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OT Abroad

Sensory Special

Mental Health

Crossing the Atlantic to see how OTs do it in the USA

Exploring the rich world of sensory integration

The Mental Health Series looks at stress


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introducing the new...

Standard Features and Options OPTIONAL 40o Centre of gravity Power Tilt. 42 Stone 9lbs Weight Capacity

Synergy Seating

42.9 Stone

Contoured Seating

Weight Capacity

Kevin Atkins Senior Quantum Area Manager

An expert in design and manufacturing, Quantum® Rehab are proud to announce the release of another innovative solution to their bariatric range of power chairs; the Quantum 1450.

Based on a front wheel drive design and offering a maximum user weight limit of 42 Stone 9lbs, the Q1450 provides exceptional manoeuvrable with a turning radius of 26.5”. Options included Synergy® seating, Contoured seating and TRU-Balance® 2 HD Power tilt, which also has a user weight limit of 42 Stone 9lbs. The maximum seat size available is also an impressive 32” wide x 28” deep. Kevin Atkins, Senior Quantum Sales Manager, commented on the positive feedback he and his team have received: “We’ve only had the Q1450 in the UK for a month, and the amount of requests for demonstrations and assessments in this short time has been amazing”. He continued on the innovation of Quantum: “Quantum are known throughout the industry as innovators, and the Q1450 is definitely a product that continues this trend”.

We’ve only had the Q1450 in the UK for a month, and the amount of requests for demonstrations and assessments in this short time has been amazing.

Quantum® dedicated to being the premier global innovator...

For further information, please contact our head office or your local Quantum Specialist.

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26/06/2017 10:11 11:16 26/05/2017

About us The Team

Editor: Lisa Mitchell Staff Writer: Colette Carr Staff Writer: Niki Tennant Designer: Stephen Flanagan Marketing: Sophie Scott Sales: Robin Wilson Sales: Stuart Henderson Contributors: Kate Sheehan, Dawn Blenkin, Adam Ferry, Paul Aitken, Adam Bernstein, Alison Double

Get in touch

2A Publishing Ltd, Caledonia House, Evanton Dr, Thornliebank Industrial Estate, Glasgow, G46 8JT 0141 465 2960 The OT Magazine @ot_magazine


The OT Magazine is published by 2A Publishing Limited. The views expressed in the OT Magazine are not necessarily the views of the editor or the publisher. Reproduction in part or in whole is strictly prohibited without the explicit written consent of the publisher. Copyright 2017 © 2A Publishing Limited. All Rights Reserved. ISSN-2056-7146

This month’s issue... ummer is finally here! We hope that you are all planning to et set off to some exotic and fabulous destinations over the next few months to soak up some rays and some culture. All the while having a few cocktails to congratulate yourselves on all your hard work since the new year and to re uvenate yourselves, preparing for the busy months to come. ou deserve it. But, if you haven’t booked up to go anywhere, don’t fret, he aga ine is here to help. We take a trip to talk to our cousins across the pond, courtesy of the A A, to discuss the differences in practicing in the U A. ead more on how the American’s take on paediatric and cancer care rehabilitation on page . America is also famed for the glit and glamour of ollywood. he starlets of the silver screen would strike a pose on the red carpet and recite the well-known lines such as “ rankly my dear, I don’t give a

damn” and “ ere’s looking at you, kid”, when the golden age of film was at its peak in the early th century. As a massive cinema fan, I am delighted to include a feature on the classics and their place within care homes and treatment of older adults. ead all about it on page . Also inside this issue we focus on the sub ects of intelligence, insurance, lecturing and even knitting. In con unction with our sensory-themed paediatrics section, this is set to be our most diverse edition yet. I sincerely hope you en oy all of it, cover to cover.

...inside this issue we focus on the subjects of intelligence, insurance, lecturing and even knitting.”

If you would like to discuss any of the features or products further, we would love to hear from you. ust email

The OT Magazine, Acting Editor

Subscribe See

today Call 0141 465 2960 or visit

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to subscribe

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17 27


07 What’s New?

Bringing you up to speed with all the latest news from the healthcare sector

15 #RebelOTs

Kate Sheehan urges OTs to stop conforming

17 Rosie Robinson

Rosie’s OT invites us to celebrate her life through her art

20 Product Focus

The latest must-have products on the market

25 A Day in The Life Of…

Mersey Care OT, Claire Jolley, talks us through a typical day


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27 Mental Health

The seventh instalment of our mental health series focuses on stress

30 Children’s IQ

Paul Aitken discusses how everyone can be intelligent

34 Homeworkers’ Insurance

Adam Bernstein explains the importance of insurance

37 Product Focus

More innovative products to aid independent living

40 Flicking Through

45 Knit Your Way to Happiness

Have you tried knitting therapy?

50 Sensory Diets

How can an improved sensory diet aid your young clients?

54 Kids’ Products These sensory products could improve the lives of younger patients

the Memories

ow classic films are helping older adults in care homes connect

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65 What does it take to become a lecturer?

Looking for a

new job 74

58 Under the Canopy

Tree Tops’ Dawn Dunn on the importance of sensory integration

62 Sensory Companies

A selection of the UK’s sensory-focused equipment and installation companies

65 Clinic to Classroom Have you ever thought of becoming a lecturer?

70 Bio-Magnetic Therapy A placebo or a force to be reckoned with?

73 Learning in a Digital Era

Dawn Blenkin on how digital technology can help with your studies

75 OT Abroad – America We learn how different OT can be across the Atlantic

79 Final Year Checklist

Are you prepared for your last year as a student?

80 Find Events for You

Upcoming events for a jampacked 2017 www.

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What’s new? We explore what’s happening in the healthcare sector, from new products and services to inspirational stories.

Helen Dolphin is new ambassador for Autochair Helen Dolphin MBE, Autochair’s new brand ambassador, on getting mobile. Vehicle adaptation specialist, Autochair, is working with independent mobility consultant, disability rights campaigner and quadruple amputee, Helen Dolphin MBE, on a new UK-wide education campaign. Helen, 42, who lost her hands and legs following a late diagnosis of meningitis at the age of 22, is working with the Derby-based mobility specialists to raise awareness of the freedom, exibility and functionality of travel available for disabled drivers and passengers. Helen’s own determination to resume independence following her devastating illness saw her use an Autochair hoist to first get back behind the wheel in 1999. The campaign will combine Autochair’s manufacturing excellence with Helen’s disability lifestyle awareness to highlight the broader issues surrounding mobility and educate on the scale of solutions available. Helen Dolphin MBE, said: “It was because of Autochair’s technology that I was able to become more mobile all those years ago – which makes this a perfect partnership for me because I know the difference their products make to people with disabilities who want to establish or maintain their independence.

“I’m looking forward to to offering my advice and expertise to the Autochair team whose desire to really make a difference comes from their founder’s own experience of living with a disability – and his innovative solution which launched the Autochair hoists we see today. Our plans include increasing awareness of the challenges and solutions available to those living with disability on a daily basis which is something I can add real value to.” She added: “I’m absolutely delighted to be a part of the next chapter in this exciting and important Autochair story.” Autochair is a supplier and manufacturer of vehicle adapation products established in by David Walker, whose own disability and determination to live an independent life resulted in creating hoists to make car travel easy and accessible for disabled drivers or passengers. Jules Allen, Autochair sales and marketing director, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Helen on a long-term basis. his is our first step in working more closely with the wider mobility community through partnerships, training and a number of

Genetic link to anorexia Anorexia nervosa is caused by faulty genes linked to neuroticism and schizophrenia, according to new research carried out by North Carolina University. he findings add to evidence that the eating disorder is a mental illness. The breakthrough

could lead to new treatments for anorexia nervosa, which has the highest death rate for any psychiatric condition. The eating disorder affects one in 25 women at some point in their lives. An analysis of more than 14,000 people showed those who

special events. “As a company we are constantly adapting our communications tools and our range of equipment and vehicle adaptation devices. We are really looking forward to involving elen in our future developments and working with her to engage with the wider mobility community. This is an exciting step in the evolution of our business and communications and one which we expect will benefit all of our current and future partners.” The Autochair range includes UKmanufactured wheelchair and scooter hoists with a capacity of up to 200kg, person lifts which can transfer people from wheelchair to car seat for use at home, work and on holiday and an innovative transfer plate that gives passengers and drivers a stable transfer platform. or more information on Autochair visit

have the condition have mutated DNA on a particular chromosome. he University’s rofessor Cynthia Bulik explained “Anorexia nervosa was significantly genetically correlated with neuroticism and schizophrenia, supporting the idea that it is indeed a psychological illness.”


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NEW? NEW OT TOOLKIT Public Health England (PHE) and the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has published ‘Everyday Interactions’ - a report which aims to support healthcare professionals to record and measure their public health impact. The report and toolkit were developed in close collaboration with representative bodies and individuals working in the professional groups at which it is aimed, Allied Health Professionals, pharmacy and dental staff. It was also informed by a national survey of healthcare professionals and input from an expert advisory group. he findings from the survey of healthcare professionals showed that the majority (70%) believe protecting and promoting the public’s health is important. Despite this, fewer than 1 in 5 (19%) currently measure the public health impact of their day to day work. he main barriers to collecting, recording and collating data from public health interventions included time, capacity and training. Based on the public health priorities identified by ublic Health England’s All Our Health framework including obesity, alcohol and smoking, the toolkit provides healthcare professionals with means to record and collate their work so it makes an impact. In addition to the report, RSPH has also developed a free e-learning package for healthcare professionals to provide them with an easy to use guide. he report along with access to the e-learning is available


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CareFlex sponsors Cambridge OT CareFlex is very proud to be the main sponsor of Cambridge University Hospital-based occupational therapist, Katie Peers, who will be cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats in September 2017 raising money for The Prince’s Trust which helps young people get into employment and out of difficult times. Speaking to The OT Magazine, Katie said: “Back in the winter of 2016, I found myself at a bit of a loose end, no particular plans, no particular focus. I was feeling the effects of the shorter days and the darker gloomier weather. I needed to do something that would pick me up from the apparent rut I was in. “I have always been a keen cyclist, with annual sportives (non-competitive cycling events), and have completed many over the years. ondon to Cambridge, xford to Cambridge, and usually for charity. he furthest distance I’d achieved was just under miles. I had also recently been on a cycling holiday in France, which had re-ignited my cycling passion. “So I searched for another cycling holiday, and it was then that my searches evolved and I came across the Deloitte Ride Across Britain AB . I was nervous about the distance - just shy of 1000 miles, in only nine days. I also would need to raise a minimum of for a charity of my choice. he

partner charity for the event is The Prince’s Trust, and having read up on their fantastic work for young people, I decided that was who I would cycle for. Alongside my job as an occupational therapist, recognising the value of engagement in meaningful and purposeful activities, I will be helping others to achieve their potential. I am fortunate enough to have a well-supported life. The Prince’s Trust helps support the less fortunate. “I put the word out that I am doing this huge challenge for charity, and friends and family were more than supportive; they had more faith in me than I did! I asked around for sponsorship and was so very delighted when CareFlex offered to be my main sponsor, recognising the work of The Prince’s Trust, and my role as an occupational therapist, plus the enormous challenge ahead. Care lex have been very encouraging along my journey so far, and I will be looking out for them as I complete day one of the RAB through Cornwall and into Devon in eptember . “My sponsorship page is www. if you would like to sponsor me - every pound raised helps me to keep the pedals turning.” We will catch up with Katie after her mammoth cycle to see how she got on.

Get online with The OT app...

At The OT Magazine we are always looking for new ways to develop your favourite occupational therapy magazine. Out every two months, the app features all the latest products, in-depth features, industry news, personal profiles and up-to-date information on events and exhibitions that you find in the magazine but you can download it to your mobile phone or tablet to read on the go. The app is available free of charge and can be downloaded now and read at your leisure.

