• Education:BA in Art, Antioch College, 1971
    MS in Occupational Therapy, Boston University, 1975
    PhD in Psychology, Harvard University, 1986

Scholarly, Research, and/or Practice Interests

  • Development of children and youth with disabilities and outcomes measurement. Her primary clinical practice focus has been in schools and other community programs serving children with emotional, behavioral, and cognitive disabilities.
  • The primary focus of her research program has been development of conceptually grounded, psychometrically sound measures of activity, participation, and environment. She has concentrated on developing measures for the field of rehabilitation that appropriately reflect individuals’ ability to engage in activities and participate in situations that are important for their satisfaction and well-being. Dr. Coster coauthored the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI) and the School Function Assessment (SFA), two of the first standardized assessments designed to describe the functional abilities of children with disabling conditions. The PEDI became the gold standard for clinical trials examining interventions to improve function in children with cerebral palsy and other movement disorders and was translated into over 10 languages. The PEDI was subsequently revised and expanded into a computer adapted testing format, the PEDI-CAT. A version tailored for children and youth with an autism spectrum disorder was also developed and validated recently.
  • In addition to these projects, Dr. Coster also directed development and testing of the Participation and Environment Measure for Children and Youth (PEM-CY), and she contributed to development of the Late-Life Function & Disability Instrument (LLFDI); and Activity Measure for Post-Acute Care (AM-PAC) for adults. Dr. Coster and her collaborators at the Health and Disability Research Institute (HDRI) have consistently been on the cutting edge of outcomes assessment, and their work has contributed significantly to the present health care emphasis on client-reported outcome measures that emphasize performance of the important tasks of daily life.

        View all profiles