Varleisha (Gibbs) Lyons, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, ASDCS
, is an occupational therapist and author with over 18 years’ experience working with children and adolescents diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorders, and neurological disorders. She is the Vice President of Practice Engagement and Capacity Building at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Dr. Lyons is the former Scientific Programs officer at the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. She also served as the inaugural chair and director of the master’s programs in occupational therapy at Wesley College in Dover, DE, where she was a tenured associate professor. Prior to joining Wesley, Dr. Lyons worked at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, PA, where she served as the director of the doctoral programs in occupational therapy.
Dr. Lyons is steadfast and an expert in the field of neurology, cognition, and pediatric therapeutic intervention. She lectures and provides training on sensory processing strategies and self-regulation to practitioners, parents, and teachers throughout the country and internationally. As co-author of Raising Kids with Sensory Processing Disorders
, she has provided families with strategies to understand and care for their children. Dr. Lyons is the developer of the Self-Regulation and Mindfulness program and author of the best-selling book, Self-Regulation and Mindfulness: Exercise and Worksheets for Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorder
(PESI Publishing & Media). She is the co-author of a new book on complex trauma, which will be published in Spring 2021 (PESI Publishing & Media).
In 2003, Dr. Lyons founded Universal Progressive Therapy, Inc., a company that provides interdisciplinary and quality therapeutic services to families. As founding president, she provided treatment interventions and education in the areas of sensory integration, autism as well as family-centered care. Dr. Lyons co-authored the publication, “Family-Centered Occupational Therapy and Telerehabilitation for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders,” found in the journal of Occupational Therapy in Healthcare
. She received her PhD at Seton Hall University with a dissertation focusing on the autism spectrum diagnosis. Dr. Lyons earned her doctorate in occupational therapy at Thomas Jefferson University.
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