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Dr. Varleisha Gibbs

Associate Professor and Director of Masters of Occupational Therapy Program

Why I Teach

I learned very early on that there was a strong joy that I experienced when helping others. Occupational Therapy is a beautiful vehicle that allows me to reach people of various avenues in life. I now have the opportunity to share this gift with the students I encounter. Such wonder, joy, and passion emerge from teaching future practitioners!

Professional Activities

Areas of Expertise: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorders, Neurological Disorders, Leadership, and Interprofessional Education.

I am currently the chair and director of the inaugural masters of occupational therapy program at Wesley College, which is also the first ever in the state of Delaware. I co-authored Raising Kids with Sensory Processing Disorders, this has provided families with strategies to understand and care for their children.

I began my career after receiving my baccalaureate degree in psychology from the University of Delaware. I continued my studies in the field of occupational therapy and received professional degrees from Columbia University and Thomas Jefferson University. I have specific interest in children with autism spectrum disorders, sensory processing disorders, and cultural competency in treatment interventions.

In 2003, I founded Universal Progressive Therapy, Inc. in New Jersey. The company was established with the focus of providing interdisciplinary and quality therapeutic services to families. As founding president of the company, I provided education and treatment, and has had many opportunities to study the areas of sensory integration, autism spectrum disorders, as well as family-centered care. I hold a doctoral degree in occupational therapy. I focused my doctoral studies on family-centered care, autism spectrum disorders, and the use of telerehabilitation. This innovative topic led to a publication, “Family-Centered Occupational Therapy and Telerehabilitation for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders,” found in the journal Occupational Therapy in Healthcare.

I continue to publish, lecture, and provide training throughout the country on sensory processing strategies and self-regulation. My passions are to provide individuals with the tools that assist both the individual and the family system.


  • B.A. Psychology, University of Delaware
  • M.S. Occupational Therapy, Columbia University
  • Doctorate in Occupational Therapy, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Ph.D. Health Sciences, Seton Hall University

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