Simone V. Gill, PhD, OTR/L

Simone Gill, PhD, OTR/L

Simone Gill
Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy
Assistant Professor, BU School of Medicine
Director, Motor Development Laboratory
635 Commonwealth Ave, SAR-501
(617) 353-7513
PhD in Psychology, New York University, 2009.
MA in Psychology, New York University, 2006.
MS in Occupational Therapy, Tufts University, 1999.
BS in Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, 1997.
Website or Lab
Motor Development Lab
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Courses Taught

Entry-level MS in Occupational Therapy courses

SAROT501: Integrative Seminar II and LIFW

This course is the second in a four-seminar sequence designed to develop and enhance professional reasoning processes by integrating knowledge and skills from previous educational and work experiences and from concurrent OT courses with weekly fieldwork experiences. This seminar focuses on reasoning related to theories of learning and behavior change; the assessment, intervention, and documentation process; use of theory and research evidence in practice; therapeutic rapport and communication; and other professional topics and issues as they relate to working with persons and populations of all ages in a variety of OT practice contexts. Self-directed and collaborative learning, class participation, reflective writing for application and analysis of learning, case-based learning, and ongoing development of a professional portfolio are essential aspects of this seminar. (Credits: 2)

SAROT526: Functional Movement: Analysis and Assessment

This occupational therapy course examines changes in gross and fine movement skills across the life course, and the relation of these changes to occupational performance. In addition, students learn biomechanical, ecological systems, and dynamical systems' principles underlying human movement and their application to functional activities including seating, transfers, and mobility. Principles covered in lecture are applied through practical experiences and discussions during the application sessions. (Credits: 4)

SAROT570: Special Topics in Occupational Therapy

Advanced study in a selected area of occupational therapy theory or practice. Specific topic announced in the semester offered. Seminar and/or supervised laboratory study as appropriate to the particular topic. (Credits: Var)

Visit Boston University’s entry-level MSOT program.

PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences courses

SARRS890: Doctoral Seminar in Rehabilitation Sciences

This seminar allows for a discussion of topics of interest to doctoral-level students in the PhD program in Rehabilitation Sciences, and is designed to provide insight in 1) curricular aspects of the PhD program, 2) mentor-mentee relationship, 3) skills necessary for PhD graduates entering the field of rehabilitation sciences with a research doctorate, and 4) interdisciplinary nature of the field of rehabilitation. This course enhances the student's ability to successfully complete the PhD program by working on skills needed to write and critically review IRB proposals, research manuscripts and research grant proposals, to outline ethical dilemmas in research, to formulate and disseminate a line of inquiry, and to distinguish various career paths. Literature addressing these issues will be used throughout to illustrate the arguments. (Credits: Var)

Visit Boston University’s post-professional PhD research doctorate program.

Scholarly, Research, and/or Practice Interests

Dr. Gill directs the Motor Development Laboratory where she investigates how people’s bodies and environmental demands influence walking and motor functioning across the lifespan. Dr. Gill uses a variety of methods to examine how children and adults modify their walking patterns to navigate through the environment: three-dimensional motion capture, computerized video coding, wearable motion sensor technology, portable spatio-temporal gait systems, and digital pressure mats. Her long-term goals are to:

  • develop novel systems approaches to optimize health outcomes in early childhood
  • design innovative interventions that minimize fall risks associated with childhood and adult obesity
  • create new methods to detect fall risks linked with childhood and adult obesity


