Staff profile

Prof Karen Stagnitti

Position: Associate Head Of School (Research)
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Health
Department: School of Health & Soc. Dev.
Campus: Geelong Waterfront Campus
Phone: +61 3 522 78363 +61 3 522 78363



  • Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, University of Queensland, 1977
  • Doctor of Philosophy, La Trobe University, 2002
  • Graduate Certificate of Higher Education, Deakin University, 2007


Australasian/Pacific Play Therapy Association

OT Australia

Victorian Consortium of Early Childhood Educators


Teaching Interests

Prof Stagnitti Has run the occupational therapy honours program for the last 10 years. She is intersted in developing students reserach skills and abilities. She is also interested in the application of knowledge to practice.

Subjects and units currently teaching

Honours units





She teaches into:



She also supervisors several PhD candidates and masters research students.

Knowledge areas

Professor Stagnitti specialises in children's play. She has developed 2 play assessments, the Symbolic and Imaginative Play Developmental Checklist and the Child-Initiated Pretend Play Assessment.

Conferences and seminars

1. Siobhan Casey, Karen Stagnitti, Ann Taket (2010) Examining resilience using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: Children and Youth Version AARE 2010, Melbourne University, Melbourne (28 November to 2 December 2010) AARE SIG: Social Justice, Session Type: Symposium. 2. Stagnitti, K. & Kidd, E. (2011). Narrative recall and pretend play: comparison of a play-based curriculum and traditional classroom curriculum. Children's Play, Storytelling and Pretence: CPSP 2011, University of Melbourne. 3. Stagnitti, K. (2011). Changes in ability: children with ASD and the Learn to Play program. Children's Play, Storytelling and Pretence: CPSP 2011, University of Melbourne. 4. Stagnitti, K. (2011). Play Based Learning. Monash City Council, Melbourne. 5. Stagnitti, K. (2011). The Parent Learn to Play Program. Healing relationships. Australasian/pacific Play Therapy Association Conference. August, Geelong. 6. Casey, S., Stagnitti, K. & Taket, A. (2011). Peer play relationships. Australasian/pacific Play Therapy Association Conference. August, Geelong. 7. Taket, A., Nolan, A., Casey, S. & Stagnitti, K. (2011). Supporting children's and young people's resilience in schools. 90minute paper presentation, New Understandings, Better Integration, Sustainable and Equitable Actions - Schools that Promote Health, Well-being and Educational Success in the Next Decade on the Occasion of the 15es Journes annuelles de sant publique du Qubec/15th Annual Public Health Days of Quebec (JASP) in Quebec - November 28th - 29th 2011. 8. Taket, A., Stagnitti, K., Casey, S. & Nolan, A. (2011). Mothers supportive strategies to build resilience in their children. PHAA (Public Health Association Australia) conference, Brisbane. 9. Hitch, D. Lavasani, N., Pepin, G. & Stagnitti, K. (2011). Clinical guidelines for children with ADHD. Bi-annual Occupational Therapy National conference, Gold Coast, June 2011. 10. Siobhan Casey, Karen Stagnitti, Ann Taket, Andrea Nolan (2012). Early Peer Play Interactions of Resilient Children Living in Disadvantaged Communities The Early Years Conference 2012, 2 4 February, Hyatt Regency, Vancouver, Canada


Awards and prizes

In 1997 she received a full time scholarship from LaTrobe University to study a doctorate full time.

In 2012 she was given a Personal Chair.


Research projects

Faculty member of the Research and Research Training Committee

School member of the Research and Research Training Committee

Research interests

Professor Stagnitti's research is primarily concerned with play ability of children under 10 years of age. The research area can be broken down into the following main areas:

The continuing development of a norm referenced play assessment: The Child-Initiated Pretend Play Assessment (ChIPPA)

The relationship between play and literacy ability in young children

The use of the ChIPPA with different clinical groups of children

The refinement of an intervention program called the 'Learn to Play' program that builds up a childs play skills with increases in a childs language, social competence and flexibility.

Continuing reserach on the Parent Learn to Play program.

The Learn to Play program with children with ASD

The development of the Animated Movie Test - an assessment of creativity, logical thinking, symbolic thinking and narrative for adolescents.

Research page

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