Areas of Expertise: Autism, Sensory Processing
Director and Founding Chair of the Occupational Therapy Program and Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at Clarkson University
Location: Potsdam, NY
Rondalyn Varney Whitney, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is a clinical researcher, occupational therapist, and a content expert in social participation, autism, maternal health, and the therapeutic use of narrative. She is currently the director and founding chair of the Occupational Therapy Program and associate professor of occupational therapy at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. Dr. Whitney has held professional leadership roles for more than 20 years and is considered a visionary, innovator, and change agent in the field.
Dr. Whitney’s ability to translate complex materials into accessible information is one of her stand out skills. Through written communication, she has not only informed clinical practice but empowered clients to select and prioritize treatments that both fit with their values andgenerate greater health and wellness for themselves and their families. Dr. Whitney has published on distance learning, autism-related disorders, maternal health, and innovative social curriculum. She was the lead Investigator and author on the studies Quality of Life Among Families of School-Age Children With an Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States and Online Journal Writing, Maternal Stress, and Parent-Child Relationships among Mothers of Children With Pediatric Psychopathology. She co-edited with AOTA Press Director Chris Davis, A Writer’s Toolkit for Occupational Therapy and Health Care Professionals: An Insider’s Guide to Writing and Getting Published was released in 2012. Her most recent books are Raising Kids With Sensory Processing Disorders: A Week-by-Week Guide to Solving Everyday Sensory Issues in 2013, and Self-Regulation: A Family Systems Approach for Children with Autism, Learning Disabilities, ADHD & Sensory Disorders in 2014.
Dr. Whitney received her doctorate in international health science from Trident University International. Her doctoral work incorporated the use of Web-based interventions on emotional disclosure, maternal stress, and mother-child relationship when parenting a child with socially disruptive behaviors. Her findings demonstrated that perceived support and feelings of cherishment were primary predictors of maternal stress and quality of mother-child relationships. Negative laden language used in emotional disclosure during online journal writing was shown to be an active ingredient in mothers realizing reduced stress and greater satisfaction in their relationships with their child over the course of the intervention. The original assessment instrument [Whitney's Perceived Support and Cherishment Scale] was an exciting outcome of her study.