Photo of Dr. Wilkinson with sunglasses on her head in front of a striped wall

Kimberly Wilkinson

Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy
School: School of Health Sciences and Human Performance
Phone: 607-274-1860
Office: Smiddy Hall 204 I, Ithaca, NY 14850
Specialty: Pediatric Practice, Play, Autism & Neurodiversity, Evidence Informed Practice, and Qualitative Research Methods


I was lucky enough to discover the world of occupational therapy when I was a high-school student.  I completed my bachelor's degree in OT at the University of Buffalo and worked primarily in pediatric practice settings for 13 years before finishing my PhD and entering full time teaching. During that time, I worked with families in California and New York in settings that included home-based early intervention, hospital-based pediatric mental health, clinic based sensory integration, and home and clinic based DIR/feeding work. I completed my MA and PhD in Occupational Science at the University of Southern California where I was a member of research teams that investigated health-care disparities for African American families with children with disabilities. My dissertation research focused on mothers' perceptions related to feeding a child with autism. I loved clinical work and enjoy sharing my passion for this great field with my students.

Teaching: Here at Ithaca College, I primarily teach classes related to research and pediatric practice. I use a combination of lecture, simulations, and active learning strategies to help students engage with the material and develop into great OT clinicians. In some of my classes we get to bring in children and families so students can practice interacting with them and work on developing their clinical skills.  You can click here: Teaching Examples to get a feel for what some of my classes entail. 

Research: I work in concert with my students to add to the evidence base related to pediatric OT practice.  The wholistic nature of OT that includes a mix of hard and soft sciences along with the clinical expertise I've developed over the years has informed my focus on the benefits of free play for children's development. Our current cultural norms suppress opportunities for young children to play freely both indoors and out. My current research is focused on exploring how children's outdoor play can be understood through an occupational therapy lens and advocating for play opportunities that are accessible to all children. You can click here: Scholarship Examples if you'd like to know more.