Recent Presentations

  • Gill, S. V. & DeSilva, J. M. (2014, July). Arch height mediation of obesity-related walking in adults. Presented at the World Congress of Biomechanics. Boston, MA.
  • Ogamba, M., Gill, S. V., & Lewis, C. L. (2014, July). Changes in gait with anteriorly added mass: A pregnancy simulation study. Presented at the World Congress of Biomechanics. Boston, MA.
  • Gill, S. V. & Vora, I. (2014, June). Influence of temporal constraints on spatio-temporal gait parameters in children and adults. Presented at the Gait & Clinical Movement Analysis Society. Newark, Delaware.
  • Gill, S. V., Ogamba, M., & Lewis, C. L. (2014, June). Effects of additional anterior body mass on spatio-temporal gait parameters. Presented at the Gait & Clinical Movement Analysis Society. Newark, Delaware.
  • Ben-Sasson, A. & Gill, S. V. (2014, May). How Do Early ASD Screening Scores Relate with Motor and Language Development in a Community Sample? International Meeting for Autism Research. Atlanta, Georgia.
  • DeSilva, J. M., Gill, C. M., Swanson, Z., Bonne-Annee, R., & Gill, S. V. (2014, April). Reconstructing foot form and function in early hominins using modern human models. Presented at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists Conference. Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
  • Gill, S. V. (2014) Body and task constraints on action: How obesity influences function. Presentation for the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Professions Interdisciplinary Research Seminar. Boston, MA.
  • Gill, S. V., DeSilva, J. M., Kelty-Stephen, D., & Keimig, S. (2013, November). The medial longitudinal arch as an adaptation to increase step length in children. Presented at the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology Conference. San Diego, California.
  • Gill, S. V., Vora, I., & Kelty-Stephen, D. (2013, November). Walking to the beat of their own drum: Differences in how children and adults meet task constraints. Presented at the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology Conference. San Diego, California.
  • Gill, S. V. & Shutrump, S. E. (2013) Call to action for emerging niche practice areas: OT’s role in addressing childhood obesity and supporting mobility and transport to School. Presentation for the AOTA Specialty Conference on Advancing School-Based Practice. Minneapolis, MN.
  • Vroman, K., Gill, S. V., Pizzi, M., Schriber-Orloff, S. N., Suarez-Balcazar, Y., Kuo, F. & Lau, C. (2013, April). Occupational therapy child and family centered interventions for obesity and health in multiple clinical settings. Presented at the American Occupational Therapy Conference. San Diego, California.
  • Gill, S. V. (2013) Birth history and birth weight: Use of clinical retrospective data. Presentation for the Spiral Foundation Symposium, Newton, MA.Gill, S. V. & Hung, Y. (October, 2012). Body Coordination in Children: How Development and Weight Classification Affect Adaptation. Presented at the American Congress for Rehabilitation Medicine. Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Gill, S. V. & Forhan, M. (April, 2012). Cross Border Contributions to Obesity Research and Interventions: A North American Review of Occupational Therapy. Presented at the American Occupational Therapy Association. Indianapolis, IN.
  • Schefkind, S., Pizzi, M. A., Gill, S. V., Orloff, S., Suarez-Balcazar, Y., Bazyk, S., Lau, C. & Vroman, K. (April, 2012). Occupational Therapy Role in Obesity Prevention: A National Priority. Presented at the American Occupational Therapy Association. Indianapolis, IN.
  • Keimeg, S., DeSilva, J. M., & Gill, S. V. (October, 2011). A New Method of Measuring Arch Height in Humans. Presented at the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Symposium. Boston, MA.
  • Schweiger E. G. & Gill, S. V. (October, 2011). Effects of Structured and Unstructured Practice on Motor Outcomes. Presented at the American Congress in Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Society for Neurorehabilitation Conference. Atlanta, GA.
  • Gill, S. V. (October, 2011). Impact of Overweight on Safety: Timing Steps to Adapt to External Constraints. Presented at the Obesity Society. Orlando, FL.
