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About Heather Kuhaneck

Dr. Kuhaneck's professional interests: Pediatric occupational therapy with a specialty in play, sensory integration, and autism
Degrees: Ph.D., Public Health, University of Connecticut; MS, Occupational Therapy; BS, Occupational Therapy.

Teaching responsibilities: Pediatrics in Occupational Therapy (Seminar, Lab, and Coordinate 8 TBL/PBL teams); Research I and II; Portfolio; Capstone Advising; Service Learning Trips to Romania

Research Interests:
Importance of play, Playful occupational therapy interventions, The relationship between play and praxis, Development of assessment tools for sensory processing (The Sensory Processing Measure and the Classroom Sensory Environment Assessment), Efficacy of sensory integration intervention

Ongoing Student Projects: Professional involvement of occupational therapists and the importance of mentoring; The impact of fear of violence from men on women's outdoor leisure occupations, public perceptions of occupational therapy;

2019: Academic Creative Teaching Grant - to support the First Annual Way to Play Program and Event - $585
2016: Deans Interdisciplinary Scholarship Award– With Dr. Rhea Paul, and Dr. Beverly Fein:  To develop and implement an inter-professional PBL experience between OT/SLP/PT -- $1,000
2014: University Research and Creativity Grant –Predictors of play skills in young children with ASD
2013: SEPTA Grant – to purchase children’s books to provide the Stories for Acceptance Program in 3 Fairfield elementary schools (with adjunct Kim Flynn, MS OTR/L)
2013:Deans Interdisciplinary Scholarship Award - With Dr. Rhea Paul, and Dr. Jaqueline Kelleher: To develop 3-credit inter-professional course about Autism including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Special Education - to be team-taught using a problem based learning approach
2012: University Research and Creativity Grant - Development of the Classroom Sensory Environment Assessment (C-SEA) -with Jacqueline Kelleher
2012:Dean’s Interdisciplinary Award   - to develop the Autism Research Interest Group and fund our first three speakers and meetings.
2010: Academic Creative Teaching Grant - for attendance at the Summer Teaching and Learning Institute at the Center for Occupational Therapy Education at Colorado State University

Honors, Awards, & Fellowship:
·       AOTF Virginia Scardina Award of Excellence, April 1st, 2017
·       Service Commendation, April 9, 2016 for Co-Authoring Successful Participation at School: Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
·       Alice S. Bachmann Clinician Award, February 24, 2012
·       Award of Service -Connecticut Occupational Therapy Association, March 12, 2011
·       Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association, April 2010
·       Certificate of Appreciation -Connecticut Occupational Therapy Association, 2010
·       Award of Merit, Connecticut Occupational Therapy Association, March 2009
·       Recognition of Achievement, American Occupational Therapy Association, April 2008
·       Service Commendation, American Occupational Therapy Association, April 2008


2003 - Present Associate Professor Occupational Therapy, Sacred Heart University Occupational Therapy

Curriculum Vitae


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Honors and Awards

  • 2014-15 SHU University Research and Creativity Grant
  • Sacred Heart University Tenure 2015
  • April 2014 AOTA Service Commendation
  • 2012-13 SHU University Research and Creativity Grant
  • February 2012 Alice S. Bachmann Clinician Award
  • 2011 Dean’s Interdisciplinary Research Award
  • 2010-11 Academic Creative Teaching Grant
  • March 2011 Award of Service Connecticut OTA
  • 2010 Fellow of the AOTA; Certificate of Appreciation Connecticut OTA
  • 2009 Award of Merit, Connecticut OTA
  • 2008 Recognition of Achievement Award AOTA


2008 - 2012 Ph.D. Public Health, University of Connecticut
1993 - 1996 M.S. Occupational Therapy, Ohio State University
1984 - 1988 B.S. Occupational Therapy, Boston University

Contact Information

Occupational Therapy 
Healthcare Education N125 
College of Health Professions 


Books (5)

Book Chapters (13)

Posters (2)

Articles (29)