Associate Professor and Director of the Master's Degree Program in Occupational Therapy
Dr. Renee Watling has been a pediatric occupational therapist for over 30 years of experience and has worked in a range of settings including outpatient pediatric clinics, schools, client homes and private practice. Her expertise includes autism spectrum disorder, sensory integration and sensory processing, and management of challenging behaviors.
Dr. Watling first taught in the School of Occupational Therapy at University of Puget Sound from 2007-2011 then returned to clinical work to develop a specialized program for evaluation and intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder. She re-joined the Puget Sound faculty in 2015. She teaches both foundational and advanced concepts, having contact with each student cohort during every semester of the program. Dr. Watling actively contributes to the development of the occupational therapy profession through participation in multiple workgroups of the American Occupational Therapy Association. She is the lead author of the AOTA Practice Guideline for Children and Adolescents with Challenges in Sensory Processing and Sensory Integration and the lead editor for Autism Across the Lifespan: A Comprehensive Occupational Therapy Approach.
Why Puget Sound
The occupational therapy profession requires creative problem-solving, embraces a client-centered collaborative approach to service delivery, and recognizes the therapeutic relationship as a key contributor in helping clients achieve their goals. Teaching at Puget Sound allows me to bring these same concepts into the classroom where we build a knowledge community in which students and professors contribute personally and collectively to the learning experience. It is rewarding to learn about each student’s personal journey to the profession of OT, empower students to take ownership of foundational occupational therapy knowledge, and support students in adopting professional identities as emerging occupational therapists. I especially enjoy supporting students in developing the confidence to enter into clinical situations with the persistence, creativity, and capability to build therapeutic relationships with their clients, develop creative solutions to clinical problems, and enable clients to meet their goals.
Understanding practice patterns of pediatric occupational therapists, especially related to service delivery for individuals with autism spectrum disorder
Tracking and translating new knowledge of sensory integration and sensory processing to pediatric practice
Application of strengths-based approaches into practice
Exploring the distinct contribution of occupational therapy to intervention for individuals with autism spectrum disorder
Using my hands to create – crafting, cooking, gardening
Being “on the water” in just about any way – kayaking, boating, floating, dining – the water is my happy place
Health, wellness, faith and clean living
Making memories and celebrating both the everyday and special day activities and achievements of my children and family