Celebrating Occupational Therapy Week

Dr Lorna Wales

One of the objectives that Dr Carolyn Dunford (@DunfordCarolyn) set out in The Children’s Trust research strategy five years ago was to “establish a research culture ensuring delivery of evidence based interventions.”  #OTweek is a good time to celebrate the progress made in the occupational therapy team over the last year.  The main change this year has been a great reduction in arm twisting!  Occupational therapists now contact me unprompted with a range of requests from curiosities about the literature in particular topics to wanting to attend international events in order to network with clinicians in other countries who they now think of as colleagues. Publishing in a peer review journal is always seen as the holy grail.  This year Cheska Benford (@OT_Cheska) published “Use of powered mobility for a young adult with profound and multiple learning disabilities: a practice analysis” ; Alison Titchener has a manuscript under review (with Carolyn Dunford and myself as co-authors) and one of the students from Brunel University (Dalya Austin) has written with her tutor Tai Frater (@tai_the_ot), Carolyn Dunford and myself to publish “Measuring changes in functional ability in older children and young people with acquired brain injury using the UK FIM + FAM”.  All of these are/will be published in British Journal of Occupational Therapy.  Dr Carolyn Dunford has also published with a colleague Sally Nissen (and her supervisory team) Impaired mobility associated with an increased likelihood of death in children: a systematic review in Journal of Child Health Care. Carolyn and I have continued to review for academic journals and have examined an MSc and PhD, mentor occupational therapists pursuing clinical academic careers and supervise PhD students.  Colleagues attended the RCOT event with the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) in the summer and are considering pursuing further studies at MSc, MRes and even PhD level! The Children’s Trust has been delighted to welcome Melanie Burrough (@MelanieBurrough) in this last year who was already in the final stages of her MSc when she joined us, and Dr Miriam Crowe (@MCroweOT) who had recently completed PhD.   Carolyn is particularly proud of the new RCOT course which she developed and delivered with colleagues Benita Powrie and Karina Dancza; Essential skills for contemporary occupational therapy practice: children and young people is due to run again next year. I am particularly proud of obtaining two fellowship awards.  Firstly, the British Academy of Childhood Disability (BACD) Castang two-year fellowship which aims to develop future children’s neurodisability research leaders, and secondly a training fellowship to attend a one-week grant-writing working with the Consortium of Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) held in Nairobi last month.  A number of the occupational therapy team have presented their work in poster and oral presentations at national and international events this year and applications have been submitted to next year’s RCOT annual conference with SS-CYPF in Belfast.  They are now all Twitter active and benefitting from interacting with the OT profession on social media.  We are now writing the next 5-year research strategy and should go forward with great encouragement!
Lorna Wales - a research associate at The Children\'s Trust
Dr Lorna Wales (@WalesLorna)
Research Professional Lead