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NEW? INVACARE’S IMPETUS COURSE ACHIEVES COT ENDORSEMENT Invacare is pleased to announce its Impetus training course has been officially endorsed by the College of Occupational Therapists. This highly successful course offers Invacare retailers and healthcare professionals core skills and competencies in assessing and prescribing wheelchairs to clients. “We are delighted that Impetus has once again achieved the COT accreditation. It’s a re ection of our ongoing commitment to quality and service excellence in supporting our customers with valuable content that will benefit them in their day to day work,” commented Melanie Scrivener, Marketing and Communications, Invacare Ltd. Impetus is presented by an experienced occupational therapist and aims to improve candidates’ knowledge of products, seating, posture and disabling conditions

to help select the most suitable products to meet patients’ needs. The course offers comprehensive clinical skills for wheelchair assessment and prescription in a beneficial learning environment. Impetus forms part of a wider training academy available from Invacare. The Invacademy training programme offers a comprehensive selection of courses and forms part of Invacare’s continued commitment to understanding and improving the expertise within its markets. Invacademy is a well reputed resource providing a variety of educational courses encompassing product, technical and clinical training aimed at Invacare’s retailers, rehabilitation engineers, occupational therapists, as well as clinicians and healthcare professionals in managing and improving the care of their clients. For more information, please visit or call the marketing team on 01656 776283.

We are delighted that Impetus has once again achieved the COT accreditation.

SPIDER technology offers speed and improved accuracy With the new SPIDER Smart PhotoImaging Measurement Technology, orthotists and patients will benefit from a seamless electronic fitting and ordering process for one of Ottobock’s most popular orthotic solutions the FreeWalk. Ottobock has developed a digital ordering process and calibration kit for the FreeWalk. Known as the SPIDER, it allows orthotists to instantly capture and send a patient’s measurements using just a smartphone, guaranteeing greater speed, ease and precision. After simply capturing a few anatomical landmarks of a patient’s leg, the orthotist will be able to send the

images and data to a secure, NHSapproved email address. Once the information is received, the team at Ottobock’s UK manufacturing facility in Minworth will create a trial orthosis tailored to the patient. The FreeWalk is a stance controlled Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis (KAFO) system targeted on central nervous system disorders and diseases affecting the peripheral nervous system. It is a complete system that is made-to-measure, switching between a locked and an unlocked knee joint to offer consistent stability for easy and confident movement.

New home for dementia patients Work starts on new ‘dementia-friendly’ home Construction of a new ‘dementia-friendly’ home aimed at learning how better to support those living with the condition will begin on the British Research Establishment (BRE) Innovation Park in Watford this autumn. The 100sqm Victorian house will be adapted to cater for different types and stages of the debilitating illness and is aimed at allowing people to live independently by addressing their day-to-day needs. The tailored features of the converted terraced house have been designed by researchers from Loughborough University and building science centre BRE. Once complete, it will act as a show home and give developers, care providers and families an opportunity to learn about better ways to equip a home to help people with dementia. The converted building’s features will include: clear lines of sight and colour-coded paths through the home; increased natural light; noise reduction; simple switches and heating controls. The £300,000 demonstration house is based on the ‘design for dementia principals’ previously developed by Dr Rob McDonald and Bill Halsall at Liverpool John Moores University.


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Palliative care specialist wins Cosyfeet OT Award professional knowledge and skills Gillian Walker, an occupational while benefitting others. he award therapist at Northern Ireland is open to those who are planning Hospice, Belfast, has won this voluntary work, a work placement year’s Cosyfeet OT Award. The or research, whether in the UK or £1000 award will help fund a abroad. pioneering project to increase falls awareness among Day “We’re delighted to assist Gillian Hospice patients, and among staff, in her vital provision of falls volunteers and families who assist awareness education at Northern them. Ireland Hospice,” says Cosyfeet The award money will be used managing director, Andrew Peirce. by the OT team to create and “Falls awareness is such a huge promote interactive sessions of issue for us in the UK at the present benefit to day patients with life time. For day hospice patients, limiting conditions such as cancer, preserving QOL through effective COPD and MND, many of whom falls prevention measures is of key are at great and increasing risk importance.” NI Hospice OTs (left to right) Patricia Hutchinson, Gillian Walker and Anne Adams of falls. Such patients are often Cosyfeet was the first British referred to day hospice having company to make shoes for people with received no falls prevention education. interactive, encouraging group discussion swollen feet. More than 30 years on they and peer support,” says Gillian. “A range of The planned sessions will cover key areas still offer the biggest range of extra roomy equipment will be available for people to including home safety, foot care, footwear, shoes, socks and hosiery on the market. try, such as walking aids, chair raisers, leg safe mobilisation, eye sight, equipment 11,000 health professionals recommend lifters, long handled aids and specialist and adaptations within the home, how to Cosyfeet products to their patients. For footwear. ” get up from a fall, exercise and community more information email prof@cosyfeet. services. An information pack will be The sessions will be evaluated using or call 01458 447275. provided to consolidate learning and to patient surveys, with the resulting For more information about the facilitate sharing of information with information being used to improve future Cosyfeet OT Award see family and carers. practice. The Cosyfeet OT Award assists “We plan to make the sessions lively and OTs and OT students to develop their

The Sequal Trust helps disabled people communicate


he Sequal Trust is a national charity which fundraises to provide communication aids for disabled people of all ages throughout the UK with speech, movement or severe learning difficulties. hese disabilities include; autism, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, muscular dystrophy, motor neurone disease, stroke, cancer, disabilities acquired through serious injury or accident and many more. Sequal Trust aims to help change people’s lives by supplying them with augmentative speech aids, especially for individuals who cannot afford to purchase such vital equipment and for when local health authorities are unable to help. Anyone who would benefit from the help of Sequal Trust and has a low disposable income can apply for assistance from the charity in gaining access to communication aids provided. You can apply for such assistance either personally, through a friend or family member or by referral from speech and language or special needs tutors.


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Healthcare professionals will be asked to supply an assessment of need within any referral made to the charity. Once a fundraising campaign has been launched for an individual and proved successful, the equipment is provided on a life long loan basis with Sequal remaining responsible for all necessary repairs and upgrades for the life of each particular device. If and when an item becomes out dated or no longer viably repairable, Sequel Trust will then campaign again to provide a replacement aid. Membership of the Sequal Trust means lifelong help and support. Whilst NHS services can offer help in many ways, not all requirements can be met for one reason or another, and Sequal is a charity which exists to step in and fill the void; offering a service which will change peoples lives for the better, by providing augmentative speech aids to children and adults who are prevented from expressing their thoughts and feelings or who are perhaps housebound and socially restricted. Since 1969, Sequal has worked to promote

independence and self-help for individuals with many different types of disability, providing assistance in equipment from iPads with specialised software or eye operated systems with wheelchair mounts which cost over £12,000 and every device in aiding speech or social interaction. With the use of these aids it is possible to stimulate learning, independence and reduce the sense of isolation so often experienced by those who are unable to ‘speak’ for themselves. Sequal does not receive any statutory funding, relying solely on donations. If any individual or organisation can support the Sequal Trust in their vital work, whether that be with the gift of money or know of anyone in need of the charity’s assistance, please call 01691 624 222 or visit where you can read more about Sequal’s work within the disability community and also view a short animated film showing how such devices can be life changing, in ‘Setting Lively Minds Free’.

26/06/2017 15:46

’ g n u h l l a Helpful ‘w s n o i t u l o s g n i toilet



Quality • Service • Heritage Tel: 0800 374 076 Email: Adverts_OT-Iss16.indd 11

26/06/2017 11:18





Get online with the OT app... At The OT Magazine we are always looking for new ways to develop your favourite occupational therapy magazine. Out every two months, the app features all the latest products, in th at s in st n ws s nal ďŹ l s an t at in mati n n nts an hi iti ns that ďŹ n in the magazine but you can download it to your mobile phone or tablet to read on the go. The app is available free of charge and can be downloaded now and read at your leisure.

The app in numbers...

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4,963 app downloads

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The new Serene chair


More than comfort


he Serene Chair has been in the making for the last four years with countless design meetings, alongside occupational therapists, physiotherapists and engineers to create a chair that is both unique and innovating, for their specific demographics. he mission was to deliver a chair that ticked those boxes when dealing with pressure, mobility, support and comfort. hey took on board both the carer and the patient’s perspective and their opinions, resulting in the exciting and unique Serene Chair. he erene Chair was designed with a wide range of clients in mind, taking into consideration adjustability, manoeuvrability, transfers and especially financial budget. he chair For more information visit comes in two sizes, adult and paediatric, and are both modular To book a free demonstration and size adjustable to or assessment email suit a range of ages and si es.


HEIGHT-ADJUSTABLE ARM RESTS: his has been designed to suit the user and their surroundings. he arms can be dropped to fit under a standard dining room table or be dropped in line with the seat cushion making transfers easier.


INDEPENDENT ADJUSTABLE BACK: he Serene back rest is unique in comparison to other chairs the back rest is completely exible as there is not a solid back base plate. his allows the back to contour to the user’s profile which will provide lateral support. Coupled with height and depth adjustable lateral inserts the Serene will offer support for even the most complex of postures.


CUSTOMISABLE SEATING: Aiding Ability offer a range of seat cushion shapes, which all use a new patented foam for optimal pressure relief and pelvic stability. Different hip supports are available externally or built within the seat cushion. he back is laterally adjustable to support/correct wind sweeping and to aid in pelvic alignment.

How does the chair affect each part of the body?


MODULAR HEAD CUSHIONS: An option of three standard head cushions attach via a height and angle ad ustable fastening. • Butter y ffers comfort and lateral stability • Curve Ideal for kyphotic postures • illow tandard head pillow for optimal comfort


MODULAR BACK CUSHIONS: An option of three standard back support cushions attach via Velcro tabs, allowing an optimal position to support the user. • Waterfall verlaying three cushions, one for head, one for the mid-back and one for the lumbar • orseshoe his offers a sufficient lumbar role coupled with lateral support • Bridge his offers a curved back rest, coupled with higher, deeper lateral supports


INDEPENDENT ELEVATING AND FIXED LEG RESTS: Leg rests are expandable, individually fully elevating and ad ustable. his also offers a negative legrest angle to accommodate contractures in the knees. An optional pommel or knee support can be added to accommodate abduction or adduction.


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was extremely fortunate to attend the College of Occupational Therapists conference this week and attend a number of sessions, which inspired and engaged me.

However there was one that has particularly resonated and made me re ect more on my own attitude to my practice. Heather Davidson from the University of Salford delivered a critical discourse on, occupational therapy – a cause without a rebel – contemporary review. I chose the session as there was ‘rebel’ in the title and as I have been described as one on a number of occasions during my career, I was keen to hear the presentation. Heather presented us with a BJOT opinion piece written by Lionel Joyce in December 1993. In it, Joyce used words and sentences that described our profession as ‘exuding femininity’, ‘steady’, ‘compliant’ and ended the introduction with ‘the idea of radical occupational therapists operating anarchically like radical midwives, with their own commitment and philosophy to change service delivery, seems farfetched to the point of farce’. Joyce goes on to challenge our profession by stating that mental health services are filled with s doing endless permutations of art, relaxation, counselling or training but not in his opinion what we should do which is ‘productive activity and leisure’ or ‘education and vocational training services’. He ends by saying there are no rebels

in occupational therapy, only ‘happy, smiling conformists’ wanting to offend no one. Heather explained that this opinion piece had had a profound effect on her practice to date and is still in uencing her doctoral research, even though the article is 25 years old.

“ WE NEED TO REBEL AS A PROFESSION AND WORK WITH OUR CLIENTS SO THEY CAN DEFINE THEIR INDIVIDUAL GOALS... “ During the session she challenged us on how the article made us feel, whether his words described the profession we knew and worked in. The discussions kept coming back to purposeful occupation for the individual and that you can not restrict practice to narrow pre described intervention such as ‘productive activity and leisure’, ‘education and vocational training services’ or fit clients into set ridged service provision, but to look at what will actually meet your client goals. We need to rebel as a profession and work with our clients so they can define their individual goals and provide our client centred services that are exible and adaptable to meet those goals and not be dictated to by restrictive medical or budgetary models of practice. We have to rebel and put occupation back at the centre of our professional practice.

