Faculty trailblazer inspires next generation of OT pediatric clinicians

September 23, 2022

Professor Tara Glennon with students during a movement lab

Professor Tara Glennon ’85 is the embodiment of what distinguishes the Quinnipiac occupational therapy program from its peers.

Her leadership as a nationally renowned expert in the pediatric OT field and her passion for teaching, exemplify two cornerstones upon which the Quinnipiac experience is designed.

After all, Glennon personally understands the Quinnipiac student experience. She once sat in the same seats her students now occupy.

As an undergraduate occupational therapy student at Quinnipiac in the 1980s, her goals did not include becoming a career educator. However, soon after graduation, she joined Quinnipiac as an adjunct professor and became a full-time faculty member in 1994. Whether through her private practice, The Center for Pediatric Therapy or in the Quinnipiac Movement Lab she designed with former OT Department Chair Kimberly Hartmann, Glennon now considers herself an educator dedicated to improving the lives of others and inspiring the next generation of OTs to become leaders in their field.

“My focus is on how to translate what is happening in the field in the most effective way possible so students can conceptually understand,” said Glennon. “Rather than just focus on the techniques, I want them to be able to clinically reason the practical applications so that they can implement them in any variation needed when they begin working with clients.”

In addition to teaching, she has dedicated her career to elevating the benefits of occupational therapy while influencing meaningful change in the profession as a renowned expert in pediatric occupational therapy.

A professional trailblazer, Glennon was one of the first four occupational therapists in Connecticut to obtain Board Certification in Pediatrics in 1993. Since then, she has authored over 100 publications, most notably as co-author of the recently published Sensory Processing Measure-2nd Edition, one of only two assessments available in the field that systematically assembles information about sensory processing from birth through adulthood.

Her career includes more than 35 years of research and professional presentations on the development of fine motor skills, sensory processing and the occupational therapist's role within the educational and medical systems. With seemingly boundless energy, she uses her expertise to help students bridge theory to practice. Even with her accomplishments, Glennon doesn’t hesitate to ride a floor scooter or jump in the ball pit with the OT students in the Movement Room. Through play, Glennon helps her students appreciate how to facilitate the development of skills through activities that are meaningful for their pediatric clients.

“We are a department of diverse, talented and very smart people. While new OT programs continue to pop up all over the country, the Quinnipiac program has been going strong for more than 50 years. Our department has grown. Our expertise has grown. We are current and committed to moving the profession forward,” she said. “The access students have to us, and what we are as a group professionally, is a valuable asset to the program. With our combined experience, Quinnipiac OT students can capitalize on almost any professional opportunity they can possibly imagine.”

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