Kara Gibson is the director of pediatric services and an occupational therapist. Over the past eight years at Heartspring, she has used her unique experience, knowledge and education to better serve children and their families in Heartspring’s Residential School and outpatient Pediatric Services. In her current role, she oversees ensuring children and families are provided specialized and comprehensive outpatient therapy through research and evidence-based interventions.
Kara began her work at Heartspring in the school where she spent five years working on multidisciplinary teams to implement effective intervention plans for students. She was an integral team member in establishing specialized student programs including Caffeine Connection and toothbrush video modeling. Kara was on the development team of creating a multidiscipline data collection system, which has increased accuracy and guides programming for increased skill development for Heartspring students. In addition, she served as an ambassador in our international outreach program, traveling throughout China to train parents, teachers and government leaders on best practices for children and young adults impacted by autism.
Kara’s next challenge was as an occupational therapist in Pediatric Services. There she expanded her caseload and gained more experience. After a few years, Kara was promoted to the assistant director of Pediatric Services. In her first year, she has expanded programing to serve additional children who are deaf and hard of hearing and extended delivery of speech therapy services into the home and community environment. Her work in her new leadership posistion earned her a promotion to director of pediatric services. Her current endeavors entail developing a comprehensive measurable outcome data plan for each Pediatric Service discipline and broadening collaborative learning opportunities with university departments and students.
Prior to her time at Heartspring, Kara designed and implemented interventions for individuals across the lifespan in acute care, inpatient rehab, skilled nursing and public school settings. Kara has specialized training in a number of different areas including a Fieldwork Educator Certificate, Handwriting Without Tears, Structured teaching, administrator of the TTAP and the interactive metronome.
Kara earned a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Studies and a Master in Occupational Therapy from the University of Kansas. In her free time, Kara enjoys running, sailing with family and friends and chanting the Rock Chalk chant at KU basketball games.