However rebelling can come in many forms. Yes it can include shouting from the roof tops or standing with a placard, but it can also mean a quiet, evidence based revolution where all occupational therapists challenge the status quo and develop services that put occupation at the centre of client intervention. Heather told us she had recently contacted Lionel Joyce and discussed his article. He said he still felt that occupational therapy still was a cause without a rebel, after 25 years this is very painful to hear. So lets stop being compliant, steady, conforming and become #rebelOTs or even #OTrebels and meet the needs of our clients though purposeful occupation.


Kate is director of The OT Service. The company provides high quality advice, consultancy and training to manufacturers, retailers and service providers. It also provides occupational therapy clinical services in housing and equipment to case managers, solicitors and private individuals via their handpicked network of occupational therapists. For more information email



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26/06/2017 16:01

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26/06/2017 16/05/2017 11:19 15:27


A unique of a vision


unique life T

alented artist Rosemary ‘Rosie’ Robinson expressed her love for her family, friends, home and surrounding mid-Wales countryside through her vibrant artwork. When she passed away peacefully in November last year at the age of 58, her large portfolio – which she lovingly created over 15 years – was to become her legacy. Occupational therapy technical instructor Martin Ellacott, a member of the Montgomeryshire Learning Disabilities Team, had been working with Rosie to prepare a ‘life story’ book for her. Due to Rosie’s failing health, he didn’t get to complete this work – but he did get to see her remarkable portfolio of drawings. “I fell in love with them,” explained Martin, “and this led to the idea of showing them in a posthumous

exhibition to celebrate her life and work.” Rosie’s work, which was on display at the library in Newtown Powys for several weeks, drew praise and appreciation not only from the local community, but from acclaimed artists. Community artist Ingrid Maugham spent more than a decade working with Rosie at Leighton Day Centre in Welshpool Powys. She recognised Rosie’s talent and joy for drawing and encouraged her to express herself through art. osie’s work is firmly focused on her family, her home in Trefnant and the surrounding landscape. Ingrid would encourage Rosie to depict her greatest loves: dancing and singing, holidays, the garden, countryside and spending precious time with family and friends. “Rosie’s home and family were most important to her and they appear in most of her pictures.  www.

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In celebration of artist

“Her family and friends are strongly stylised images and unique to Rosie,” explained Ingrid. “Also, repeated in many of the pictures are the round-shaped hills that surround her home in Trefnant.” Ingrid, who thoroughly enjoyed working alongside Rosie, would ensure she had the right materials and a creative environment for drawing. Rosie, she says, worked with good concentration for up to two hours, often while listening to music. She had a natural feel for colour and Ingrid encouraged her to experiment with mixing colours, resulting in the vibrant complex tones that are a strong feature of her pictures. Ingrid also suggested that Rosie use strong black outlines and this produced the forceful, dynamic movement that is also a feature of her art. Ingrid says it’s no surprise that Rosie, who was proud to win an art competition, was highly praised for her work. American-born artist and singer songwriter Jeb Loy Nichols, who moved to Brecon in the 1980s, says the paintings and drawings of Rosie Robinson are “remarkable for the richness and subtleties of the experience they relate.” In an expression of admiration, he commented: “Each line, each circle, each group of people is carefully and pleasingly considered. “To call Rosie’s work naïve or primitive



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is to miss the point. Her art derives from a carefully observed life. The visual vocabulary she uses is both consistent and surprising. These aren’t arbitrary images thrown together in a spare moment. They are the work of someone in control of their language. “The language she employs may be different from that used by a traditionally schooled artist, but the work produced is no less insightful. They tell a distinct and welcome story. “These paintings are about place, family, work, play; about life. They are what good art aspires to be: a unique vision of a unique life.” Rosie, says Martin Ellacott, drew and painted because she loved it. “Her work wasn’t strictly ‘art therapy,’ but we know she expressed her love for her family, friends, home and surrounding countryside through her art,” he observed. “She derived pleasure from this expression and as such it was very therapeutic for her.” The power of the arts to help people who have learning disabilities express and fulfil themselves, says I Martin, cannot be underestimated. His team hope that in their practice they can develop an art group with the support of local artists and organisations. He continued: “We want to enable more of our service users to experience making art and hopefully gain the same pleasure and fulfilment that Rosie did with her work.”



Rosie’s family pays tribute Rosie Robinson was born on July 15 1958 at Welshpool Hospital. She enjoyed a happy childhood growing up in upper Trefnant Maesmawr with her three brothers. Rosie attended three schools: Cyfronydd School, followed by Robert Owen in Newtown and then Leighton base in Forden. It was in Leighton base, working with staff and community artist Ingrid Maugham, that she produced the pictures featured in the exhibition. Throughout her life, she enjoyed cooking, dancing, holidays, pop music, drawing – and, most of all, butter ies. In Rosie’s eyes, the world was pink: her favourite colour. Rosie enjoyed her life at Tan-Y-Dderwen Forden, where she met many new friends who miss her greatly. Rosie was a very special and unique person. Everybody she met fell in love with her because of her wonderful personality. On November 24 2016, Rosie passed away peacefully, aged 58.

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Product focus


product reviews

Do you have an innovative product you think we should feature? If so, get in touch! Contact us at

Neck Cushion & Massager Prices from: £26.34 Providing comfort both in the home and while traveling, this neck cushion and massager is filled with micro-foam beads that contour to the shape of the neck, providing comfort and stability while relaxing the muscles. Additionally, the massager can also be used to reduce tension giving off gentle vibrations.

Complete Care Shop 03330 160 000

Culinaire One Touch Can Opener Prices from: £12.95 Suitable for clients with limited hand mobility or functioning, this opener cleanly, quickly and safely open cans and tins at the press of a button. With one touch to start and another to stop, this simple and safe product increases kitchen independence and features a safe lid disposal system. Also ideal for people with weak wrists, it can open cans up to 153mm in diameter.

Ability Superstore 0800 255 0498 or 0161 850 0884

Ultralite Finger Yokes Price: £13 his pack of finger yokes can help a client carry out daily tasks through finger in ury. Used singularly or in pairs, these help stabilise the fore finger and can be used with a pen, brush, cutlery and other daily ob ects. he ultralite nature also ensures no strain is placed on the finger ensuring further comfort while carrying out tasks.

Ability Superstore 0800 255 0498 or 0161 850 0884



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26/06/2017 12:53

SuperPole and SuperBar Prices available on request The Healthcraft SuperPole is a safety pole that can be easily installed between any oor and solid ceiling by simply turning a jackscrew. The pressure created by the jackscrew is strong enough to support you, yet it does not typically require drilling holes into the oor or ceiling. his is ideal for relocating the pole or if it is only to be used for a limited time. It features a grip that provides comfort and an improved surface to grab onto, all this in a clean modern design that blends into any room. With the addition of the SuperBar, the SuperPole transforms into an even more versatile product with both horizontal and vertical support. With eight locking positions around the SuperPole you can stay closer to your support as you move. Push, pull or lean on the horizontal SuperBar, it offers support that is tailored to your needs.

SK Handling | 07957 447435

Portable Handy Bar Prices from: £22.95 This small aid is ideal for patients who are regularly in and out of cars. Fitting to the door bracket, it provides a stable support for those leaving or getting into a car at an easy to reach height. The soft but non-slip grip provides comfort, ease, security and safety when gripping it and fits in glove boxes. Compatible with most cars.

Complete Care Shop 03330 160 000

Talking Button Clock Prices from: £10.95 The simple touch of a button can let clients living with memory loss, dementia or low vision know the date and time, with this button clock audibly saying the date and time in a clear, loud voice. Coming with large print instructions, users can also listen to the clock talk them through the set up. Doubling up as an alarm, it has a slimline design and is difficult to knock over, sitting atly on most surfaces.

Complete Care Shop 03330 160 000


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Attainability UK I n this edition I review two products from the same company, Attainability UK. Although this is unusual I felt it appropriate given my experiences with the products in the last couple of months as well as the incredibly positive impact I have seen them have on a client’s ability to re-engage with their society and meaningful occupations. The products are the LaserCane Walking Stick and U-Step 2 Walking Stabilizer. I recently sat on an equipment ordering panel where the products

U-Step 2 e Walking Stabiliz

e seen on the same laser lin As well as the additional me so th wi s me LaserCane it co s: re tu fea nt porta and critically im e U-Step Th – m ste sy aking • Reversed br ueeze sq ly nt ge u til yo will not roll un ake either hand br just the ce control – ad tan sis re • Rolling ls roll ee wh e th ich speed at wh – allows d front wheel • Spring loade over uneven y sil ea de gli the walker to ed to lift surfaces – no ne also be fitted nal extra it can • As an optio le which du mo cueing with an audio ack to support db fee y or dit au provides s 15 e audio cue ha step speed. Th can be it at th so s ng step speed setti er. us al du ivi ch ind adjusted for ea ts uc od pr th about bo Find out more ies at nit rtu po op al and the tri ntact or co www.attainab . 77 52 3 24 them on 0174


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had been requested for purchase, aserCane for first oor and U- tep for ground oor. ffering a free trial for healthcare professionals the requisitioner had recorded a reduction in falls for their client from over 50 in the month preceding the trial to zero in the month following. he confidence gained from this allowed the client to re-engage with his friends and family, increase his functional independence with a reduction in formal social care package as well as the obvious reduction in risks associated with falls.

Adam Ferry UK Therapy Services

Adam Ferry is an occupational therapist in both the statutory and independent sectors. He is also co-founder of UK Therapy Services. With combined experience of over 30 years, UK Therapy Services specialises in providing high quality occupational therapy assessment, rehabilitation and consultancy packages for the private, statutory and business sectors. In this regular feature, Adam explores and reviews products he experiences in practice, giving insight and re ection to those who may benefit. You can contact Adam on or visit for more information.

The LaserCane

The LaserCane is essentially just a walking stick; however, it is specially desig ned to help people with gait freeze or ga it ignition failure occurring in neurological conditions such as Parkinson ’s disease. It do es this by projecting a bright coloured line from a laser (currentl y red but changin g to green to make it stand out more) , activated by weight, actin g as a visual cue to help trigger the first step, breaking fre e ing episodes and increasing stride length.

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26/06/2017 16:14 09/06/2017 15:58:55

Day in the


ire a l C t Abou

A day in . . f o e f i l the

y of iversit he Un t sey m r o e fr d by M uated y grad d is employe e worked e ll Jo Claire in 2015 an t. Clair ities n Trus disabil Salford S Foundatio r a ning rt worker le H h N it Care als w suppo She dividu s as a T. with in ast 10 year s an O the in ep tra a t over th deciding to d a poster a ue before tly facilitate ith a colleag an w in 7 cen n e 1 r 0 io t s 2 o a h prom rence h fe ialist n lt c o a e e C p h the s RCOT ating r in g e e t ic n v g ‘I ser ’. detailin nal therapy ility division tio ab a is p d u c g c o learnin

Claire Jolley

What is your current role?

enable autonomy.

I work in a low secure specialist learning disability ward. The ward is part of a hospital for adults with learning disabilities and a forensic history. My caseload is 16 service users. My local team consists of two OTAs (one part time), a specialist occupational therapist and a lead occupational therapist who also work into the team.

Ultimately, we enable our service users to develop independent living skills ready to move into the community and support a successful discharge.

