Leah R. Ketcheson

Leah R. Ketcheson
Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator, Physical Education and Physical Activity Leadership

257 Matthaei 

 Office Hours: Wednesday 2:00 - 5:00 and by appointment.

  • Undergraduate Degree - Physical Education and French - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Masters Degree - Adapted Physical Education-  Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • PhD - Kinesiology - University of Michigan  - Ann Arbor, MI
  • Postcoctoral Fellowship - Center on Health and Physical Activity in Pediatric Disabilities, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor 


Dr. Leah Ketcheson joins Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies at Wayne State University as a program coordinator in Physical Education and Physical Activity Leadership. 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.

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 wtih 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 examining the trajectories of health disparities in young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dr. Ketcheson is also interested in examining the impact of comprehensive school based physical activity interventions for children with and without Developmental Disabilities. 


 Dr. Ketcheson teaches classes in the College of Education, Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies. Specifically, Dr. Ketcheson is responsible for teaching each of the courses contributing to Certified Adapted Physical Education (CAPE) teaching credentials, a special education endorsement. 

Academic Interests

 Early motor and physical activity interventions for special populations.  

Area Of Expertise

 The motor skill development and levels of physical activity in young children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Research Interests

 Community based motor skill interventions for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 

Courses Taught

  • Physical Activity in Pediatric Disabilities
  • Teaching Disability & Sport
  • Physical Activity Assessment for Special Populations
  • Teaching Adapted Aquatics to Special Populations

Community Engagement Activities

 Dr. Ketcheson is the Executive Director of LightUp, a non-profit organization whose mission it is to improve the quality of life in individuals with disabilities. LightUp partners with the Center for Health and Community Impact at Wayne State University to provide 4 community based on campus practicum experiences, where teacher preparation students work in a 1:1 ratio with children and youth who have a disability. The focus of the practicums range from instruction in movement skills and group games to water safety and aquatic skills.