Upcoming In-Person Events

Mental Health CoP is joining the NAMI Walk 5K on June 8th 8am at Mariner Park in Kirkland in lieu of the quarterly meeting. Register Here. Donate to WOTA Fun in Function Team Here (Goal: $250)

Vibrant Palette Art Show at Sammamish City Hall is going on until June 15.Event Info Here. Vibrant Palette organization was created by OT Diane Knoll, featured in WOTA OT Story Corp Below

October 12-13 at Green River College Campus, Auburn, WA (Call For Papers Open through June 1st and early bird rates open now! Here)

Upcoming Web Gatherings

Membership Committee Meeting June 11th, 7pm (2nd Tue of each month). Email membership@wota.org to join.

Legislative Committee Meeting May 30th 7:30-8:30pm (meets regularly, as needed, during session). Email director@wota.org to join.

Secondary Transitions CoP Meeting June 10th 7:15-8:15pm (2nd Mon of each month). Email BabbsOT@gmail.com to join.

Executive Board Elections

It is election time!!! Each year around this time, WOTA holds its annual Executive Board elections. Below we have this year’s ballot, you can approve each of the candidates for the current open positions.

All the positions are uncontested this year. That means we are asking for a vote of support for the individual who has volunteered to serve, in accordance with WOTA’s bylaws we require 10% election participation of WOTA members.

This election will close on 5/31 at 11:59 p.m. We would appreciate your vote as a member of WOTA!

If you have any questions, please let our Awards and Nominations chair know at emilynugenwota@gmail.com


Message from President Genie Charvet

April and May have been busy months for WOTA as we are coming to the end of our association year and begin preparing for the transitions that occur the beginning of July as a new Executive Board takes office. Ballots have been sent out – please be sure to vote before the deadline of May 31st!

Here are some highlights:

  • In April, we celebrated OT Month by hosting an ice cream social to provide our members and their families the opportunity to socialize and network with other WOTA members. The event was well attended, and we hope to provide similar opportunities in the future.
  • I was also able to represent WOTA at the AOTA Conference in New Orleans. I attended the Association of State Affiliated Presidents (ASAP) meeting, where we were given the opportunity to share the struggles and successes within our associations, and problem-solve issues such as increasing membership, holding successful conferences, contracting for lobbyist services, and managing finances. AOTA also provided valuable information on state data and strategic planning.
  • Our continuing education committee has been busy finalizing details for the location of WOTACON next fall. We are pleased to be able to hold the upcoming conference at Green River College, which has a wonderful facility but at a much lower cost that we have been paying at hotels and conference centers. As a result, we were able to lower the registration fees, but at the same time we anticipate increased profits due to the lower overhead costs. We have also changed the conference days to Saturday and Sunday due to the number of requests we have received from members who were not able to take Friday off to attend conference. Registration is open, with an early bird discounted special, so don’t wait to register!

  • Finally, we are happy to report that due to some significant reductions we have made in expenditures, and a steadily growing membership, our account balance is now positive. Although we had to make some difficult decision in order to accomplish this, it appears that we have gotten through our fiscal crisis and hope to see our bottom line continue to improve through the rest of this calendar year. One of the difficult decisions made was to put contract with our lobbyist, Kate White Tutor, on hold following this legislative session. We hope to continue to earn enough revenue to support WOTA’s operation costs and support having a lobbyist.

End of Session Report from Kate White Tudor

Hello OTs!

I’m pleased to report that we succeeded in achieving our two top priorities for the 2019 legislative session!  We passed SB 5887 to help protect six visits from insurer interference through prior authorization, and we also succeeded in obtaining $155 million in funding for special education, along with significant improvements to special education policy in SB 5091.  Please see the attached session report for details on these bills as well as the other priority bills we engaged in this session.

Session ran right up until the scheduled deadline for sine die at midnight on Sunday April 28th.  The education funding legislation was still being worked until the final days.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent OT professionals in Olympia!  There was a lot to do, and there is a lot that remains to be done.

Best wishes,


VIEW 2019 End of Session Legislative Report

WOTACON 2019 Early Bird Registration

Early Bird Rate on now through Aug 31st 11:59pm

Conference is October 12 & 13 at Green River College in Auburn, WA
We decided to change things up this year a little…
Conference is on a SATURDAY and SUNDAY!