The individuals we support have complex needs and require a robust integrated approach. I attend wards weekly and meetings regularly with the MDT with a clinician, psychologist, ward manager, deputy ward manager, speech and language therapist, case managers, nurses, forensic support service, social workers, support workers and key workers. Our service aims to complete a MOHOST or OCAIRS with each service user at least every six months. We also use smaller assessments to identify areas of occupational need such as budgeting, kitchen and community skills, road safety, role checklist and others. We then create a treatment plan and feed our perspective into the integrated care plan (ICP). The ICP is accessible for all those providing care and details the MDT treatment plans and recommendations. We also assess sensory needs through a sensory screening tool. If this identifies a need we generally use the SPIRAL for further assessment and develop a sensory diet and profile. We have a real emphasis on ensuring we involve the service user as much as possible throughout treatment and care to

The individuals we support have complex needs and require a robust integrated approach. Describe a typical day: We start with a handover from the ward, discussing how everyone has been and the shift leader goes through the session planner for the day and works with support workers to organise escort to therapy sessions. I provide group sessions and 1:1s dependent on occupational therapy goals. For example, I’m currently working with a service user who has had a recent mental health diagnosis. His motivation to participate in occupation has started to decrease. Together we completed an interest checklist and I’m working with him in 1:1 sessions to build a therapeutic relationship and assess motivation. The lifestyle group is a group I set up

...we talk to a differe nt occupatio n to see wh al therapist at a is for them typical day a a little mo nd explain re about their role.

recently and deliver with the OTA. This was an eight-week intervention which focused on education on health issues delivered in an adapted, meaningful and creative way. The client group we work with often have health related issues due to lifestyle. If I’m attending a meeting it could be a 117 a Care and Treatment Review (CTR). This is in NHS England’s commitment to transforming services for people with learning disabilities, autism or both. I provide an OT perspective in meetings, discussing how someone is progressing or the support they could require in the community.

Best part of the job: This service allows me to widen my experience and knowledge of OT in so many areas - mental health, forensic, learning disability and even some physical aspects - ultimately allowing me to offer the best care possible to everyone. I get to work collaboratively with so many different roles and I love working closely with service users and seeing progress towards the independence of such a vulnerable client group.

Hardest part of the job: There’s a lot of change occurring within our division currently. Due to the ‘transforming care agenda’, individuals we work with have to be prepared to make that leap from hospital to community in the best way possible. These are challenging times for all and the trust has offered training sessions in personal resilience and change.


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26/06/2017 16:16



STRESS Mental Health


e all know what it’s like to feel stressed. It can affect you both physically and emotionally and it can have an impact on the way you behave.

here’s no medical definition of stress. Stress is not a psychiatric diagnosis, but it is closely linked to your mental health. Stress can cause mental health problems and mental health problems can cause stress. If you often struggle to manage feelings of stress, you might develop a mental health problem like anxiety or depression. The symptoms of this, coupled with the need to manage medication and attend health care appointments or treatments, can become an extra source of stress in what might seem like a vicious circle. Common signs of stress include feeling irritable, anxious, nervous or afraid, racing thoughts you can’t switch off, feeling uninterested in life or a sense of dread, worried about your health, unable to have fun and

feeling like you have lost your sense of humour.

ou might find it hard to make decisions, snap at people, feel unable to concentrate, fidget, feel tearful, eat too much or too little and smoke and drink more than usual. Physically, you may experience shallow breathing or hyperventilating, have a panic attack, loss of libido, problems sleeping, headaches, chest pains, high blood pressure, constipation or diarrhoea. There might be one big event that causes stress, or it could be a build-up of lots of little challenges. Common life events that often cause a lot of stress are: illness or injury; pregnancy and becoming a parent; bereavement; getting married or the break-up of a relationship; being a carer for a friend or relative who needs support. Employment and study issues, housingrelated problems and money worries can also trigger stress.

Mind, the mental health charity for England and Wales, points out that happy events – such as having a baby or getting married – can bring big changes and make unusual demands on you, which means they too can be stressful.

Mind recommends identifying your triggers in an effort to deal with pressure. For example, consider issues that arise regularly, such as paying a bill, as well as one-off events like moving house and on-going challenges such as being a carer or having problems at work. The charity insists we should remember that not having enough work or distractions in life can be as stressful as having too much on your plate. Mind suggests various ways of becoming more emotionally resilient, such as making lifestyle changes, looking after your physical health, giving yourself a break and using your support network.

More info about stress over page  www.

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STR Mental


STRESS: An OT’s role Written By Rebecca Meagher | Blue Therapy Clinic Ltd (Believe, Learn, Understand, Explore)


ccupational therapists’ fundamental ethos is to facilitate clients to overcome hurdles that prevent them from carrying out previously meaningful activities (occupations) which have been in some way altered. It is vital to work idiosyncratically to problem solve and find ways of modifying barriers to independence.

decreased physiological arousal, creating the stress hormone, cortisol. Continuous application of this cycle leaves the person with both physical and emotional exhaustion.

In order to work with this issue, the most important first step is to recognise our own stressors.

I would like to focus upon occupational therapy and its role in working with stress. We live in an age where wants and needs are met almost instantaneously. The development of technology means we can contact others immediately, we don’t have to walk to a telephone box or wait for a meeting. We don’t have to await post…we can email and request a response. We don’t have to save for weeks to purchase a needed item… we can use instant credit and Amazon Prime! We can travel to the other side of the globe within 24 hours. We are driven by targets and performance indicators at work. We are accountable, we are measured, we are assessed. WE EXPECT…WE DO…: The pressure this places upon society is great. It has provided individuals with an acceptability that we must always be achieving and often we lose sight of meaningful functioning and ability to allow ourselves realistic targets and balanced wellbeing. People are under ‘pressure’ constantly. Pressure is required and can often be a positive motivator physically and mentally. A degree of pressure can



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support us, for example undertaking exams or a driving test. In these examples, positive stress motivates us and can enhance our performance. STRESS: “A state of mental and emotional strain or tension, resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances”. As mentioned above, many of our lifestyles encompass daily demanding circumstances. We manage well if we have positive coping skills to sustain health and wellbeing. It is when the impact of this cognitive and physical ‘pressure’ begins to impact upon our function that pressure can lead to ‘STRESS’ and begins to impact negatively upon our wellbeing. During short term ‘stressor’ experiences, we are able to manage the short term acting physiological effects of stress (suppression of the parasympathetic nervous system). However, with chronicity, this becomes overactivated, bodily systems are inhibited and there becomes

If we are able to understand triggers, we can better understand consequences. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a method of understanding the link between events, the thoughts we have within the situation, how we feel about it, how we respond physiologically and then what we do as a result. In many circumstances, with chronic stress, the process remains unchanged/ unchallenged, therefore no change occurs. In order to regain optimum functioning after a period of stress, we must modify both stress induced thinking and adjust how the person responds through behaviour/activity. We may look at balance of activity and increasing wellbeing via new and alternative methods. It is only when we understand the hurdles to impaired functioning, that we can adapt, challenge and change. We often dismiss the ‘meaning’ of our ‘doing’. MEANING: the end, purpose, or significance of something As occupational therapists, we can guide our clients to explore and understand meaning and, as a result, we are steps closer to changing lives. Find Rebecca Meagher at

26/06/2017 12:59

RESS Mental


CASE STUDY: Jessica My battle with stress


essica currently works for KPMG. She had a bad experience at a previous employer while working in business in the US for a consultancy company. During that time, Jessica did not have a day off sick related to stress or depression but this was mostly because she was worried about the repercussions of doing so. It was a difficult time because her husband was still in the UK, he’d been unable to get a job in the States. She was also working an average 15 hour days and many weekends. She would even be contacted whilst she was on holiday. She was managing the delivery of two parts of the project and also managing a 10-strong global team.

Her boss was at times unsupportive – particularly when Jessica struggled the most to deal with the environment. Jessica was visibly stressed, but she always expressed stress away from clients to try to be as professional as possible. One day, she told her boss she needed to go home. On her return the next day, Jessica was informed to her great upset she would not be continuing on the project.

“Jessica received her diagnosis in 2001 but thinks she had experienced symptoms of depression for around 20 years.”

Jessica still has to manage persistent depression and had a three-week period in hospital last year. There were no particular negative life events to which she attributes this – she did move house and get promoted. During this time, she was open with her manager and team who were fully supportive. Jessica has now been chair of the KPMG UK employee mental health network, Be Mindful, for a year and a half. Most recently in mental health awareness week the network hosted 50 events nationwide focusing on many of the techniques required to encourage good self-care and the maintenance of good overall health – both physical and mental – as necessary for coping with the enjoyable but nonetheless at times pressurised demands of working at KPMG. Jessica continues to be very open about her own mental health and encourages others to be open if they wish, advocating managers and leaders to demonstrate their support.

Jessica received her diagnosis in 2001 but thinks she had experienced symptoms of depression for around 20 years. She ended up leaving her job because of the negative experience and the continued stress, which was worsening her depression.

MIND: Ways you can help yourself and how to get support. stress • 0300 123 3393

At KPMG, her work-life balance is much better. Staff and managers are more willing to speak out about their own mental health and stress, and staff are better supported to deal with stress.

STRESS MANAGEMENT SOCIETY: Information tips on how to cope with stress.

Useful contacts BE MINDFUL: Guidance on how to learn mindfulness. BIG WHITE WALL: Anonymous online community of people who are finding it hard to cope.


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26/06/2017 12:59



Children’s IQ “Children are not yet fools, but we shall turn them into imbeciles like ourselves, with high IQs if possible.” R.D. Laing


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By Paul Aitken


n issue in various sciences is the relative lack of definition surrounding their core concepts. Intelligence is one of psychology’s best defined concepts and there is still no consensus on what it means. When asked to define ‘intelligence’, two do en theorists gave two dozen somewhat different answers ternberg Detterman, . It seems as though there are people in our society who are ‘smarter’ than others, and that society values some types of intelligence over others. I would define intelligence as the ability to transform information taking it in, computing it and putting it back out in different forms. Elsewise, it has been defined simply as ‘cognitive ability’. Whether you adopt my definition, that of another psychologist or make your own one up doesn’t seem to matter as far as science and reality are concerned what seems important is that you have a good working model of the concept to enhance your treatment of your own intelligence and that of

people around you.

“Intelligence-testing is sometimes regarded as the ma or and even the only triumph in psychology, and yet it is also uite generally seen as a social disaster”, says the late ichard regory, an eminent Bristol based psychologist. e explains that the criteria on which udgements of intelligence are made have not yet been clearly established in science. e also reminds us that ust three hundred years ago, the planet itself was considered intelligent, whilst the ancient Greeks believed all planets and stars to be inherently intelligent. It is worth noting that reliable old concepts like space, time and matter aren’t all that well defined either. Dr oger ones explained in that, “despite the feats of modern science, we have no clearer understanding of the nature of space than did our Greek ancestors.” We owe a lot of our modern concept of intelligence to Alfred Binet, who was asked in by the rench government to develop means of differentiating between the children who were too la y or obstinate to learn and those who were incapable,

26/06/2017 15:52



is, but what one is capable of ever becoming or achieving”, says Gregory.

to better allocate educational funding. The result was IQ testing. These tests might measure intelligence as far as we are concerned, but they do not tell us what intelligence is – as a thermometer measures temperature but does not explain what heat is. Gregory noted studies that introduced children to new schools and told the teachers that they had a high IQ, this resulted in them actually achieving higher test results than children introduced without such a disclaimer. Rats are the same; handlers given rats and told that they are ‘special’ rats causes them to end up with seemingly special capabilities compared to other rats. Think of this in terms of the Eleven Plus exams – standardised tests which governed admittance to various types of secondary school issued in Britain between 1944 and 1976. How you performed in these exams would come to be a huge determinant over your life, not only from the perspective of society, but from the perspective of oneself. “Criticisms of one’s intelligence not only challenge what one

IQ can be used to predict a lot of things, more than other ideas in psychology can...”

