political” – whether she is playing basketball, biking, cooking with her children, reading, watching a movie with her partner, talking to her mother, working on a research project, or marking an assignment – she is always occupied. She believes that everyone has the right to participate in meaningful occupations.

“Our world is facing serious problems that affect the occupational performance of many people: violence, wars, chronic diseases, unemployment, poverty, and lack of acceptance and tolerance toward groups of people who differ from us. I am interested in looking at the relationship between the person, the environment and the occupation, to enhance health and well being of individuals and of society as a whole. That’s why I am an occupational therapy scientist!”

Primary Recipient Awards

Wall Solutions, Tal Jarus, 2016

Tal Jarus
Wall Solutions

What’s Up? Fostering communication skills for children with autism using a virtual reality game

Principal Investigator: Tal Jarus, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, UBC

Partner Organizations: Dr. J. Zwicker, Dr. N. Lanphear and Ms. L. Roxborough, Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, BC Children’s Hospital

Children with autism have difficulties with communication and socio-emotional skills, and current behavioral interventions addressing this problem are costly. Complex problems require creative solutions—an innovative and promising virtual-reality platform that can be used to complement health services. Existing technologies such as computer-based programs are usually touch-based, and raise a long debate on the generalization of learned skills. Touch-less systems enable interacting via natural ways in a simulated environment and may help develop transferable skills. This project will develop a low-cost, novel touch-less virtual-reality technology (using the Kinect), via simulation of the real world, to improve socio-emotional skills among children with autism. To maximize the quality of the product, partnership between the clinical community, a virtual-reality gaming company, and the academic researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) is crucial. Stakeholders’ input will be incorporated, and the developed product will be used at home and monitored by clinicians remotely.

Co-principal Investigator Awards

International Visiting Research Scholars, Patrice L. (Tamar) Weiss, 2015

Patrice L. (Tamar) Weiss
Tal Jarus

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