  • Gill, S. V. & Narain, A. (October, 2011). Use of a Video Coding System to Identify the Effects of Body Mass Index on Safety. Presented at the Obesity Society. Orlando, FL.
  • Johnson, K. L. & Gill, S. V. (May, 2011). The Role of Gender-Typed Body Motion in Perceptions of Others’ Intent to Communicate Sexual Orientation. Presentation for the International Communication Association. Boston, MA.
  • Forhan, M. & Gill, S. V. (2011, April). Cross border contributions to obesity research and interventions: A North American review of occupational therapy. Presented at the Canadian Obesity Summit. Montreal, Canada.
  • Gill, S. V. & Hauff, S. E. (2010, October). The effects of overweight BMI on adaptive motor patterns. Presented at the Obesity Society. San Diego, CA.
  • Gill, S. V. & Johnson, K. L. (2010, May). Personal Characteristics and Adaptation: How Social Constraints Elicit Adaptive Motor Responses. Presentation for the American Psychological Society, Boston, MA.
  • Vereijken, B., Adolph, K. E., & Gill, S. V. (2009, June). The Development of Adaptation: How Infants and Adults Modify Their Walking Steps. Presented at the International Society for Posture & Gait Research Conference. Bologna, Italy.
  • Gill, S. V. (2007, March) Flexibility in the Development of Walking. Invited colloquium for the Perception-Action Workshop. University of Connecticut.
  • Gill, S. V. & Adolph, K. E. (2006, October). Emergence of Flexibility: How Infants Learn a Braking Strategy. Poster presented at the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology.
  • Gill, S. V. & Adolph, K. E. (2005, April). Flexibility in Infant Skill Acquisition: How Infants Learn a Stepping Strategy. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development.
  • Yanez, B. R., Domakonda, K. V., Gill, S. V., Adolph, K. E., & Vereijken, B. (2004, May). Automaticity and Plasticity in Infant and Adult Walking. Poster presented at the International Conference on Infant Studies, Chicago, IL.
  • Gill, S. V., Charles, J., & Gordon, A. M. (2003, August). Use of Accelerometers to Measure Upper Extremity Movement in Children with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy. Poster presented at the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy Meeting, Montreal, Canada.
  • Gill, S. V. (2003, April) Development of Fine Motor Skills. Lecture at Dominican College.
  • Gill, S. V. (2002, April) Quantitative Measures of Upper Extremity Use in Children
  • With Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy. Lecture at Dominican College.
  • Gill, S. V. (2001, May) Fine Motor Development in Children: Anatomy & Intervention. Lecture to the NY State Occupational Therapy Association.
  • Okoye, R., Okoye, R. O., Gill, S. V., Mattheson, G., Rutledge, P., Torre, S. (2001, May). Use of Sensory Tools for Teaching: at Home and at School: Motor Skills and Learning. Community Forum for Teachers and Parents of Children at Risk for Learning Disabilities. Dove Rehabilitation Services.
  • Gill, S. V. (2000, January). Feeding and Oral-Motor Dysfunction: Indication for Treatment and Techniques for Intervention. Kramer Learning Center.
  • Gill, S. V. (November, 1999). The Role of Occupational Therapy in Feeding and Oral-Motor Dysfunction. Poster presented to the Conference on Occupational Therapy in Motion, Vienna, Austria.
  • Adolph, K. E., Gill, S. V., Lucero, A. A, Mathur, P., & Murray, A. (1997, April). Specificity and Transfer in Infant Locomotion: Learning to Detect Balance Requirements. Society for Research in Child Development, Washington, D. C.
  • Gill, S. V., Lucero, A. Fadl, Y. (1996, April). Mechanisms of Motor Learning: How Infants Learn to Modify Their Gait. Poster presented to the student chapter of Sigma Xi, Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Vereijken, B., Adolph, K. E., Denny, M. A., Fadl, Y., Gill, S. V. & Lucero, A. A. (1995, July). Development of Infant Crawling: Balance Constraints on Interlimb Coordination. Poster Presented at the International Society for Event Perception and Action, Marseilles, France.
  • Adolph, K. E., Vereijken, B., Denny, M. A., Fadl, Y., Gill, S. V., & Lucero, A. A. (1995, June). Changing Balance Requirements Constrain Variability in Infant Crawling. Poster presented to the American Psychological Society. NY, NY.