Members can save up to $125 by registering early!!

Green River College
12401 SE 320th St,
Auburn, WA 98092

Worried about where to stay?

Below are a few hotels that are close to the venue!

WOTACON 2019 Call for Papers

Call for Papers is now OPEN
DEADLINE to submit: June 1st at 11:59 pm
Submit your Call for Papers HERE

Are you interested in speaking at this year’s conference?

How about presenting a poster?

Have an Idea you have been sitting on and want to share with all of your OT friends (Students, OTAs and OTR’s)


We would love to have you and we are looking for any and all OT related ideas you may have!

Need an idea jump start?

  • Documentation
  • Hand Therapy
  • Fieldwork Educator
  • Industrial
  • Pediatric
  • Home Health
  • Mental Health
  • Emerging Practice
  • Assitive Technology
  • NBCOT/Fieldwork Advice for New Practitioners
  • Inter-professional Collaboration
  • Share the results of your Capstone Projects/Research with your peers

Or anything else OT related, we want to hear it all!  We encourage all students, OTAs, and OTR’s of all specialties to participate!

DEADLINE to submit: June 1st at 11:59 pm

Submit your Call for Papers HERE

Communities of Practice (CoP) Updates

Mental Health:

Governor Jay Inslee signed into law significant bills that provide sizable funding and a transformative plan to improve our mental health system to do the following:

Committee members are tracking results of workforce opportunities and barriers in OT in Behavioral Health (see the survey link on WOTA’s Facebook). Strategizing is underway to educate stakeholders on how occupational therapy can provide service in community settings, as well looking at ways to promote covered mental health service in other settings, i.e. SNF’s, schools.

NAMIWalks Washington WOTA Team (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Elaine Masarik-Williams will lead the WOTA Walking Team this year called WOTA Fun in Function

Please consider joining this team and/or to make a small donation to reach our goal of $250.00.

June 8th 8am at Mariner Park in Kirkland

Register Here 

Donate to WOTA Fun in Function Team Here

Secondary Transitions:

The Secondary Transition CoP continues to support members with facilitating change in their practice areas.  We continue to explore evidence based practices and other practice concerns for OTPs to use with this population to help clients meet transition goals as they move from high school to post-secondary occupations.

Currently, a group of members are working on a proposal for presentation at WOTA CON related to this practice area.  We are also looking for additional members who would be interested in facilitating these conversations.

If you are interested in contributing to the work of the Community of Practice, please contact Barbara Abbott at BabbsOT@gmail.com or Lucretia Berg at lucretiaberg@me.com.

Occupational Therapists in Schools (OTiS) Update:

Occupational Therapists in Schools (OTiS) is a special interest section for WOTA that was set up to help support therapists in school-based practice. Communities of Practice (CoPs): CoPs provide members with opportunities to collaborate and mentor each other while focusing on a practice-related topic. AOTA supports several pediatric CoPs including autism, literacy, early childhood, pediatric trauma, and school mental health. These national-level CoPs are open to OT practitioners who are members of AOTA. More information about AOTA’s CoPs is available at https://www.aota.org/Practice/Manage/SIS/communities-of-practice.aspx.

WOTA gathered information to several state-level CoPs at the 2018 WOTA Conference. We will be working to start the first 2-3 OTIS CoPs this summer. There already is a secondary transition CoP. If you are interested in joining this group, contact Barbara Abbott. Additionally, at the WOTA conference participants indicated interest in CoPs around Literacy, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), Leadership, Health Promotion and Early Childhood. If you were at conference and signed up to be involved, we will be contacting you this summer. If you were not at conference and would like to be involved, please send your contact information to Dottie or Yvonne and let us know which CoPs you are interested in. Additionally, there were other topic areas in which people indicated interest. We will be working on a strategy to address these topics.

AOTA Conference: Dottie and Yvonne were able to attend the AOTA annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana recently. Our conference experience was filled with useful courses, networking opportunities, technology labs, poster sessions and more for school-based therapists. Session topics included OT’s role in literacy, violence prevention, serving students impacted by trauma, advocacy for school-based practitioners, transition, and the Choosing Wisely initiative.

