Varleisha Gibbs OTD, OTR/L

Varleisha Gibbs OTD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy


BA (Delaware), MS (Columbia), OTD (Jefferson)

Research Interests

Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorder, Family-Centered Care, Telerehabilitation, Cultural Disparities in Healthcare


Occupational Roles

Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Entrepreneur, Occupational Therapist, Educator, Lover of Dance

Occupational History

Varleisha loves being a mother.  She has a son, Tennessee George Gibbs III, and a daughter Dakota Simone Gibbs.  Her husband ‘George’ has become an integral part of her career as seen in his role within their occupational therapy private practice. Varleisha enjoys spending time at home, especially the impromptu dance parties with her children.

As a previous adjunct instructor, Varleisha found a passion for academia.  She joined the University of the Sciences Occupational Therapy Department in the summer of 2012.  Her teaching efforts involve clinical medicine, clinical management and supervision, developmental interventions, clinical teaching and learning, cognition, neurology, and evaluations and assessments courses.


Varleisha completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Delaware where she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated.  She immediately followed with attending Columbia University where she received her Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy.  With a desire to continue evolving as a practitioner and educator, Varleisha decided to pursue a Doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy. Hence, she obtained that degree from Thomas Jefferson University. She is currently completing her PhD in Health Sciences through Seton Hall University.

Clinical Practice

Varleisha comes with a varied foundation relating to her clinical practice.  She initiated her career through agency-based employment allowing for experience in a wide variety of environments.  Varleisha became a Director of Rehabilitation for Kessler Rehabilitation in Norwood New Jersey.  With a continued interest in physical disabilities, as well as pediatrics, she began Universal Progressive Therapy, Inc. The agency was designed to allow her, and other practitioners, the opportunity to expand their roles as professionals.  While growing her company, Varleisha was allowed opportunities to perform various in-service initiatives for families, caregivers, future Occupational Therapy Students, and support staff.  Her passion has been to include the family system in the clinical decision making process.  In addition to her current roles, she recently has been requested to perform various speaking engagements across the country.

Selected Scholarly Activity


Family-Centered Occupational Therapy and Telerehabilitation for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Occupational Therapy in Health Care 2011 25:4, 298-314

Whitney, V., Gibbs, V. (2013) Raising Kids with Sensory Processing Disorders: A Week-by-Week Guide to Solving Everyday Sensory Issues. Prufrock Press

Peer-Reviewed Presentations:

Gibbs, V., Fox, W. (April 2015) How Can Occupational Therapy Support Underserved Minority Groups Following the Changes to the Autism Diagnosis? Poster Session. AOTA Annual Conference and Expo.

Gibbs, V., Rhette-Davis, T.  (April 2015) Sensory Strategies and Self-Regulation: Applying Your Neuro Course. Poster Session. AOTA Annual Conference and Expo.

Gibbs, V. (2014) The Relation of Cultural Behavioral Norms and Parenting Styles to Age of Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders. AOTA Annual Conference and Expo

Professional Presentations:

Self-Regulation in the School Setting. (February 2015) District of Columbia Public School System Professional Development Day Invited Workshop Presenter.

African Americans and the Autism Epidemic (October 2014) Tuskegee University Fall Health Symposium Focuses on Autism and Early Detection; Keynote Speaker

Self-Regulation Strategies and the Relation to Underlying Neurological Components. (August, 2014) Occupational; Presenter

Sensory Processing Disorders: Practical Solutions that Work. PESI: Various locations

Self-Regulation in Children: Keeping the Body, Mind, and Emotions on Task in Children with Autism, ADHD or Sensory Disorders. (2013-2014) PESI: Various locations

Rehab Management of the Difficulty Patient. Webinar for QUI. (August, 2013) Co-presenter Carol Maritz

Contact Information

Office location: 4500 Woodland Ave.
Mailing address: University of the Sciences
Box # 8, 600 S. 43rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office Phone: 215-596-7347

v [dot] gibbs [at] usciences [dot] edu