Gretchen face

Occupational Therapist, M.S., OTR/L

Gretchen Ward

Gretchen is excited to join the team at Growing Kids Therapy Clinic as an occupational therapist.  She is passionate about her profession and helping her clients find their voice and serves in the state and national occupational therapy associations in various ways. Occupational therapy is focused on helping individuals live life to its fullest, and she has always put that first in designing treatment plans for the diverse client populations she has served. From her initial master’s research project focusing on parents’ perceptions of OT interventions on increasing participation in children with autism to her most recent position at Grafton Integrated Health Network, Gretchen has always looked for ways to help her clients connect with their peers, families, and communities and engage in meaningful activities through evidence-based practice.  The brain has always been a fascinating puzzle and the way our emotions, sensory experiences, and biochemistry interact to create motor expression has always been a keen interest to Gretchen. She has training in various self-regulation programs, including the Alert Program, Zones of Regulation, S’cool Moves, and has recently become interested in how Interoception, the eighth sensory system impacts self-regulation and motor expression with neurodiverse populations.  She also has training in various handwriting programs, trauma-informed care, and a variety of motor learning techniques. 

Gretchen has been a practicing OT since 2009. She holds a BA from the University of Virginia in English and Biology and an MS in OT from Columbia University.  She started her career in the New York City Department of Education and Early Intervention following clinical experiences in diverse settings, including a men’s shelter for individuals with chemical addictions and mental illness, a subacute rehabilitation hospital and skilled nursing facility, and a pediatric therapy clinic and special needs school in Trinidad and Tobago. She has presented at local, state, national, and international OT conferences on a wide variety of topics and has traveled to Nicaragua to assist families of children with cerebral palsy and other motor and developmental delays. 

When not geeking out over the latest OT news or cheering on her Hoos with her local UVA alumni club, Gretchen can be found with her nose in a good book, creating a new makeup tutorial to share online,  or traveling near and far in search of adventure,  good eats, and perfect lighting.