New Resource for School Practitioners: The second edition of the book Best Practices for Occupational Therapy in Schools was recently released. Like the first edition, this second edition promotes best practices in schools by providing practitioners with current, effective information to use in their daily practices. This comprehensive text expands on the first edition with 10 additional chapters and appendixes that provide resources for program evaluation, documentation, and evidence-based practices. Additional Resources for Early Childhood and School Practitioners. A best practices for early childhood occupational therapy is currently being written. It should be available in 2020. Also be sure to check out the free resources on www.everymomentcounts.org. Many of these resources support the role of the occupational therapist in MTSS service delivery.  Finally, a variety of resources regarding school-based practices for occupational therapists and consumers can be found on the AOTA website (https://www.aota.org/Practice/Children-Youth/School-based.aspx).

OTIS Listserv: The OTIS Listserv is a free service available to WOTA members. Listserv members can ask questions, discuss concerns, get updated about important state and federal legislation, and share information and resources with other school-based therapists across the state. OTIS meeting announcements are also provided via the listserv. To join the listserv, send your request along with your name and email address to intouch@wota.org. Ask OTIS: We welcome your questions about school-based practice. Questions can be submitted to the OTIS chairs by sending an email to the OTIS Listserv or to DHndlyMore@aol.com. Be sure to put “Ask OTIS” in the subject line of your email. If you have a creative solution to a problem you have encountered, please consider writing it up as an Ask OTIS article. Contact the OTIS chairs for more information. Submitted by OTIS Co-Chairs: Dottie Handley-More and Yvonne Swinth

WOTA Behavioral Health OTP Survey:

The WOTA Legislative Committee and WOTA Community of Practice group for Occupational Therapy in Behavioral Health would like your help to advocate for increased access to OT in behavioral health. Please help us gather data on the presence of Occupational Therapy Practitioners [OTP] (OTR, COTA) in behavioral health settings by completing a 3-question survey located at:

Thank you! Andrea Lynch, COTA/L on behalf of the WOTA Legislative Committee and the WOTA Community of Practice for Behavioral Health

WOTA StoryCorps

Diane Knoll

OK, WOTA- get ready to be inspired. If you have a career venture in mind that you haven’t yet gathered enough courage to try… maybe this will convince you to take a chance.

Diane Knoll grew up in Michigan.

She wasn’t sure what her career path would be, but she knew that she was creative and enjoyed science (sound familiar?). After she shadowed her sister-in-law who is an OT, Diane said, “Yeah, I could do that.”

After Diane completed OT school, she worked as an OT in CA, OR, IN, and eventually found her way to WA. She has worked in many practice areas including hospital-based OT, outpatient hand therapy, lymphedema management, school-based OT, and she currently works in a pediatric outpatient clinic in SODO, Seattle.

During her years working in pediatrics, Diane found a gap in resources for individuals with developmental delay after they aged out of special education services.

“As students with developmental disability approach the age of 21, their families start to panic. There aren’t a lot of job opportunities or program options for adults with developmental disabilities. I’ve always kept this in the back of my mind, so when I learned about Creative Growth which is a visual arts day program in Oakland, CA, I knew I wanted to find a similar program in Seattle to volunteer at. I was surprised to find there wasn’t a program of that type in the Seattle region. This was happening at a time in my life when I was looking for something new, something a more creative, so I got the idea to start Vibrant Palette.”

Now readers, if you’re like me, you might be thinking… I went to OT school to be an OT- not a business owner or administrator. I don’t have the skills to open my own business… I wouldn’t even know where to start!

Well, Diane didn’t either.

“Before Vibrant Palette, I had volunteered for a program called Rain City Rock Camp for Girls. The executive director had started this camp program without any formal training or formal education in management. When I started my journey with Vibrant Palette, the executive director of the camp mentored me and showed me the right path to go down. I put a lot of time and effort into learning about policies and procedures. I did a lot of research on how nonprofits work. This got me to a point where I felt I could do it, and I thought this is the one thing that if I didn’t at least try this, I’d always regret. I decided that I’d rather try and fail rather than never try and always wonder.”