IQ can be used to predict a lot of things, more than some other ideas in psychology can – this is why it is so useful and prevalent. IQ testing has high ‘predictive validity’, so too does Costa and Macrae’s ‘Big 5’ model of personality. This model contends that personality can be broken down into ‘Openness to experience’, ‘Conscientiousness’, ‘Extraversion’, ‘Agreeableness‘ and ‘Neuroticism’ – or ‘OCEAN’ for short. Within this, we have two factors, ‘Stability’ and ‘Plasticity’. ‘Stability’ – the extent to which one can be rigid - can be broken down into conscientiousness, emotional stability (or neuroticism) and agreeableness whilst plasticity – the extent to which one can change their mind – is divided into extraversion and openness. Peterson explains that, “when you talk about someone as a ‘smart’ person, you’re generally referring to the trait that we would describe as openness... You’re also doing that when you refer to creativity as a disposition... IQ is a pretty good predictor of creativity”. ‘Intellect’ seems to be synonymous with ‘interest in ideas’. Brighter kids are not those who are of a higher biologically determined intelligence, but who are more interested and open to new possibilities – these are the types of things we should be trying to instil in our children, they will do the rest. If you think of yourself as an unintelligent person then what you are also saying is ‘I have a low interest in ideas’, or at least these two thoughts are highly correlated as far as experimental psychology is concerned. I have met many people who chronically undervalue their capacity to display intelligence. The same is true of creativity, but we’ll save that for next time. 


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26/06/2017 13:00



predictive validity.

retch and Crutchfield’s fantastically creative and tremendously large text ‘ he Elements of sychology’ from explores our ways of explaining, predicting and inventing as aspects of creating problem solving. hey say that the nature of the problem, the nature of the individuals previously ac uired knowledge and the personality structure of the individual are what determines one’s ability to solve problems – something that many would agree is a ma or part of ‘intelligence’. hey also state that ‘badly, ac uired previous knowledge – such as biases inherited from parents – can inhibit creativity when it comes to problem-solving. ike eterson, these psychologists explain that ‘learning’ and ‘creative problem-solving’ are not two sharply differentiated kinds of adaptive behaviour, but shade into each other. hey remind us that, “ rom the moment of birth, man is surrounded by other people, and thus it is clear that his social environment helps shape his development”. It is important to think about this from the perspective of labelling and expectation in society. If someone is branded with a diagnosis such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or unspecified obsessivecompulsive and related disorder – a current favourite of mine – or if they are branded as being in the top or second to bottom mathematics group


30-32_KidsIQ.indd 32


We still don’t even really know what ‘intelligence’ is. What we do know is that we have a good working model to account for the phenomenon, for now. It is a working model of uantum mechanics that allows us to power our smart phones and a working model of chemical distillation that allows us to make whisky. cientists are stabbing in the dark more than they would like to admit when it comes to the fundamental make-up of the self and the universe. hat should be evidence enough that intelligence isn’t as hard as people think it is.

From the moment of birth, man is surrounded by other people, and thus it is clear that his social environment helps shape his development...” in school, this diagnosis is likely to affect their lives and their creative or intellectual outputs moving forwards. ur social environment affects our development, people who are born into a privileged social environment are expected to and most usually do ac uire higher levels of ‘intelligence’ as we understand it. It is likely that someone with access to better will do better than someone with access to worse. cientific models are ust that, models. ake intelligence and I for instance. We determine a person’s intelligence uotient by scoring them on a set of standardised tests which assess their cognitive abilities ‘intelligence’ . he I model has high predictive validity if it couldn’t predict much at all about a person, we would stop using it and try to develop a model with higher

ccupational therapists are likely to encounter in their work individuals whose ‘intelligence’ - or cognitive capacity - has been affected by abnormal environmental, social or genetic factors. his article is aimed at exploring the malleability of cognitive capacities for the understanding of everyone involved in the treatment of other individuals, at work, at home or in the street. Both the therapist the individual offering treatment and the patient the individual accepting treatment are always capable of developing their cognitive capacities as individuals and in relation to each other. We need to remember that words and concepts have a high ‘predictive validity’. If I introduced you to my friend and said, “ his is Dan, he’s schi ophrenic”, you are likely to strike up a different relationship with that person compared to if I told you, “ his is Dan”. he same would be true if I introduced poor Dan as being very smart or very stupid. Believing that someone is unintelligent is likely to make you act accordingly. Believing that you are unintelligent is likely to make you act accordingly. Believing that the brain operates according to the principles of stability and plasticity, that one can be as rigid or as uid as they want - depending on things like their openness to ideas and experience and their emotional stability - is likely to make you act accordingly.

26/06/2017 15:52

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ccording to figures from the UC published by the irror in ay , the number of people working from home has increased by a fifth in the last years to reach a record . m. owever, what many don’t fully understand is that working from home could radically alter the view that their insurer takes of the policy they’ve sold not telling them of the change could possibly make the insurance policy invalid. o with this in mind, what steps do you need to take if you want to work or run your business from home


Check your existing insurance policy

By reading the terms and conditions or speaking to your broker or insurer , you may find that you have to separate off personal and business possessions and buy a distinct insurance policy to cover those items that are used commercially. ou should consider what this might mean for you - include items such as computers and laptops, printers and scanners, tablets and mobile phones, massage tables and mood e uipment and anything else that helps you create an income. While some items are easy to classify as being used in the business, others will be greyer – where, for example, you work partly at home and partly elsewhere offsite or on a client site . If you have concerns or are unsure, ask the insurer in writing. hat way you’ll be able to prove the advice given. Summary: If there’s any uncertainty always ask a uestion. etting this wrong - making an assumption - could leave you uninsured. 34


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Words by Adam Bernstein


Key considerations

Insurance policies come with standard terms but optional extras can be bolted-on to a policy in exchange for a premium payment. As you may have changed the ground rules, and may have special needs that go beyond what a normal household insurance policy covers, you should speak to your insurer about other products they may offer. All risks insurance: tandard home insurance only covers loss, damage or theft in relation to possessions used in household activities, not business use. In other words, if you use a home possession for business and an incident occurs, you may find your claim denied if the ‘risk’ – because of the change of use – was not declared to the insurer. his is where an ‘allrisks’ policy comes in as it covers items used for business purposes. Accidental damage: tandard insurance policies invariably don’t cover accidental damage such as knocking a laptop off a table or spilling tea over your mobile, again, leaving you uninsured. If this is a concern, or given your history, likely,

Other insurances to consider...

Income protection insurance: his product is designed to cover a range of illnesses and in uries where an individual re uires a regular long-term replacement income to help meet their financial commitments, including any other insurance policy premiums while maintaining their current lifestyle while they recover. If you’re a sole trader you should consider how long you could survive with no earnings. Critical illness cover his pays out a cash lump sum when you die or are diagnosed with a defined serious illness. Conditions covered vary but can include blindness, cancer, heart attack, stroke, kidney or liver failure, or a terminal illness – and many more. Life insurance uite simply, this pays a defined beneficiary which could be a family member, should you die.


26/06/2017 13:01

Help yourself...

Not many think to ask, but as in the retail environment, the insurance market sometimes offers interest free credit which can make a significant difference to the overall costs. Another cost saver is for firms to take an increased excess on their policy, letting them deal with the smaller claims expense, using insurance only for the larger, more costly claims. Another option for cost control is to achieve minimum security standards. While you may not want to install alarms, window locks, deadlocks etc., and shutters, having one declined claim could make the cost of achieving the security required pale into insignificance.

then you need to add ‘accidental damage’ cover to your policy. Third-party liability: The nature of this sector means that you will have clients that visit your home (or you may visit clients in their homes). You should think about buying ‘third-party liability’ cover. Without it, should they then injure themselves while in your home, or damage their (or your) possessions, they might decide it’s your fault and make a claim against you. Buying and adding ‘third-party liability’ cover to your home insurance would insulate you from any of these types of claims. Other elements to consider: It’s also possible to buy bolt-on insurances that cover your home office contents and equipment, portable equipment such as business laptops and tables, any loss of income because of business interruption such as fire or ood , legal expenses (if you need to make or defend a claim), your business possessions, and any goods-in-transit to or from customers. Apart from these insurances, consider also buying separate insurance products that cover: Product liability insurance: to protect you where your products or equipment cause damage or injure someone.

Professional indemnity insurance: to offer protection where you give advice and a client subsequently claims against you for any losses they feel resulted from bad advice. Employer’s liability insurance: for situations where you employ individuals in your property – in your home or elsewhere – just in case they suffer an accident or injury. Summary: Standard home insurance will be less expensive, a key consideration for new start businesses, but the addition of bolt-on products, as well as keeping the insurer properly informed, will pay dividends in the long run.


How to buy insurance

When it comes to buying insurance, you have three options: 1. Buy direct from the insurer 2. Buy online from comparison site 3. Buy via broker The best option, which may not necessarily be the least expensive, is probably to use a broker that effectively sits in front of the insurance company. They will note your needs and trawl the market for insurance accordingly. They can also advise on

the small print and liaise with an insurance company in the event of a claim. Try to seek recommendations on the broker you use. An insurance policy is only worthwhile at the point of claim so it is important to read any experiences and case studies from a claims perspective. Before you buy, ask the provider what its claim payment figure is and the average over the last three years. When you make a claim you’ll find the true value of a knowledgeable and supportive insurance agent or broker. Building a relationship and passing over accurate details of the risks will reap rewards. Cutting costs and being coy with information will only ever end badly. The key, though, is to seek the advice of a good broker where over time you can build up a relationship. Search to find a broker local to you. Alternatively, ask others you know that are in the same situation. Summary: The choice of how you buy insurance is personal. Don’t go for the cheapest. Instead buy the policy that suits your needs while buying it from a company that you feel will pay out a legitimate claim. www.

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Product focus


Product Reviews

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he mart ail system is designed to afford exibility into the bathroom environment. he clever track with its uni ue cover design allows bathroom accessories to be added or removed within minutes, leaving the area highly adaptable to meet the needs of different users. his exible system can be used in care homes, hospitals and other public spaces. mart ail is also at home in private dwellings and in hotel rooms where its exibility can uickly adapt a space, whilst an infinite palette of colours and materials will ensure it fits with the surroundings.

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Product focus Alpha-Stim Aid

Price: £549 available on a buy-to-rent scheme from £51 a month. The Alpha-Stim (AS) is a portable cranial electrotherapy device that works for psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by sending a signal to the brain that is refined and filtered. he device is designed to talk the same language as the body and encourages the production of alpha-waves in the brain. It stimulates the brain cells to trigger a reaction to produce serotonin. Its positive effects are also cumulative, suggesting that the Alpha-Stim may bring about a permanent positive change in the neurological make-up of those experiencing PTSD. A major NHS study on cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) provided by the Alpha-Stim and how it helps those with anxiety disorders is currently underway.

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For people with a visual impairment, the 7.5” LED jumbo display and six extra-bright LED lights can easily be seen and the brightness can be turned down using the three dimmer settings. The TCL 400 adds an extra safety element for people with hearing loss. It can detect alarm tones from other devices such as smoke and burglar alarms, triggering its own loud alert for people sleeping. If you’re still not convinced that setting the adjustable volume to 95dB will wake you, the TCL 400 has the option to hook up to one of the most powerful vibrating pillow pads. The PTV 100 (sold separately) popped under your pillow will shake you awake too. You will never need to adjust the time on this clock because the TCL400 automatically synchronises with a radio transmitter set to standard time. TCL400 also features a snooze button and a USB socket for charging your mobile. 020 7720 2266



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Bottle Opener with Magnifier Prices from £6.99

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Plug Pull

Prices from £11.99 This plug pull three-pack can provide a safe and easy way of plugging things in or taking them out. Clients with weak grip or finger dexterity issues can use the self-adhesive pad to attach the pull to a plug and the moulded plastic T-piece offers additional leverage for removing a plug from the socket. They can also be used on doors and drawers.

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26/06/2017 13:02



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26/06/2017 13:02

“It takes all your willpower to stay in the armchair and not jump up!”


are home residents are remembering the past and relishing the present through their love affair with films.

