Sheryl Zylstra

Clinical Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Puget Sound, I was practicing occupational therapist for 25+ years. I began my career working with adults and worked in a variety of settings including acute care, work hardening, work conditioning and hand therapy. When my children were young I transitioned to pediatric practice and spent 15 years working as an OT in school based practice. I thoroughly enjoyed supporting school participation with children and families, and collaborating with teachers and educational support teams. In 2015, I received my doctorate in occupational therapy, and left clinical practice for academia which has been both exceedingly rewarding and intellectually challenging.

I love teaching occupational therapy at the University of Puget Sound. I find that the small group, collaborative, and experiential education that a liberal arts education at the University of Puget Sound prepares our students exceedingly well for the current work environment. Our hands-on clinic is a culminating experience which allows our students to work with community members and occupational therapy mentors, to increase their clinical skills, clinical and professional reasoning, confidence, and readiness to embark on their advanced fieldwork and entry level work experiences.

A Puget Sound liberal arts occupational therapy education teaches cultural appreciation, advances occupational justice, emphasizes strengths, appreciates individual differences, promotes community health and well-being, and ensures that these values will carry over into our students’ professional practices.

Scholarly Interests
As a pediatric clinician, I am interested in examining whether current pediatric occupational therapy interventions are resulting in positive, client-centered outcomes. I am currently examining the outcomes of social skills groups, home based constraint induced movement therapy for cerebral palsy and working as a doctoral student to examine outcomes related to motor intervention and children with ADHD. I am also interested in handwriting and literacy outcomes in school settings.

Personal Interests
As a mother of four young adults, I value family time. My favorite pastime is travel. I have recently travelled to Ethiopia, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, and NYC.  I enjoy seeing how others live and observing daily occupations in urban environments.


BS University of Washington
DOT Temple University
MS University of Illinois Chicago
OT Process in Pediatrics I OT 646-A Fall 2023
Fieldwork Level II OT 671-A Fall 2023
Emerging Practice in OT OT 738-A Fall 2023
OT Process in Pediatrics I OT 746-A Fall 2023
Experiential Learning 1 OT 750-A Fall 2023
Level II Fieldwork OT 771-A Fall 2023
Intervention Across Lifespan OT 614-A Spring 2024
Fieldwork Level I OT 651-A Spring 2024
Fieldwork Level II OT 670-A Spring 2024
Fieldwork: Pediatrics OT 675-A Spring 2024
Fieldwork: Specialty Area OT 676-A Spring 2024

Contact Information

Weyerhaeuser 211