Leah Ross Ketcheson Dr. (gf9458)

University information

Title: Assistant Professor
Unit: Kinesiology Health & Sports Studies
Department: Health & Physical Education

Contact information

College of Education

Degrees and Certifications:
  • Undergraduate Degree - Kinesiology - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Master's Degree - Education -  Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • PhD - Kinesiology - University of Michigan  - Ann Arbor, MI
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship - Center on Health and Physical Activity in Pediatric Disabilities, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor 

 Dr. Ketcheson teaches classes in the College of Education, Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies. Dr. Ketcheson's area of specialty is adapted physical education, specifically, she is responsible for teaching each of the courses contributing to Certified Adapted Physical Education (CAPE) teaching credentials, a special education endorsement. 

Title: Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, Health and Physical Education
Academic Interests:

 Early motor and physical activity interventions for special populations.  

Office Hours:

 Office Hours: Wednesday 3:00 - 5:00, and by appointment.


Dr. Leah Ketcheson joins Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies at Wayne State University as a program coordinator in the Health and Physical Education Teaching program (H-PET). Dr. Ketcheson's passion for her educational pursuits were born during her time as a teacher of Adapted Physical Education within the Detroit Public School Community School District (DPSCD).

As a doctoral student, Dr. Ketcheson's research focused on the motor and physical activity interventions for youth with disabilities. Dr. Ketcheson designed one of the first early and intensive movement skill interventions for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ages 4-6, using an evidence based behavioral framework. Dr. Ketcheson also participated in the implementation of a 3-year randomized clinical trial funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. In this research, the impact of a bicycle training intervention on physical activity and quality of life was examined in youth with ASD and DS ages 9 – 18. Dr. Ketcheson's post-doctoral fellowship training included the examination of physical activity patterns in infants with and without Down syndrome.

As a faculty member at Wayne State University, Dr. Ketcheson's interests will extend her previous work in intervention research by implementing longitudinal community based family interventions. Dr. Ketcheson is interested in examining the impact of physical literacy and nutrition education interventions that promote positive trajectories of health among children on the autism spectrum as well as their caregivers. Dr. Ketcheson works closely with undergraduate and graduate Health and PE students, as well as Exercise Sport Science degree students training and supervising them in a variety of internship and practicum placements. Students work closely with families offering tailored intervention support, with ample opportunity for hands on evaluation and measurement of behavior. 

Office Location:

257 Matthaei 

Area of Expertise:

 Health promotion programming for children and youth with developmental disabilities, as well as their caregivers 

Research Interests:

1.  Delivery of community-based health promotion programming for children and youth on the autism spectrum

2. The evaluation of the mental and physical health of caregivers of children with developmental disabilities

3. The implementation of urban school based special olympic programming


Ketcheson, L. R. (Principal Investigator) A Virtual Behavioral Training Program for Caregivers to Promote Positive Behavioral Outcomes in Children on the Autism Spectrum
Source: Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute
Awarded: $15,000
Funding Dates: January 2021 – June 2021

Ketcheson, L.R. (Principal Investigator) Physical Literacy And Nutrition Education (PLANE)
Source: Michigan Health Endowment Fund, Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles
Awarded: $500,000
Funding Dates: September 1, 2020 – August 31, 2022

Ketcheson, L.R. (Principal Investigator) Healthy Adapted Physical Activity Programming for Youth (HAPPY)
Source: WKKF Kellogg Foundation
Awarded: $125,000
Funding Dates: May 2019 – August 2021

Ketcheson, L.R. (Principal Investigator) & McCaughtry, Healthy Adapted Physical Activity Programming for Young populations (HAPPY)
Source: Ralph Wilson Legacy Foundation
Awarded: $25,000
Funding Dates: June 2019 - June 2020

Ketcheson, L.R. (Principal Investigator) Healthy Adapted Physical Activity Programming for Youth (HAPPY)
Source: LightUp, a non profit 501(c)3 organization
Awarded: $25,000
Funding Dates: January 2019 – December 2019

Staples, K., Ketcheson, L.R. (Co-Investigator), Understanding Trajectories of Health and Growth in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Source: Organization for Autism Research
Awarded: $30,000
Funding Dates: September 2019 – April 2020

Ketcheson, L.R. (Principal Investigator) University Research Grant
Source: Internal Wayne State University Grant Provost
Awarded: $10,000
Funding Dates: Spring/Summer 2020

Ketcheson, L.R. (Principal Investigator), Shiyong, L., Xiangmin, Z, Charbonneau, D. Seed Grant Proposal for Strengthening the AI, Big Data & Analytics Ecosystem
Source: Internal Wayne State University Grant, Provost
Awarded: $10,000
Funding Dates: March 2019 – March 2020

Community Engagement Activities:

Dr. Ketcheson serves at the Clinical Director for Health Promotion for Special Olympics Michigan. In this role, she delivers Health Screenings at all major Special Olympic statewide competitions. Dr. Ketcheson enjoys bringing WSU students to these competitions to assist with the administration of health evaluations. 


