Karen Eskow | Towson University


Ph.D., Social Work,
University of Maryland, Baltimore

M.A., Clinical Psychology,
Towson University

B.S., Occupational Therapy,
University of Pennsylvania

Areas of Expertise

Family quality of life for families who have children with special needs

Family-Professional collaboration


Karen Goldrich Eskow, Ph.D., LCPC, OTR/L, CFLE has served as program director/chairperson
for the Department of Family Studies and Community Development and graduate program
director for the post-baccalaureate certificate in family-professional collaboration
since 2001. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland School of Social
Work, her M.A. in clinical psychology from Towson University and her B.S. in occupational
therapy from the University of Pennsylvania. She has clinical licensure in counseling
and occupational therapy and was actively engaged in mental health practice for 26
years working primarily with children and adolescents. Dr. Eskow has been a faculty
member at Towson University since 1987. Her position is currently in the College of
Liberal Arts. However, she spent 18 years as a faculty member in the Department of
Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science, College of Health Professions.

Dr. Eskow has been engaged in research related to family quality of life and family-professional
relationships since 1994. Her family quality of life research focuses on understanding
the day-to-day lives of families who have children/youth with complex neurodevelopment
disabilities. For the past 15 years the emphasis of this research has been related
to autism, with a recent focus on periods of transition, including when youths leave
the school setting at age 21. Her current research is supported by a grant award from
the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research.
This grant is Dr. Eskow’s fourth externally funded project. She served as principal
investigator for three funded projects in collaboration with the Maryland State Department
of Education. Two of these projects were related to the impact of the Home and Community-Based
Services Waiver program on child and family outcomes, including quality of family
life.  The other project was focused on preparing school professionals to collaborate
with families and build programs to enhance family engagement in the public school

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Select Scholarship

Recent Book Chapters

  • Merryman, M.B., Eskow, K.G., and Demchik, B.B. (2015). Mental health and emotional needs in transition. In M.L.
    Orentlicher, S. Schefkind, & R.W. Gibson, Transitions across the lifespan: an occupational
    therapy approach (pp.191-212). Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association,
  • Eskow, K.G. and Merryman, M.B. (2010) Health promotion for families. In M.E. Scaffa; S.M. Reitz;
    M. Pizzi (Eds.) Occupational Therapy in the promotion of health and wellness. F.A.
    Davis Company.

Recent Grants


  • Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE): $49,978. Title: Autism Waiver and Child/Youth Outcomes: Ongoing Research Collaboration. Role: Principal Investigator Status – Awarded June 28, 2021 – June 27, 2022.


  • Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE): $444, 812. Title: Autism Waiver and Child/Youth Outcomes. Role: Principal Investigator Status – Awarded July 2019 through January 31, 2024.-
    Funding suspended on April 2020 secondary to COVID 19 and economic restrictions.


  • School of Emerging Technology, Towson University (SET): $27,218. Title: Fostering Awareness and Resiliency on Topics of Mental Health and Wellbeing in College
    Students: A Joint Initiative between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.
    Role: Principal Investigator. Status – Seed Funding Proposal awarded for the period
    of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019.


  • Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE): $24,847. Title: Autism Waiver and Child/Youth Outcomes: Ongoing Research Collaboration. Role: Principal Investigator Status – Awarded for the period of April 1, 2017 through
    December 31, 2017.


  • National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research: Field Initiated Project
    (NIDRR): $600,000 @$200,000/year x 3 year project. Title: State Utilization and Impacts of Medicaid HCBS Waiver Services for Families and
    Children with Autism.
    Role: Principal Investigator. Status: Funded for three years beginning October 1,
    2012 through September 30, 2015.


  • Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE): $18,913 Title: Phase II: Autism Waiver and Family Quality of Life. Role: Principal Investigator Status – Awarded for the period of June 1, 2011 through
    May 31, 2012.

