Submitted by STAR Admin on Thu, 08/17/2017 - 17:43
Executive Director
Virginia Spielmann, PhD, OTR/L (she/her)
ICDL Advisory Board, Colorado State University Affiliate Faculty, Salem State University Visiting Assistant Professor

Virginia Spielmann is an Occupational Therapist and the Executive Director of STAR Institute for Sensory Processing. She obtained her PhD in Infant and Early Childhood Development in August 2021 and is Visiting Adjunct Faculty at Salem State University Occupational Therapy Department, and Affiliate Faculty at Colorado State Department of Occupational Therapy. She is a published author, researcher, and well-travelled and masterful public speaker.

Dr. Spielmann delivered a TEDx Mile High (Denver, Co) talk in December 2021. She consults on television and other media projects; co-founded & authored the Critical Core therapeutic role-playing game; and co-developed the Palaana sensory lounger with SLACK Lifestyle.

Dr. Spielmann still actively provides direct occupational therapy services, mentors therapists and clinicians from around the world, and provides direct support to infant mental health and early childhood teams. Her extensive clinical experience includes autism, differences in sensory integration/processing, infant mental health, adoption, foster-care, developmental trauma, and physical disabilities. Dr Spielmann’s areas of special interest include professional reflection and reflective practice, neurodiversity affirming care, trauma informed care, and epistemologies and ontologies of health care.

Virginia is affiliate faculty at Colorado State University, Occupational Therapy Department and Visiting Assistant Professor at Salem State University.

Virginia has considerable post-graduate training, she is certified on the SIPT. She obtained her Ph.D. in Infant and Early Childhood Development with an emphasis on mental health, from Fielding Graduate University, in Santa Barbara (2021). Her Masters in Occupational Therapy from Mount Mary University, Milwaukee (2018) and her BSc in Occupational Therapy from Oxford Brookes University, England (2002).

She is a published author and contributed to the STAR Frame of Reference as part of the 4th Edition of Frames of Reference for Pediatric Occupational Therapy, alongside Dr. Miller and Dr. Schoen. 


  • Spielmann, V., Burke, H., McCulloch, S., Mason, A., & Lane, S. (2023). Linking sensory integration and processing with mental health in autism: a retrospective review of survey data. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 77:2, DOI: 10.5014/ajot.2023.050127
  • Lane, S. J., Leão, M. A., & Spielmann, V. (2022). Sleep, Sensory Integration/Processing, and Autism: A Scoping Review. Frontiers in Psychology, 13.
  • Spielmann, V., Leão, M. A., & Lane. S.J. (2022). Sensory Integration and Processing. Chapter 6. pp.93-121. In S.M. Edelson & J. Botsford Johnson (Eds.), Understanding and Treating Anxiety in Autism. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
  • Cameron Whiting, C., Ochsenbein, M., Schoen, S.A., & Spielmann, V. (2021) A Multi-Tiered and Multi-Dimensional Approach to Intervention in Schools: Recommendations for Children with Sensory Integration and Processing Challenges, Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention
  • Spielmann, V., Schoen, S., Parkins, M., (2022). Sensory Integration and DIR/Floortime – The STAR Frame of Reference. In E.I. Blanche, C. Giuffrida, M. Hallway, B. Edwards and L. Test (Eds.), Blending sensory integration intervention with other approaches in pediatric practice: A data-based approach to practice. New York: Taylor & Francis/Routledge
  • Clairy, K., Ochsenbein, M., Lynch, A., & Spielmann, V. (2021). Intersection of Trauma in Neurodivergent Populations. In A. K. Lynch, R. Ashcraft, & L. Tekell (Eds.), Trauma Informed Care in Occupational Therapy. Bethesda, Maryland: AOTA Press.
  • Davis, A. (co), Johns, A. (co), & Spielmann V., (2021). Critical Core – A Therapeutic Role-Playing Game. Seattle: Game to Grow.
  • Spielmann, V & Dishlip, C (2020). 20Q: Understanding Sensory Integration and
    Processing., Article 20387.
  • Spielmann, V. & Miller, L.J. (2020). Sensory integration and processing: Impact on anxiety in autism. In S.M. Edelson, and J.B. Johnson (Eds.), Understanding and treating anxiety in autism.  London: Jessica Kingsley Press. 
  • Miller, L. J., Chu, R. C., Parkins, M., Spielmann, V. A., & Schoen, S. A. (2020). The STAR process: An overview. In A. C. Bundy & S. J. Lane (Eds.), Sensory Integration: Theory and Practice (3 ed., pp. 578-585). Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company.
  • Spielmann, V. (2020). The Interplay of Regulation, Relationships and Sensory Processing: Impact on Function and Participation. SensorNet, Sensory Integration Education News, UK, 55: January 2020
  • Spielmann, V., & Porter, L. M. (2019). Model of Imposed Adaptation in Childhood Learning Environments—Application to Autism. A precarious game of developmental Jenga. Autism and Developmental Disorders, 17(2), 18–33.
  • Schoen, S. A., Einck, C., Spielmann, V., Valdez, A., & Miller, L. J. (2019). A Trampoline Group: Feasibility, Implementation, and Outcomes. Autism and Developmental Disorders, 17(2), 58–86.
  • Schoen, S. A., Spielmann, V., & Miller, L. J. (2019). Introduction to Sensory Integration Methods in Autism. In E. M. Sokhadze & M. F. Casanova (Eds.), Autism Spectrum Disorder: Neurofeedback and Sensory Integration Approaches to Research and Treatment (pp. 253–283). Murfreesboro, TN: Foundation for Neurofeedback & Neuromodulation Research (FNNR) and BMED Press.
  • Miller, L. J., Schoen, S. A., & Spielmann, V. (2019). A Frame of Reference for Sensory Processing Difficulties: Sensory Therapies and Research (STAR). In P. Kramer, J. Hinojosa, & T.-H. Howe (Eds.), Frames of Reference for Pediatric Occupational Therapy (4th ed., pp. 159–204). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.
  • Hollenbeck, J., Spielmann, V., & Miller, L. J. (2019). Motor Skills to Enhance Participation. In G. J. Frolek Clark, J. E. Rioux, & B. E. Chandler (Eds.), Best Practices for Occupational Therapy in Schools (2nd Ed, pp. 473–480). AOTA Press
  • Spielmann, V. (2018). How does implementing reflective practice in a multi-disciplinary team impact treatment provision from a dynamic systems perspective? In Zero to Three.