Diane’s idea started in 2015. She researched, gathered a board of directors in 2016, spent a year planning and networking, and ultimately opened the doors to Vibrant Palette in 2017.

“It wasn’t an easy overnight thing, but we’re now open and alive.”

Vibrant Palette Arts Center is a fiscally sponsored project of CascadiaNow! whose mission is to cultivate a resilient and inclusive Pacific Northwest community.

“The mission of CascadiaNow! fits really well with ours. At Vibrant Palette we have a board of directors and an art instructor, I’ve been really lucky with timing in finding the right people to be a part of our team.”

Networking has been vital.

“There were groups that I wouldn’t have even considered reached out to if someone hadn’t mentioned it to me. For example: Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle. I wouldn’t have thought that Pratt would consider hosting a brand new program like Vibrant Palette, but Pratt’s executive director was great and now we rent a space there.”

“If you have an idea that you believe in, you can use your passion to convince other people to believe in it too! It’s a lot easier than you might think!”

How does Diane think Vibrant Palette is doing with providing programming options for individuals with developmental disabilities who have aged out of special education?

“We started with 2 artists in our program, and now we’re at 16 artists. Right now we’re only opened on Wednesdays. The program we are modeled after is open 5 days a week. We’d like to add a day, but it’s difficult to get the word out in this community. There’s not a great network for people after they’ve left the special education realm… at this point it’s really just word of mouth. Our first artist we got because his mom responded to a posting on Nextdoor, so you never know how you’re gonna meet people!”

Vibrant Palette artists can come on Wednesdays for the full 6-hour day or only for a few hours. Artists must be able to manage their own toileting and feeding or have a caregiver accompany them to assist with self-care needs. Some artists arrive via ACCESS transportation and others rely on private transportation. Vibrant Palette artists have the opportunity to showcase and sell their art during at least 3 art shows each year.

“This is a place where artists come to create art, these artists happen to have disabilities. Although I’ve made some referrals based on needs I’ve observed, I try not to act like a therapist at Vibrant Palette.”

That said, once an OT, always an OT.

“I find that I use a lot of behavior modification strategies. There are other things that come up as well. For example, one of our new artists came in and her power wheelchair couldn’t fit under the tables. So, we had to adapt her wheelchair seating and the environment so she could safely access her work surface.”

What’s on the horizon for Diane?

“I always have at least 5 ideas brewing in my mind. One idea that I recently started working on is addressing the lack of sensory diets and ongoing sensory integration in our clients’ lives as they get older. This is an area of need.”

WOTA- has this gotten you thinking… maybe I could too? Diane thinks you can, and she thinks there’s a need.

“I think there’s huge opportunity to develop programming for people as they transition out of special education. This requires entrepreneurship and out of the box thinking. Healthcare is trending to focus more on productivity levels… and some of the reasons we all got into therapy in the first place are being taken out of the equation. I think there are other ways we can give our unique perspective to the community.”

How can you support the Vibrant Palette community?

  1. Come to an art show! Vibrant Palette has art displayed at Sammamish City Hall until June 8th. Check out the artwork and maybe even buy a piece!
  2. Join Vibrant Palette’s annual fundraiser on October 5, 2019. Join Vibrant Palette’s newsletter for details.
  3. Volunteer: Vibrant Palette needs your volunteer support, particularly in the summer months.
  4. Join the Vibrant Palette board of directors! Interested? Contact diane@vibrantpalette.org

Diane has shared some images of Vibrant Palette artists and their art:

Photos by Gabrielle Lee

Thanks, Diane for all you do and for sharing your OT Story with us. You’re an asset to WOTA community and to the greater Seattle region!

WOTA’s excited to talk with YOU, too! If you’re interested in sharing your OT story, please contact Tammy Shorr at tkshorr@gmail.com.

hOT Topic

Curious about Executive Functioning in the context of early development as it relates to OT practice? Check out this wonderful blog series featured on:

Want to to add to the conversation and share advice with other members?

Follow up with your peers in WOTA’s new Pediatric Forum here:

OT Practice and Early Executive Functioning Discussion Board