Recent Journal Publications

  • Chasson, G.S., Eskow, K.G., Summers, J.A., and Dreher, T.M. (July 2020) Characterization of Family-Directed Care
    Coordination and Involvement in Behavioral Treatments in an Autism-Specific Medicaid
    Waiver. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-020-04583-4
  • Eskow, K.G., Chasson, G.S., and Summers, J.A. (May 2019) The Role of Choice and Control in the
    Impact of Autism Waiver Services on Family Quality of Life and Child Progress. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-019-03886-5
  • Eskow, K.G. and Summers, J.A. (August 2018) Family Perceptions of the impacts of a home and community
    based services waiver: Making family life possible. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities. https://doi.org/10.1111/jar.12518
  • Eskow, K.G., Chasson, G.S., Mitchell, R.C., and Summers, J.A. (March 2018) Association between
    Parent-Teacher Partnership Satisfaction and Outcomes for Children and Families with
    Autism. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities. https://doi.org/10.1111/jppi.12221
  • Miller, N.A., Merryman, M.B., Schockly, E., Eskow, K.G., and Chasson, G.S. (2016) State Design and Use of Medicaid 1915(c) Waivers and Related
    Benefits to Provide Services to Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
    American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
  • Eskow, K.G., Chasson, G.S., and Summers, J. A. (2015) A Cross-Sectional Study of Child and Family
    Improvement in a Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Autism Waiver Program.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45 (3): 626-635. Published online 2014 Sep 3. DOI:10.1007/s10803-014-2217-4.
  • Merryman, M.B., Miller, N.A., Schockly, E., Eskow, K.G. and Chasson, G.S. (2015) State adoption of Medicaid 1915 (c) waivers for children
    and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Disability and Health Journal, 8: 3, 443-451,
  • Demchick, B.B., Eskow, K.G., and Crabtree, L.A. (2014) Autism and transitioning youth: A pilot study of sensory
    processing and family quality of life. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, and Early Intervention, 7:1, 54-6, DOI: 10.1080/19411243.2014.898492.
  • Eskow, K.G., Summers, J. A., and Pineles, L.  (2011) Exploring the Effect of Autism Waiver Services
    on Family Outcomes. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities. Vol 8, No1.
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Recent Presentations- Refereed

  • Girio-Herrera, E, Mattanah, J.F.,Eskow, K.G., Riesing, G., & Ferrick, K. (2019, May).  Addressing the mental health crisis on campus: A multidisciplinary approach to implementing
    a mental health curriculum to increase student mental health awareness and coping.
      Conference symposium presented at the annual meeting of the American College Health
    Association, Denver, CO.
  • Girio-Herrera, E, Mattanah, J.F., Eskow, K.G., & Herman, N. (2019, March).  A cross-disciplinary mental health awareness program for college students:  Exploring
    attitudinal and behavioral outcomes.
    Poster presented at the bi-annual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development,
    Baltimore, MD.
  • Garlington, A., Hennessey, A. Eskow, K.G., Girio-Herrera, E., & Mattanah, J. Curriculum Approach to Addressing Mental Health
    & Stigma on College Campus (Conference Session) 25th Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health, Virtual.
  • Girio-Herrera, E., Eskow, K.G., Mattanah, J., & Reising, G. (May 2019) Addressing the Mental Health Crisis on Campus: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Implementing
    a Mental Health Curriculum to Increase Student Mental Health Awareness and Coping
    – (90 minute General Session). American College Health Association, Denver, CO.
  • Demchik, B.B., Eskow, K.G., Summers, J.A. (2016). Families of Children and Youth on the Autism Spectrum: Resilience, Advocacy and
    Family Quality of Life
    – (Short Course). American Occupational Therapy Association, Chicago, Il.
  • Leslie, L., & Eskow, K. G. (2015, September). Study of a Large, Statewide Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Autism Waiver
    Presentation at the 2015 National Home and Community Based Services Conference, Washington,
  • Eskow, K.G., Demchick, B., and Summers, J.A. (2015) Interviewing for Qualitative Research – (Workshop). American Occupational Therapy Association, Nashville, TN.
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Licenses and Certifications

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Licensed Occupational Therapist

National Certified Counselor
National Council on Family Relations Certified Family Life Educator

Courses Taught – Selected


  • OCTH 213 Small Group Dynamics
  • FMST 101: Introduction to Family Studies
  • FMST 301: Family Relationships
  • FMST 397: Internship in Family Studies
  • FMST 490: Capstone Experience in Family and Human Services


  • FMST 601: Applied Family Studies
  • FMST 610 Family Professional Collaboration
  • FMST 620: Project in Family Focused Program Development
  • OCTH 613: Research Methods in Occupational Therapy
  • OCTH 781 Seminar in Occupational Therapy
  • OCTH 880 Project in Occupational Therapy

View more information: https://www.towson.edu/cla/departments/familystudies/facultystaff/keskow.html

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