A group of university lecturers embarked on the U ’s first research study to discover how to redress through film the feelings of loneliness and disconnection often experienced by people when they move into a care home environment. Through their pioneering study ‘Care Home as Cinematic Community: Enhancing Social Connectivity through Film,’ they set out to explore whether watching films together could in uence a person’s mood and how connected they feel to others.

ogether, they watched three films chosen by residents in each care home over six weeks. Each of the films selected were golden age musicals or classics, starring movie icons such as Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Doris Day, Carmen Miranda, Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo and Rock Hudson. With the permission of residents, Ana and Jenna observed what people did when

Dr Ana Salzberg, a lecturer in Film Studies (Classic Hollywood Cinema and Stardom) at the University of Dundee, led the project, which was funded by the Carnegie Trust. She explained: “We wanted to look closely at how films improve emotional wellbeing and social interaction not only between the residents who may experience loneliness and isolation from friends and family, but also with the staff who take part in and organise the screenings.” Along with Dr Jenna Breckenridge, a University of Edinburgh researcher and occupational therapist with a keen interest in how activities improve people’s health, Ana visited two care homes last summer to watch films with residents, staff and relatives.

viewing a film. While watching 1940 musical ‘Down Argentine Way,’ it was the colourful Carmen Miranda rather than Betty Grable the residents craved to see. And, during a screening watched by two married residents, the wife covered her husband’s eyes during a particular scene starring the buxom Marilyn Munroe! After each screening, Drs Ana and Jenna chatted with viewers about their thoughts about the film and also asked staff for their opinions of watching films with residents in a care home setting. One resident enthused: “It takes all your willpower to stay in the armchair and not jump up!”

he pair discovered that films are experienced with the senses. Residents, relatives and staff laughed, sang and clapped along with musical numbers, and some even got up to dance. he experiment confirmed that movies are a big part of most people’s lives and certain films sparked memories of watching with a loved one. It underlined that films can be a source of great oy with a sentimental meaning for people young and old. he uid structure of the experiment also highlighted how people watch a film differently, and there is no right or wrong way. Some enjoyed talking with others during the film, whereas others liked to watch in silence. Some residents took a nap and others walked in and out of the room throughout. The research also drew into sharp focus people’s varying attention spans and the fact that the structure of classic films makes them particularly effective at keeping people engaged. The project also demonstrated how classic films keep people entertained. Even if residents lost attention or did not follow all of the dialogue, everyone enjoyed seeing familiar stars, watching musical numbers and relishing colourful costumes. “There is such a push in care homes on encouraging physical activity and people are reluctant to do things with residents that are perceived to be passive,” explained Jenna who, since the conclusion of the study, has visited a number of care homes to explain its findings to managers. “It is also important for people to get a chance to relax. One of the things we found is that film can promote a physical response – clapping or getting up to dance and that was happening organically. “We found out that watching films is not just about remembering the past. It’s about enjoying the present too. Watching the films uplifted people’s moods and residents enjoyed chatting about the plot and characters. 


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26/06/2017 13:03

“Every time you screen a film, that era is brought back to life in the present tense.” “Loneliness is a big problem in care homes. Loneliness is not the same as being alone. You can be lonely in a crowd. When observing the audience, we saw a lot of interaction – sharing eye contact, sharing the experience, sharing a laugh and singing along together.” It became apparent, observed Ana, that the experience broke down the boundary between care home staff and residents. The study also found that connecting with different generations through film is positive. Residents enjoyed asking Ana and Jenna about their lives, and the lecturers in turn learned a lot from residents. “Many of the staff had never seen the films the residents had chosen, so the residents have a lot to teach the staff, as they had lived the eras that were on the screen,” Ana explained. “Film is something that is uniquely poised to help with activities. It is about bringing back events or emotions that have been preserved as a record of the past. Every time you screen a film, that era is brought back to life in the present tense. “What interested us the most about this project and this particular audience is the knowledge that exists in these spectators and can be shared. Some of them will have seen the films on their first screening – and we’re seeing how that can really benefit our understanding of spectatorship and film history.” The experiment serves as a reminder that older people enjoy learning new things and have a lot of wisdom to offer younger generations, they said. It also found that films are a good prompt for discussion and encourage conversations that enhance the present as well as the past. The Care Home as Cinematic Community study also reinforces the need to make residents feel safe and comfortable when films bring to the fore difficult memories. People should be allowed to feel sad and it’s important not to gloss over difficult topics but to deal sensitively with difficult emotions. Continued Dr Breckenridge: “Residents enjoyed being in the present moment. Watching the films helped to improve


40-43_Cinema.indd 42


DR JENNA BRECKENRIDGE a Research Fellow at Edinburgh University. She has a background in occupational therapy and takes an occupational lens within her work to make research participation more accessible for typically under-represented groups. She is excited about artistic and creative approaches to research and loves watching classic films.

DR ANA SALZBERG a lecturer in Film Studies and Visual Culture at the University of Dundee. Her monograph, Beyond the Looking Glass: Narcissism and Female Stardom in Studio-Era Hollywood, was published by Berghahn Books in 2014. their immediate sensory, emotional and social engagement with their environments and each other.” The research team also comprised psychologist Professor Thilo Kroll of University College Dublin and the researchers also received useful, practical advice from the University of Dundee’s Gavin Wylie, a podiatrist with experience of working and doing research in care homes. The researchers are happy to speak to care home managers who might be interested in finding out more. Contact Ana at, on 01382 384085.

The ‘Care Home as Cinematic Community’ study arose as a result of a cross-disciplinary collaboration between Ana and Jenna, who both insist the results could not have been achieved through working alone. By acting as the ‘left and right hands’ they found that through collaboration, the study took on greater meaning and potential. As an occupational therapist, Jenna says she would not have been able to ‘unpick’ with the same amount of depth the complex cognitive psychological and emotional elements inherent within film without the partnership approach and without Ana’s specialist knowledge. “I was surprised by Ana’s willingness as somebody rooted in film studies to get in and engage with people and listen to experiences and see how film became important to them,” admitted Jenna. “The experience has shattered some of my misconceptions and now I’d collaborate more readily. “During the study, we learned from staff about the practicalities of doing such an exercise within a care home – taking account of routines like the administering of medication. “Lots of OTs are involved in reminiscence work. The main lesson to take from our project is that we need to be much more open to the benefits of the present and not simply focus on remembering the past – and be much more in tune to these benefits for people. “Rather than just making sure people keep busy and have enough to do, take a step back and make sure it is meaningful for the person. It’s often assumed that the things OTs do are really simple, but we can help to promote the profession and make sure people get the best help they can by promoting the complexity of what is involved in seemingly simple activities like watching films.” Ana is enormously excited about engaging with the residents as holders of this film-historical knowledge and so taking Film Studies outside of the classroom and into the care home. “There are a lot of theories of spectatorship,” she added. “It has been really exciting to see this in action and to see how these concepts relate to real life.” 

26/06/2017 13:03

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Knit happiness THERAPY

your way to


t reduces tension and anxiety, combats depression, distracts from chronic pain, increases a sense of wellbeing and has even been shown to slow the onset of dementia. Unlikely as it may seem, it’s the humble hobby, knitting. With Meryl Streep, Harry Styles, Annie Lennox, Ryan Gosling, Madonna and the Duchess of Cambridge reportedly among a growing band of celebrity needle-clicking devotees, who are we to argue? A study, entitled a Literature Review and Survey to Examine the Health Benefits of nitting, has shown the effectiveness of knitting and crochet in helping older people become more resilient, including improvements in mental and physical health and overcoming isolation and loneliness. Evidence-based research shows knitting is as relaxing as yoga, lowers blood pressure, provides an opportunity for creativity and increases a sense of usefulness and inclusion in society. A more resilient and ageing population is happier and makes fewer demands on the cash-strapped NHS as it is less dependent on care. A sociable activity that can be continued into extreme old age, knitting and other repetitive needle work pastimes can overcome isolation and loneliness which are too often a feature of old age. As the

report highlights, it is a skill that can continue when sight, hearing, strength and mobility are diminished. After the need to knit for family and friends has been exhausted, knitters find a new outlet for the fruits of their creations by donating items to those in need – a service provided by nit for eace, which started as an income generation project for Hutu and Tutsi widows, victims of the Rwandan genocide and civil war. The widows knitted school jumpers for orphans and nit for eace paid them by raising funds through featuring the project in the Trust’s Good Gifts Catalogue. Unlike most volunteering, it can be done from a knitter’s armchair. Researchers’ experience suggests that knitting is not well received as a potential preventative and treatment measures – particularly with regards to its potential benefit to the older population.

Evidencebased research shows knitting is as relaxing as yoga, lowers blood pressure, provides an opportunity for creativity and increases a sense of usefulness and inclusion in society.

nitting stimulates many different areas of the brain including memory and attention span while involving your visuospatial processing, creative side and problem-solving abilities – which is why the pastime could also help protect your brain against aging. he craft’s benefits include accessibility, the need for minimal equipment, its portability and exibility. 


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teaching knitting in schools is sowing the seeds of a life-long skill.

It can be done alongside other activities, like watching television, baby sitting or even using public transport. Rather than being dismissed as an old-fashioned, fuddy-duddy way of whiling away the hours, the study’s evidence suggests that knitting should be widely promoted because of its not inconsiderable health-giving qualities. Knitting for charity gives people a sense of purpose and self-worth, which is important post-retirement, especially with physical decline. As a process, knitting encompasses repetitive tasks that require physical and cognitive skills. It is also productorientated – there is a specific, visible output, which creates a feeling of satisfaction at completing a task and reinforces a sense of capability. The study, undertaken with support and guidance from academic advisors, Professors Muki Hayklay and David Metz, concludes that the biggest barriers to knitting are not having learned the skill when young and having no-one to knit for. It takes less than two hours to teach basic knitting and it’s been found that

Teaching knitting is a good intergenerational activity which succeeds in increasing respect for older people. The UK Hand Knitting Association U A - a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting hand knitting and associated yarn crafts – estimates the number of knitters and crochet-ers in the UK to be 7.5m.

Case study

We have developed a nationwide network of volunteers who pass on their skills to encourage newcomers to learn to knit or crochet at craft shows and other events across the UK. Knit for Peace has more than 15,000 knitters in the UK. Most are postretirement age and they tell the project knitting greatly enhances their pleasure in life and improves their sense of wellbeing. To support or volunteer for Knit for Peace, visit www.knitforpeace. or email knitforpeace@ or call 020 7794 9835

Survey results


I learned to knit in school but did not return to it until a few years ago after having a grand mal seizure. I had super high anxiety, was super depressed and I needed something. “I really think knitting did heal me. It helped me to centre, balance, think – and also to breathe. “Especially if you come to an anxiety attack, knitting just helps you to take that breath, slow down, think and focus.”

A grant from the Big Lottery Accelerating Ideas Fund helped the Knit for Peace initiative to conduct the extensive Literature Review in parallel with a survey undertaken of those who donated their knitting to Knit for Peace. A thousand knitters who donate their work to Knit for Peace took part in the survey, which found:

92% 82% 65% 92% said knitting improved their health

said knitting relaxed them

said knitting for others made them feel useful

said knitting improved their mood

67% 88% 55% 90% are aged over 60, with some as old as 100



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learned to knit as a child

said, without Knit for Peace, e d find i di ficu o find an outlet for their work

said distribution of knitting to those in need was Knit for Peace’s most valued service

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26/06/2017 11:22

Paediatrics SECTION

Paediatrics n o i t c Se P56


ur paediatrics section has taken on a sensory theme this issue. Exploring all of your clients’ senses is so important for their development and it is the job of the occupational therapist to go on that journey of discovery with them.

ou have the five senses that everyone is familiar with; sight, sound, smell, taste and touch (also known as tactile). However, as OTs, you should be accustomed to the sense of balance (vestibular) and the sense of where the body and its parts are in space (proprioceptive). These are just as crucial.

