Associate Professor and Director of the School of Occupational Therapy
Renee Watling has over 30 years of experience in occupational therapy with expertise in pediatric neurodevelopment and occupational therapy practice for autistic children and children with emotional and behavioral disorders. Dr. Watling is a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association. She is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in autism, sensory integration and processing, management of challenging behaviors, and professionalism in practice. Her research activities include understanding the practice patterns of occupational therapists serving autistic children and their families, utilizing evidence to inform practice, and examining the family experience of receiving occupational therapy services.
Dr. Watling received her B.S. in occupational therapy from the University of Washington. Her post-professional education emphasized emotional and behavioral disorders (M.S. in Occupational Therapy), transdisciplinary leadership (PhD in Education, Area of Special Education), and Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders (LEND post-doctoral fellowship), all from the University of Washington.
Dr. Watling has been a member of the Puget Sound School of Occupational Therapy faculty for over 12 years, teaching both foundational and advanced courses. She is passionate about supporting students in cultivating a professional identity as future occupational therapists. She actively contributes to the development of the occupational therapy profession through regular collaboration with the American Occupational Therapy Association in producing official documents and resources for practitioners, researchers and policy makers. She is the lead author of the AOTA Practice Guidelines for Children and Adolescents with Challenges in Sensory Processing and Sensory Integration and lead editor for Autism Across the Lifespan: A Comprehensive Occupational Therapy Approach.
- Understanding practice patterns of occupational therapists working with pediatric populations
- Tracking and translating new evidence into practice related to sensory integration and sensory processing and providing services for autistic clients and their families
- Exploring the distinct contribution of occupational therapy to intervention for autistic clients
- Understanding the family experience of receiving occupational therapy services for autistic children and children with challenges in sensory integration and processing.
- 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.