Sheryl Zylstra

Clinical Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy

(On Leave Spring 2022)

I have been a practicing occupational therapist for 30+ 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 almost 15 years working in school based practice. I thoroughly enjoyed promoting 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 affords 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 very 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 pediatric outpatient clinic outcomes.  I am also interested in handwriting and literacy outcomes in school settings.

Personal Interests
As a mother of four young adults in various states of leaving the nest, I value any family time I can get. My favorite pastime is travel, especially to large cities.  I have recently travelled to Ethiopia, Italy and Croatia, NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago and New Orleans.   The current state of limited travel, however, has allowed me to slow down and really appreciate my surroundings right here in Washington State, including the beautiful sound, lakes, mountains, forest, wildlife and foods of the Pacific Northwest. We have so much to offer here in our own backyard.  Come and join us!


BS University of Washington
DROT Temple University
MS University of Illinois Chicago
Fieldwork Level II OT 670-A 2226
Fieldwork Level II OT 770-A 2226
OT Process in Pediatrics I OT 646-A 2228
Fieldwork Level II OT 671-A 2228
OT Process in Pediatrics I OT 746-A 2228
Level II Fieldwork OT 771-A 2228

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