Dr. Amy J. Thomas joined Alvernia's Occupational Therapy Department in Fall of 2014, and is very happy to be teaching at her alma mater. She draws on a diverse background of professional and educational experiences and, as the mother of an individual on the spectrum, is fully committed to inclusive teaching practices. Earning a B.S. in Music Education from West Chester University, Dr. Thomas spent the first 20 years of her professional career as an instructor, business owner, and certified coach with the United States Gymnastic Federation (UGF). During that time, Dr. Thomas worked with children of all ages and became a staunch advocate for individuals with diverse learning capabilities.
Upon completion of her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree at Alvernia University, Dr. Thomas worked as a school-based occupational therapist, serving students six to 21 years of age. She worked in a specialized facility, exclusively treating individuals with autism spectrum and related disorders. She conducted workshops on Understanding Autism, Evidence-based Intervention Strategies for Individuals with Autism, Relationship Building, and Sensory Environments.
While working as a school-based practitioner, Dr. Thomas completed her Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree at Chatham University. Her doctoral experience led to a professional interest in academia and expanded her research interest to include positive educational, vocational, and social supports for individuals with autism specturm disorder (ASD), effective supports for paraprofessionals and professionals assisting students with an ASD, and post-secondary academic accomodations for students with neurodiverse learning syles. Her current teaching responsibilities include Activity Analysis, Occupational Performance I - Pediatrics, Research Design, and Research Report.