Exploring all of your clients’ senses is so important for their development


On page 58, we speak to Dawn Dunn, the managing director of Tree Tops Occupational Therapy Centre. She talks us through the effects that sensory integration (SI) therapy can have on children of all ages with sensory processing disorders that she meets through her clinic.


We take a closer look at sensory diets on page 50. Alison Double explains what sensory diets are and how they can be applied in the classroom and at home. This issue also features a collection of UK sensory companies that specialise in tools, toys, equipment and the installation of sensory rooms. Read more on page 62. As always, we have a full selection of the best paediatric products on the market, all in keeping with the sensory theme. If you have any interesting paediatric stories or products you think deserve some attention, please let us know by emailing

Read on to find out more... www.

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diet Sensory



that has nothing to do with food


Alison Double is a Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy at the University of Worcester and an OT in Birmingham’s ASN schools. Specialising in sensory integration theories and sensory based approaches, she tells us how sensory diets can be applied in the classroom and at home and how we all have our own sensory diets, even if we don’t realise it.

lecture three days a week, but I work two days a week in additional needs schools, so I would say my specialism is working with children with learning disabilities and sensory difficulties and sensory diets is one of the intervention tools I’ve used quite successfully over a long period of time, 20 years actually in adults as well as children. Sensory diets are really good for helping children become more regulated throughout the day so I use them alongside what I call a sensory regulation ladder which


50-53_SensoryDiet.indd 50


helps the child and carer to know when they’re in over-alertness and under-alertness.

Sensory diets are usually used for anybody with a sensory integration difficulty, adult or child. As an occupational therapist, you tend to use them probably more in special school situations, but you can use it with parents and care homes too. Basically, if you think about how you build into your day you have certain things you do that make you feel good. You might get up and have a cup of coffee and a shower, or get up and go for a run. At lunch time, some people might go for a swim or take a book and have a

read in a quiet corner or people, after work, might walk their dog, go to the gym or sit down with a glass of wine.

We all have our sensory diets, but because we have the ability to make choices to do different activities at different times and we understand how that makes us feel, it’s easier for us to do that. But the children with learning disabilities that we work with might need help making sure that their day gives them the right sensations to make them feel their best. You have to work across both home and school. There are some schools where I work with the parents more

26/06/2017 13:06


Sensory diet Morning

Taking a

shower than others but the majority of the time you either work at home and then go into schools to implement things or you work in schools and then go back to the home. The thing to do in any sensory diet is try and focus on one part of the day and figure out what works at that point in the day and then spread it out. At home, I may look at the morning routine whereas at school I may look at arriving or lunch time. It’s called a sensory diet because it is a bit like having food. You have three big meals a day and snacks in between. People think a sensory diet has something to do with food and it can incorporate food and different things, but it’s more general engagement and activity and the diet concept comes from the fact that each day you need the big meaty things which are going to give you the bigger things





Reading a

Going for a


Sensory diets are usually used for anybody with a sensory integration difficulty, adult or child.

like going for a run or having your PE lesson. You need two or three of those per day but then you do need things to keep you topped up. We’ll go out for a little walk from


one place to another, or we’ll go for a coffee or a fag break or we’ll ponder or chew gum, so we have different things we do to keep ourselves topped up. If you’re sat at your desk and are feeling a little lethargic, you automatically get out of your chair and do something to make yourself feel more alert, but some of the children we work with don’t always think about that so they need others to suggest they get up and walk around so they don’t become under-alert and ineffective in their learning. Some children become really good at starting to anticipate it and become much better at being able to access the things in their sensory diet that make them feel good because they learn and that’s called self-regulation. 


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Quite a lot of children will need co-regulation for quite a long time if not all the time though, so while you’re putting the sensory diet in to benefit their needs, it’s actually more for the carers to use to help that person. So as an OT, our role is to help people make really individualised plans with careful assessment of the senses to help them understand how things impact people in different ways. It is just completely occupational therapy and that’s why I love it so much. I often say that my role in schools is helping the children to be in the best place to learn. I set the children up for learning through strategies and it’s all established through sensory regulation.

careful assessment. Where it goes wrong is if someone just says, ‘go swimming’, because there are so many ways you can go swimming. You can go swimming in a really echoey pool that can completely dysregulate a child or go in a really calm pool on their own where they go down a ramp to get in and only be in 10 minutes where it is really calming. I ualified in and in I went on a course all about sensory integration for adults with learning disabilities. I think it’s a really nice way of communicating how to engage with somebody, to the person and the carer. What I love about it is that you can be so creative, often it’s the wackiest things that really work well!” an OT, our role is to help people make really individualised plans with careful assessment of the senses to help them understand how things impact people in different ways

I would say it’s used more so when an OT’s in a consultative role or when they’re not able to do lots of hands-on therapy. It’s not a one-si e-fits-all, it needs


Drinking a



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Sensory di in the cla ets ssroom

“Somethin g I use a lot are sh because children that get a eets of Lycra®, really help bit an ful in ma king them xious find it and some can stretch it roun feel calm d them li . They who use ke a Supe them freq they’re fe rman cap uently sta eling anx e rt io to realise us they g on to ma o and ge ke them that if t fe th e e l better. cape and At times, pop it you adjus t the actu into the a al activit ctivity, fo y or the tr r example concentr ansition art, where atio they need them to fo n. The focus isn’t a lot of a lways the cus the b re and if est thing moving b you want to do is to eforehan d. So, in th get the p make sure erson e sen they have where th a break ju sory diet you wou ey need p ld s t b e fo re a lesso atie sensation n like art s because nce or if they hav e issues w they’ll be to cope m it more reg ore. You’d ulated an h tactile also keep Some chil d be able th e a ctivity sh dren hav orter. e long co when the mmutes y get in, y in the mo ou can’t s time as th rnin it them s ey’ve bee traight do g so n need to g sitting fo wn in r an hour o out and and a half circle move aro und.” . They

26/06/2017 13:06

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26/06/2017 11:22

Kids’ Product Focus

As part of our Paediatrics Section, we take a look at the products on the market that can help improve the lives of your younger patients.

Wobble Cushion

Heat-up Empathy Doll Empathy dolls Bella and Harry are scented and can be heated up in the microwave to offer children a sensory filled source of comfort. While helping to encourage and nurture empathy and sensitivity to others, the dolls are made of super soft fabric that is satisfying to touch. By heating them up, the lavender scent is released working the sense of smell whilst the heat and comfort act as tactile stimulants. Bella and arry are suitable for children of all ages.

Explore Your Senses 01535 662812

Improve children’s core stability, leg strength and balance and explore their sensory capacity with this wobble cushion. With a dimpled side and a smoother bobbled texture side, it is tactile to touch, but is useful for children with dyspraxia forcing them to use a range of muscles to stay balanced when it is placed on a seat, ideal for kids who struggle to concentrate in class. It prevents slouching, prolonged lower back strain and encourages good posture and stability. ade from strong durable material and is cm in diameter.

Explore Your Senses | 01535 662812

Prices from

£13.50 Prices from

£14.99 Scented Dough his four-pack of scented playdoughs is a fun and creative way for children to explore their senses. heir sense of touch is called upon to feel, rub, stretch and mould the playdough with the malleable clay allowing them to form tangible ob ects with their own hands, and the modelling of shapes in different si es encourages imagination. he texture of the dough and nature also allows children to explore touch and strength. he tactile dough also has an aromatic component worked into it.

Explore Your Senses 01535 662812


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Prices from



26/06/2017 15:51

Personal & Emotional Skills Board Games This set of six board games named ‘Getting On’, ‘Good to be Me’. ‘Changes’, ‘Keeping Calm’, ‘Going for Goals’ and ‘Say No to Bullying’ serve as not only educational tools but audible and visual aids. Ideal for teaching SEAL, family support and discussion of often tricky issues these games develop children’s social awareness in a vibrant, enjoyable format. These are competitive and fun games that teach essentials for learning and life in stimulating sensory manner.

Smart Kids 01488 644 644

Prices from


Donut Swing his in atable donut swing can be used both open and closed and is a fun way for children to explore their senses around their surroundings and their body. The soft-sided nest is comfortable to play in and safe. Swing frame sold separately.

Brave Toys 01299 873528

Prices from


Scentos Scented Markers Colouring in and drawing is already one of the most basic and inexpensive childhood activities, building creativity and imagination while creating visual stimulants. These fruit scented markers come in charming designs and bright colours to give both a visual and aromatic sensory experience. The pigmented colours are fun to use to brighten up kids’ artwork or fill their colouring books.

The Range 0345 026 7598

Prices from


More kids products on the next page... www.

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Paediatrics SECTION

Flourescent Mirror Chimeabout his uorescent coloured mirrored chimeabout is a sensory delight. he bright colours draw children in and the mirrors re ect both light and the bright colours in a urry when the chimeabout is spun. he hanging bells ingle to add a musical element and the erspex strips glow under U light, enhancing the sensory experience even more.

SpaceKraft 01274 581007

Prices from


Sensory Touch Ball A variety of sensory experiences are opened to children with a simple ball. ade from soft rubber, the elasticated stringy ball can be stretched and s uee ed in all directions and is easy to catch and grasp due to the shape. ulti-coloured, it is also visually pleasing to children with sensory processing disorder and other sensory impairments. It is approximately cm and colours may vary.

More2Play 084435 11078

Prices from


Spyro Gel Pad his tactile pad can hold a child’s attention for hours as they guide the small plastic disks round the gel spiral. he cushioned pad provides tactile and visual stimulation, enhances hand-eye coordination and builds finger strength and dexterity. he gel filling is pleasant to touch, press on and s uee e while the visual element of the glittery uid moving also offers sensory engagement.

Special Needs Toys 01299 827820


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Prices from



26/06/2017 13:07

Paediatrics SECTION

Sensory Bubble Set Visually pleasing and soothing, these four packs of sensory bubbles use the ow of water and oil to show the passing of time as the tiny seeds appear as bubbles. he four different colours ow down the hourglass shape giving children a sense of time while the colourful movement engages the senses.

Primary ICT 01227 769 400

Prices from


Star Projector Cube

with Mix of Lullaby and Nature Sounds

Suitable for use at night, bedtime or in a calming space, this cube projects stars turning the ceiling into a beautiful night sky with varying calming effects while playing soothing lullabies and nature sounds. The visual and audible experiences that the box plays can help calm children by removing them from their surroundings and transporting them to a new environment. The timer system ensures it automatically turns off after 30 minutes.

CareCo 0800 111 4774

Do you have an innovative product you think we should feature?

Prices from


If so, get in touch! Contact us at


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26/06/2017 13:08



Under the


Dawn Dunn is the managing director of Tree Tops Occupational Therapy Ltd in County Durham. Tree Tops is an occupational therapy centre for children, specialising in the assessment and treatment of children using sensory integration. Dawn sees children in both mainstream and special schools with a range of disorders including autistic spectrum disorder, ADHD, dyspraxia and ADD. Established in 2001, the main thing they assess is the child’s sensory processing and their motor function.


