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Associate Professor
Admission Coordinator
MS Program Coordinator
Phone: (919)843-4464
Fax: (919)966-9007

Personal Statement:

I think I was born an occupational therapist. I  have so many examples from my childhood and adolescence that reflect my values of being engaged both physically and socially, creativity, problem-solving, curiosity, and a desire to help other people learn, enjoy life, and connect with others. Those examples include making a film with some friends called “Curing Summer Boredom in 7 Easy Lessons,” making a quite large, “real” planetarium out of refrigerator boxes as a group science project (everyone else did boring things like demonstrating condensation or the effects of gravity), and a life sized chariot (in which we could give rides) as an English project on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (most everyone else just built a small model of the Globe Theater).

Adolf Meyer, a physician and early supporter of “occupation therapy” once said of the profession, “It takes rare gifts and talents and rare personalities to be real pathfinders in this work. There are no royal roads; it is all a problem of being true to one’s nature and opportunities and of teaching others to do the same with themselves” (Meyer, 1922). Every day I have reason to see how true that is, and be inspired to work with my clients and students in a way that opens us (them and me) to a variety of ways of thinking, doing, and being. I also consistently have reason to be delighted and thankful that my nature and opportunities have led me to be an occupational therapist, a teacher, a mentor, and an occupational scientist, and to do all that at UNC-Chapel Hill!

Courses Taught:

OCCT 755: Foundations of Occupational Therapy Practice
OCCT 765L: Foundations of Occupational Therapy Practice Lab
OCCT 704: Research Methods
OCCT 990: Applied Research Seminar I
OCCT 992: Applied Research Seminar II

Research/Clinical Interests:

My research and clinical interests center around young children with disabilities, particularly autism, and their families. In particular, I’m interested in the ways in which parents, siblings, and peers contribute to the development of occupation and social engagement of young children with autism, and how intervention that supports reciprocity and other responsive behaviors in parents, siblings and peers may be used to support the development of occupation and social engagement for those children.

A second, significant interest is working to increase the diversity of the MS program and in the profession of occupational therapy, and in creating environments that are inclusive and welcoming for all students and therapists. To that end, I have created and help to run the “DiveIn” committee, which is a diversity and inclusion initiative of the Division of Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy. The committee includes current students, faculty members, and alumni.

Recent Publications:

Ardyson, B. and Wakeford, L. (under review). Mothers’ experiences of therapists’ use of self in early intervention occupational therapy. Journal of Occupational Therapy in Schools and Early Intervention.

Watson, L.R., Crais, E.R., Baranek, G.T., Turner-Brown, L., Sideris, J., Wakeford, L., Kinard, J., Reznick, J.S. , Martin, K.L., & Nowell, S.W. (2017). Parent-mediated intervention for one-year-olds screened as at- risk for autism spectrum disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 47, 3520–3540.

Kinard, J.L., Sideris, J., Watson, L.R., Baranek, G.T., Crais, E.R., Wakeford, L., & Turner-Brown, L. (2016). Predictors of parent responsiveness to 1-year-olds at-risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities. DOI 10.1007/s10803-016-2944-9
Baranek, G.T., Watson, L.R., Turner-Brown, L., Field, S.H., Crais, E.R., Wakeford, L., Little, L.M., & Reznick, J.S. (2015). Preliminary efficacy of Adapted Responsive Teaching for infants at risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder in a community sample. Autism Research and Treatment

Book Chapters:

Wakeford, L. (in publication). Chapter 12: Sensory processing in children with ASD: Implications for music therapy. In P. Kern & M. Humpal (Eds.). Music Therapy for Young Children with Autism and Their Families: Learning Through Music in Everyday Life. (2ndEd.) London: Jessica Kingsley.
Wakeford, L. (2016). Occupational therapy. In B. Reichow, B. A. Boyd, E.E. Barton, & S. L. Odom, (Eds.). Handbook of Early Childhood Special Education. New York: Springer.
Boyd, B.A. & Wakeford, L. (2012). Chapter 9: Repetitive Behaviors and Sensory Features: Evidence-Based Intervention Strategies. In S. Goldstein & J. Naglieri (Eds.). Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Humphry, R. & Wakeford, L. (2012). Chapter 17: Educational Implications of Taking a Transactional Perspective of Occupation in Practice. In M.P. Cutchin & V.A.Dickie (Eds.). Rethinking Occupation: Transactional Perspectives on Doing. New York: Springer.


UNC Collaborative to Increase Diversity to Improve Allied Health
PI: Linn Wakeford, PhD, OT/L
AHEC Campus Innovation Grant
9% salary support
Total Award: $26,200
Efficacy of a Parent-Mediated Intervention for One-Year-Olds at-Risk for Autism
PI: Linda Watson, EdD.; Co-PI: Elizabeth Crais, PhD
Funded by Institute of Educational Sciences (IES)
50% salary support July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2014
KUNECT-R: Karolinska/UNC Educational Collaborative for OT Education: Therapeutic Relationships
PI: Linn Wakeford, MS
Funded by the University Research Council, UNC-Chapel Hill
June 1, 2011 – May 31, 2013
Total Award: $4800
Early intervention for children screened positive for autism by the First Year Inventory.
PI: Grace.Baranek, Ph.D.; Co-PIs: Linda Watson, Ed.D. & L.Turner, Ph.D.; Investigators: Elizabeth Crais, Ph.D.  & J. Reznick, Ph.D.
Funded by Autism Speaks
50% salary support July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2010 (as Clinical Coordinator)
TelAbility WATCH project (Wake Area Telehealth Collaborative Helping children with special needs)
PI: Joshua Alexander, M.D.
Funded by the John Rex Endowment to “establish an interdisciplinary telehealth network using web-based resources and real time videoconferencing to improve the quality of and access to specialized services for young children with disabilities and their families in Wake County.”
5% salary support July 1, 2004 – June 30, 2005 as part of project faculty
Total award: $100,000
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Funding to provide videoconferencing training to staff at Developmental Evaluation Centers (statewide)
Approximately 10% salary support January  2003 – August 2003 as core faculty
Approximately 20% salary support January 1, 2002 – July, 2002 as core faculty
Total award: $45,000
TelAbility-Allied Health
PI: Darlene Sekerak, PT, PhD.
HRSA (1999-2002)
Interdisciplinary Training grant to prepare Allied Health practitioners to use telehealth technology to help serve rural populations
10% salary support July 1999 – September 2002 as part of core project faculty
Total Award: $250,000
The UNC School of Medicine Academy of Educators inducted Wakeford into its ranks in 2019.
Linn Wakeford