christyJennifer Braswell Christy, PT, PhD
Associate Professor
Office Phone: 205-934-5903
Office Fax:  205-975-7787
Office Location:  SHPB 332

Department(s) and Affiliations

Physical Therapy

Areas of Research

Validation of clinical outcome tools for children with vestibular hypofunction; Interventions to improve postural control and gaze stability in children with vestibular hypofunction; Intense interventions for children with cerebral palsy

Focus of Research

One of my research objectives is to improve the ability of pediatric physical therapists to assess and treat children with balance impairments. I am specifically interested inChristy_lab2 ways to clinically assess vestibular function and associated impairments, and design effective interventions to improve balance and gaze stability. My research includes validation of  clinical tests of vestibular function by testing children with bilateral severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss using clinical tests (i.e. head thrust, time constant, standing on foam with eyes open and closed, subjective visual vertical, dynamic visual acuity), and validating them with the gold standard tests (i.e. computerized dynamic posturography, rotary chair and VEMP). My plan is to develop a test battery that can be used for other populations of children with vestibular related impairments.

Christy_lab3Another objective is to train and facilitate clinicians to participate in clinical research. To accomplish this, I have ongoing projects at the Children’s of Alabama. I am currently developing a large database of outcomes related to an intense exercise program for children with cerebral palsy. I am also involved in a project to study the effect of a lower extremity constraint induced therapy program for children with hemiplegia. This aspect of my research “lab” is in the clinic.

Recent and Selected Publications

Christy JB, Chapman C, Murphy P. The effect of intense physical therapy for children with cerebral palsy. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation: An Interdisciplinary Approach. 2012; 5:159-170.

Christy JB, Saleem N, Turner PH, Wilson J. Parent and therapist perceptions of an intense model of physical therapy. Pediatric Physical Therapy. 2010; 22:207-213.

Braswell J, Rine RM. Evidence that vestibular hypofunction affects reading acuity in children. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. 2006;70:1957-65. 

Braswell J, Rine RM. Preliminary evidence of improved gaze stability following exercise in two children with vestibular hypofunction. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. 2006;70:1967-73. 

Rine RM, Braswell J, Fisher D, Joyce K, Kalar K, Shaffer M.  Improvement of motor development and postural control following intervention in children with sensorineural hearing loss and vestibular impairment. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology.  2004; 68:1141-1148.

Rine RM, Braswell J.  A clinical test of dynamic visual acuity for children. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology.  2003; 67(11): 1195-1201.

Rine RM, Braswell J, Spielholz N, and Buchman C. Postural control in children with sensorineural hearing loss and vestibular hypofunction: deficits in sensory system effectiveness and vestibulospinal function. Control of Posture and Gait 2001: Symposium of the International Society for Postural and Gait Research. 2001; 40-45.

Related Commentaries:
Christy JB, Steed L. Commentary on “The effect of suit wear during an intensive therapy program in children with cerebral palsy.” Pediatric Physical Therapy. 2011;23(2):143

Christy JB and Turner PH. Commentary on “Development of a challenge assessment tool for high-functioning children with acquired brain injury.” Pediatric Physical Therapy. 2010;22:277.

Christy JB, Payne J, Azuero A, Formby, C. Reliability and diagnostic accuracy of clinical tests of vestibular function for childen. Pediatric Physical Therapy. 2014; 26: 180-189