Rondalyn Varney Whitney, PhD, OT/L is a clinical researcher, occupational therapist, and a content expert in social participation, autism, maternal health, and the therapeutic use of narrative. Most recently at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)at Kennedy Krieger Institute, Dr. Whitney initiated and developed a breakout Web-based social skills curriculum for children with high functioning autism and related disorders. She was one of CARD’s most successful outreach and training division presenters, providing training and technical assistance to professionals, pre-professionals, family members, and the greater Baltimore community. Her perspective on family-centered clinical intervention and understanding of methodologies appropriate for patient-centered inquiry has afforded her entry onto distinguished research teams, most recently working at the Center for Autism and Related Research. Her research areas of interest include telehealth, pediatric psychopathology, family quality of life, and emotional disclosure. She has held professional leadership roles for more than 20 years and is considered a visionary, innovator, and change agent in the field.
Dr. Whitney’s ability to translate complex materials into accessible information is one of her stand out skills. Through written communication, she has not only informed clinical practice but empowered clients to select and prioritize treatments that both fit with their values andgenerate greater health and wellness for themselves and their families. Dr. Whitney has published on distance learning, autism-related disorders, maternal health, and innovative social curriculum. She was the lead Investigator and author on the studies Quality of Life Among Families of School-Age Children With an Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States and Online Journal Writing, Maternal Stress, and Parent-Child Relationships among Mothers of Children With Pediatric Psychopathology. Her most recent book, co-edited with AOTA Press Director Chris Davis, and titled A Writer’s Toolkit for Occupational Therapy and Health Care Professionals: An Insider’s Guide to Writing and Getting Published was released in 2012.
Dr. Whitney received her doctorate in international health science from Trident University International. Her doctoral work incorporated the use of Web-based interventions on emotional disclosure, maternal stress, and mother-child relationship when parenting a child with socially disruptive behaviors. Her findings demonstrated that perceived support and feelings of cherishment were primary predictors of maternal stress and quality of mother-child relationships. Negative laden language used in emotional disclosure during online journal writing was shown to be an active ingredient in mothers realizing reduced stress and greater satisfaction in their relationships with their child over the course of the intervention. The original assessment instrument [Whitney's Perceived Support and Cherishment Scale] was an exciting outcome of her study.