Recent Publications

  • Lick, D. J., Johnson, K. L., & Gill, S. V. (in press). Why do they have to flaunt it? Perceptions of communicative intent predict antigay prejudice based upon brief exposure to nonverbal cues. Social Psychology & Personality Science.
  • Cole, W. G., Gill, S. V., Vereijken, B., & Adolph, K. E. (2014). Coping with asymmetry: How infants and adults walk with one elongated leg. Infant Behavior & Development 37, 305-314.
  • Ben-Sasson & Gill, S. V. (2014). Motor and language abilities from early to late toddlerhood: Using formalized assessments to capture continuity and discontinuity in development. Research in Developmental Disabilities , 35, 1425-32.
  • Gill, S. V. & Hung, Y. (2014). Effects of overweight and obese body mass on motor planning and motor skills during obstacle crossing in children. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35, 46-53.
  • Lick, D. J., Johnson, K. L., & Gill, S. V. (2013). Deliberate changes to gendered body motion influence basic social perceptions. Social Cognition, 31, 656-671.
  • DeSilva, J. M. & Gill, S. V. (2013). A midtarsal break in the human foot. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 151, 495-9.
  • Hung, Y., Meredith, G. S.*, & Gill, S. V. (2013). Influence of task constraints during walking for children. Gait and Posture, 38,450-4.
  • Forhan, M. & Gill, S. V. (2013). Obesity, functional mobility, and quality of life. Best Practice and Research: Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Special issue on complications of obesity, 27, 129-137.
  • Hung, Y., Gill, S. V., & Meredith, G. S.* (2013). Influence of dual task constraints on whole body organization during walking in overweight and obese children. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 92, 461-471.
  • Gill, S. V., May-Benson, T., Teasdale, A., & Schweiger, E.* (2013). Birth and developmental correlates of birth weight in a sample of children with potential sensory processing disorder. BMC Pediatrics, 13, 13-29.
  • Gill, S. V. & Walsh, M. K. (2012). Use of motor learning principles to improve motor adaptation in adult obesity. Health, 4, 1428-1433.
  • Gill, S. V. & Hung, L. (2012). Influence of weight classification on children stepping over obstacles. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 91, 625- 630.
  • Gill, S. V. & Narain, A.* (2012) Quantifying the effects of body mass index on safety: Reliability of a video coding procedure and utility of a rhythmic walking task. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 93, 728-730.
  • Gill, S. V. (2011). Optimizing motor adaptation in childhood obesity. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58, 386-389.
  • Gill, S. V., Adolph, K. E., & Vereijken, B. (2009). Change in action: How infants learn to walk down slopes. Developmental Science, 12, 888-902.
  • Gordon, A. M., Chinnan, A., Gill, S. V., Petra, E., Hung, Y., & Charles, J. (2008).  Both constraint-induced movement therapy and bimanual training lead to improved performance of upper extremity function in children with hemiplegia. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 50, 957-958.
  • Johnson, K. L., Gill, S. V., Reichman, V., & Tassinary, L. G. (2007). Swagger, sway, and sexuality: Judging sexual orientation from body motion and morphology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 321-334.

*Denotes student authors.

Recent Grant Activity

  • Principal Investigator, Massive Weight Loss and Its Effects on Postural Stability and Fall Risks, NIH 1R03AR066344-01A1, 2014-2017.
  • Principal Investigator, Genetic influences on walking skill in early childhood, Dudley Allen Sargent Research Fund, 2013-2014.
  • Scholar (PI Michael Mueller from Washington University Physical Therapy Department), Genetic influences on the development of walking skill in toddlers, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development K12 Grant (K12HD055931), 2013-2018.
  • Co-Principal Investigator (with Jeremy DeSilva from Boston University Anthropology Department), The midtarsal break and locomotor diversity in early hominins, Leakey Foundation
  • Principal Investigator, The Effects of Body Mass Index on Adaptive Motor Patterns, Mary Erskine Faculty Grant, 2010.
  • Doctoral Student, Flexibility of Learning in Infant Skill Acquisition, NIH Diversity Supplement, 2006-2008.

Awards and Honors

  • 2013 American Occupational Therapy Association Service Commendation
  • 2011 ERRIS Grant Writing Workshop
  • 2008 Dynamic Field Theory Summer School
  • 2007 Nonlinear Dynamics Summer School
  • 2006 Student Travel Grant for International Society for Developmental Psychobiology
  • 2005 New York University Student Travel Grant
  • 2003-2005 New York University MacCraken Fellowship
  • 2002-2003 Teachers College Columbia Univ. Graduate Scholarship
  • 1997-1999 Tufts University Graduate School Scholarship
  • 1997-1999 Occupational Therapy Scholarship
  • 1997, 96, 95 Undergraduate Travel Award
  • 1995 Student Undergraduate Research Grant
  • 1993-1997 S. T. Sable Kresser Scholarship