 Ketcheson L.R., Moore E.W.G., Wentz C.F., Zhou K., Zhang X., et al. (2021) Variables Contributing to the Age of Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Implications for Addressing Diagnostic Disparities. International Journal of Autism & Related Disabilities: IJARD-149. https://doi.org/10.29011/2642-3227.000049

Ketcheson, L.R., Staples, K.L., Pitchford, E.A., & Loetzner, F. (2021). Promoting positive health outcomes in an urban community-based physical activity intervention for preschool aged children on the Autism Spectrum. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-021-04871-7

Ketcheson, L.R. & Pitchford, E. A. (2021) Promoting physical activity participation and nutrition education through a telehealth intervention for children on the autism spectrum and their caregivers. Contemporary clinical trials, 107, 106496.

Hauck, J. L., Pasik, P. J., & Ketcheson, L. R. (2021) A-ONE-an accessible online nutrition & exercise program for youth with physical disabilities. Contemporary clinical trials, 111, 106594.

Ketcheson, L.R., Pitchford, E.A., & Wentz, C.F. (2021). The relationship between Developmental Coordination Disorder and concurrent deficits in social communication and repetitive behaviors among children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism Research. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.2469

Ketcheson, L.R., Centeio, E.E., Snapp, E.E., McKown, H.B., & Martin, J.J. (2020). Physical activity and motor skill outcomes of a 10-week intervention for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities ages 4 – 13. A pilot study. Disability Health Journal. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dhjo.2020.100952

Ketcheson, L.R., Pitchford, E.A., & Wentz, C.F. (2020). The relationship among early functional milestones and core deficits in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorder. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2020.101638

Ketcheson, L.R., Felzer-Kim, I., Hauck, J.L. (2020). Promoting Adapted Physical Activity Regardless of Language Ability in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Research Quarterly for Exercise And Sport. 1 – 11. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2020.1788205

Snapp, E.E., Ketcheson, L.R., Martin, J.J. & Centeio, E.E. (2020). Improving Quality of Life for Children with Developmental Disabilities Through Gross Motor Function Interventions. International Journal of Disabilities and Sport Sciences, 3(1), 33-41. https://doi.org/10.33438/ijdshs.713634

Ahlquist, S., Ketcheson, L.R. & Colombi, C. (2017). Multisensory Architecture: The Dynamic Interplay of Environment, Movement and Social Function. Architectural Design, 87(2), 90-99.

Ketcheson, L.R., Pitchford, A., Hyun, J., & Ulrich. (2017). The physical activity patterns in infants with and without Down syndrome. Journal of Pediatric Physical Therapy, 29(3), 200-206. https://doi/org/10.1097/PEP.0000000000000397

Ketcheson, L.R., Hauck, J. Ulrich, D. (2017). The levels of physical activity and motor skills in young children with and without autism spectrum disorder, aged 2 - 5 years. Autism, 22(4), 414-423. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361316683889

Ketcheson, L.R., Hauck, J., Ulrich, D. (2017). The effects of an early motor skill intervention on motor skills, levels of physical activity, and socialization in young children with autism spectrum disorder: A pilot study. Autism. 21(4), 481-492. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361316650611

Pitchford, E.A., Ketcheson, L.R., Kwon, J. & Ulrich, D. (2017). Minimum Accelerometer Wear Time in Infants: A Generalizability Study. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 14(6), 421-428. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1123/jpah.2016-0395

Hauck, J.L., Ketcheson, L.R. & Ulrich, D.A. (2016). Methodology to Promote Physical Activity Monitoring Adherence in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Frontiers in Public Health, 4, 206. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2016.00206

Reynolds, J., Pitchford, A., Hauck, J., Ketcheson, L.R., & Ulrich, D.A. (2015). Outcomes of Home-Support Consultation on the Maintenance of Bicycle Riding Skills for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation. 26(2), 166-185. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10474412.2015.1067147

Smith, S. M., Sonego, S., Ketcheson, L.R. & Larson, J. L. (2014). A review of the effectiveness of psychological interventions used for anxiety and depression in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. BMJ Open Respiratory Research. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjresp-2014-000042

Leah Ross Ketcheson Dr.

Courses taught by Leah Ross Ketcheson Dr.

Fall Term 2024 (future)

Winter Term 2024

Fall Term 2023

Fall Term 2022

Winter Term 2022

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