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riginally, I used to work in health and underwent the sensory integration (SI) postgraduate training, which at the time was through Liverpool University. I graduated from there in 1984 and moved into paediatrics in 1988. I absolutely loved SI, I think it is a fantastic approach for children. It really helped me theoretically assess the children, analyse and, obviously, treat them. The frustrating thing was that the provision in the hospital wouldn’t allow us to treat the children, so we had great problems finding facilities at

one point we were in the physio gym at 8am to treat children, we treated them in corridors and in empty wards. So, myself and ex-business partner had the idea of setting up Tree Tops, thinking if we could offer the provision, we have some control over it and we can offer interventions. Another frustrating thing was that we had parents having trouble getting their children assessed, we were identifying what was wrong, but we weren’t putting it right, but we knew SI, from the training, could actually put it right. That’s what the foundation became for Tree Tops. We started doing it part time, one day a week, and within nine

26/06/2017 13:08


TOPS months we had the clinic, it was that popular. Fifteen years ago there was a recognition for SI, but I would say that is so much more now. As the company developed, probably the last eight years maybe, we’ve done a lot with more sensory processing difficulties. Working with a lot more children with a lot more complex needs, we seem to encompass a lot of different groups from that. I know that the NHS is strapped for cash and sometimes the private sector can be no different, but the thing that motivated me to start the clinic was being able to offer children interventions that would work and having control over that. I think SI is a really childfriendly approach. It’s really focussed, using activities and core OT values that actually help develop a child’s function. It’s really fun, the children absolutely love the sessions whether it’s in the clinic or in the schools we visit. The staff we train up seem to get a lot of pleasure and engagement from the child, making them very highly motivated. By tackling the underlying root cause of the central nervous system, you actually develop a child’s function automatically. So, the skills you might target; dressing, riding a bike or handwriting, these would fall into place naturally as they should do with development. It’s a good developmental approach as well. I think what amazes me about it is, is how effective it is. I go into schools and I work a lot with them. We now have contracts with schools on a

monthly basis. Some of the very simple techniques that I use, I think a lot of people can do without having any SI training. It has a large impact on that child’s function and their ability, it can change the behaviour of children that are very distressed and might be very aggressive. What ama es me is that I can give someone a very simple programme and go back a month later and the staff will say, “This is amazing, the child is far more settled now and they aren’t biting or attacking us anymore”, or they will say “Look at their handwriting or look at their attention span”. I think it is a fantastic treatment approach that is really core OT. We cater for all children and

young adults, the oldest we have at the minute is about 18 and the youngest we have is around two. We have about clients that we see privately at the clinic on a weekly ...the thing that basis. We motivated me to have a lot start the clinic more clients was being able to offer that come periodically, children interventions like the that would work and holiday periods having control over that. throughout the year. We have people that come regularly for ‘top-up’ treatments for their children or phone up for advice. We have a sensory processing parent’s support group too and we have just set up a youth support group, as 


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TOPS well, for teenagers. We sell treatment programmes, parents will come in for 1:1 interventions, with 45 minutes in a session and they might buy that for five weeks, weeks or weeks. hey can also buy one-off sessions or group sessions. When it comes to schools, they tend to buy a range. We will go into that school as a therapist on a regular basis and you build up a relationship, but we will sell those programs. We will give them to the class teacher and to the teaching assistants, which might be a therapeutic program to develop a child’s balance or motor planning. We also do a sensory diet programmes, that can help a child self-regulate, to be more focussed and again reduce behavioural problems. We do a lot of training with educators, health professionals and parents. We run those training Most case courses instudies I have house and in the schools, from people as full-day Tree Tops have courses. It’s all about helped are very educating simplistic changes people about and treatments sensory processing, in particular, the big focus is what sensory tools we have to help that child and spreading awareness. Carl is a -year-old with moderate learning difficulties and autistic spectrum disorder. In the school I go into on a monthly basis, they gave me a referral to see Carl. He was having daily meltdowns, attacking staff, lying on the oor refusing to move, shouting and kicking and they were taking a very long time to settle him down. At first we had to put him to an isolated room until he calmed down, but as he calmed down, I 60

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got the opportunity to talk to him. I explained to him who I was and what I do, I told him I could help him calm down. I showed him the therapy ball and I said, “We roll this on our legs and it helps calm you down. Would you like me to do it?” He agreed. At this time he was almost sobbing, he was coming down after having this very real fight-or- ight episode. He absolutely loved it, the deep pressure was almost instantaneous with him. After 15 minutes, he came back with me into the classroom and we went on and completed some more work and I set up a very small sensory diet programme for him. I went back two weeks later and he hadn’t experienced any episodes by using this deep pressure technique. He actually re uested it regularly. hey did it first thing in the morning along with a lot of proprioceptive work in the class. wo people in the school did case studies on him because the therapy was so successful and the SI caused such dramatic improvement. One

case study on Carl was presented to the government: some of the children even commented on how nice the class was because he wasn’t ‘kicking off’ anymore. he change was so profound and effective. he A said to me that she couldn’t believe the difference, she couldn’t even take him outside before, he was very tactile and auditory defensive, he couldn’t cope with people being close to him and sounds and now he can go out whenever he likes. hey were blown away. Most case studies I have from people ree ops have helped are very simplistic changes and treatments, but they have made massive differences in these young people’s lives. Just because of SI. *Name changed for privacy.

If you would like more information on the work Tree Tops provides, please contact Dawn on 01325 304 411 or visit

26/06/2017 13:08

Introducing the

Balance Cushion

The perfect balance of skin protection and stability // High skin protection through immersion into the fluid or air inserts // Optimal pelvic and thigh stability from the anatomically shaped seat well // Exceptional comfort from the soft foam overlay // Enhanced postural support from the contoured foam base and positioning inserts

For more information please contact us on 0845 605 66 88 (option 2) or visit

Brought to you by

Keeping Sensory Simple

Sensory Bathrooms Multi-Sensory Rooms Sensory Integration Equipment Immersive Environments Weighted Products

0114 2293434


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26/06/2017 13:36



Rompa A offers the sensory tools for choice, empowerment, enjoyment, inclusion, meaningful occupation and comfort for everyone. Through carefully selected and unique products, professional bespoke designed and meticulously installed environments along with excellent customer service, they continue to meet the needs of individuals, institutions and businesses, globally. Managing director Donna Hartley said: “We care about making a real difference to all of our customers. Our personal and unique approach remains to help us to work with you, to meet the needs of the individuals you work with and care for. We built our foundations on listening to our customers, and we continue to listen today. We will not compromise on quality or standards.”

Kingkraft ingkraft have a specific part of their company that assesses and deals with the sensory field. A spokesperson for the company said “ ur ualified professionals offer support, guidance and demonstrations on our wide range of seating and sensory equipment designed to help make life easier. “We have first-hand experience as to the positive effects that our seating and sensory products can have on children with disabilities, their families and their carers. You even have the option to loan our products and try them out before you buy.”



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ensory rooms, equipment, tools, toys and integration are growing in popularity, and rightly so. The effect sensory stimulation has on children and adults, either with sensory processing disorders or on the autistic spectrum, are phenomenal. There are certain companies in the UK that specialise is the sensory field to help people of all ages and their families regulate their emotions and feelings through their senses. The OT Magazine has listed a selection of the market leaders to help make it easy for you to choose the right equipment or environments for your clients.

SpaceKraft SpaceKraft has been creating MultiSensory Environments for over 22 years, constantly at the leading edge of their evolution from the s concepts of relaxation rooms to the high-tech interactive rooms of the 21st century. Customers welcome the combination of expertise, attention to detail and long term support which SpaceKraft provide. For them, a project represents the beginning of a long term relationship and they are proud that many customers return time and again and recommend them as a supplier. Every one of their projects have unique needs. The age range of the users, their particular

sensory experience re uirements, the building or space available and the budget all shape the re uirements of a specific pro ect. These environments are recognised to provide an enhanced sensory experience for the able bodied too and this capablility is increasingly being used within mainstream education to stimulate students’ curiosity and bring lesson’s to life. SpaceKraft have representatives that cover the whole of the country visiting customers to discuss their individual needs, give free quotes and can provide 3D drawings of what the perfect sensory room would look like.

26/06/2017 15:51



Experia Innovations Sensory Plus SensoryPlus Ltd is one of the UK’s leading independent sensory equipment providers from single catalogue items through to entire environments. At SensoryPlus they strive to exceed customer expectations by offering a sensitive and collaborative approach. By working closely with customers and by understanding the intelligent application of sensory equipment they aim to bring sight, touch, smell and sound to the sensory impaired. SensoryPlus realise the significance and potential impact of every tool offered. They are quoted as saying: “The oy of sensory e uipment is not inherent or aesthetic the oy of sensory equipment is the response engendered in the user.” With a reputation based on innovation, quality design, manufacture and customer service they offer a complete service: • No obligation advice and product demonstrations • Free design and quotation • Quality manufacture and installation • Informative user guides and instruction • Staff training • Servicing and maintenance • Customer service and support • Peace of mind


inding sensory solutions for children is all about understanding what each child needs. Are they a sensory seeker, sensory avoider or sensory under responder? They may not necessarily fit into ust one category all of the time. For example, they may be startled by noise, yet need a visual reminder to stay on task. Yet they may also love to play hard. The key is to recognize each individual’s sensory differences and needs to help them advocate and accommodate as needed. It is crucial to consider what skills you’ll be helping each child to develop, what their current abilities are (different people also progress at different rates), and what personal interests or preferences they have i.e. what rewards they respond to, so that you can create a sensory scenario that has the best chance of encouraging them to improve their sensory integration skills. Thanks to decades of research, collaboration with occupational therapists, through listening to teachers and nursing staff and by interacting with the end users themselves in order to understand their experience, Experia has come to learn exactly what works across the full spectrum of abilities. Whilst every child is a unique individual, there is still so much that we all still have in common, so once you know who your users are and what skills you want to develop or behaviours you want to promote, the rest will fall into place.

Following decades of designing and installing sensory equipment, Experia has specifically developed its IRiS (Interactive Reward System) technology so that all the multisensory solutions in a room work together, individually, or through any combination of input and output in order to help OTs create a personalised interactive reward system for each individual child they’ll be working with. In other words, it allows you to use any type of switch to control any combination of products in your sensory room depending on what each child responds best to. Taking this a step further, Experia’s specially developed Room Director Software enables you to create and save your own multisensory scenarios on a PC, so that you can drag-anddrop instructions, videos, music, themes, sounds and control of any of your multisensory products into a timeline of your choosing, in order to suit the specific needs and desires of those using the equipment. There is no point installing sensory e uipment ust because it looks cool or interesting – it has to have a purpose, and that purpose should be to help your users learn, develop valuable life skills, fulfil their potential and better en oy their lives. Everything Experia does is carefully designed to make a real difference to the users, whatever their abilities. Get it right and your multisensory equipment can change lives.


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26/06/2017 13:09

Our useful, fun & colourful products respond to the needs of children with disabilities, their families and occupational therapists



Monday 25th - Wednesday 27th September Watling Street, Hinckley, LE10 3JA

Moving & Handling Who really cares?


The only conference of its type Don’t miss out on the most important CPD moving and handling event of the year. The role of National Back Exchange NBE is to promote excellence in all aspects of moving and handling in order to reduce potential injury to patients, staff and carers. The Conference brings together an in uential group of people and visitors to learn, debate, network and re ect and is the U A E D key event in the oving and Handling calendar. It is an excellent opportunity to meet within a multidisciplinary environment, with those working to promote the health, safety and welfare of staff and patients.

Put the dates in your diary NOW

This includes moving and handling advisors, ergonomists, academics, therapists, nurses, occupational advisors, social care and industry, all in one venue. The Conference and Exhibition will feature strategic plenary lectures, practical workshops, streamed presentations, equipment evaluation workshops and exhibitor interactive workshops. The exhibition affords delegates the opportunity to have a ‘hands on’ experience of all the latest moving and handling equipment.

For further details and booking forms email or call 01327 358855

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26/06/2017 15:17

Become a


What does it take to become a lecturer?

Clinic to classroom


Louise Andrews talks about making the transition from OT to lecturer

s prospective OTs prepare to ake eir firs steps into the profession by starting university after summer, more and more ualified and established s are looking into heading back to school. ot to learn though, but to impart their own wealth of

knowledge and help shape the next generation of s. But if you are conscious of the leap between practice and teaching, University of Essex lacement ead for ouise Andrews can here dispel any misconceptions as she discusses her own positive experiences

that have allowed her to keep her hand in practice, but also put her stamp on education. “I was an in the acute setting working in a very fast paced hospital and then moved into the rehab side of ,” ouise began. “I then had my first child and whilst working within my rehab  www.

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26/06/2017 13:10

Become a

LECTURER role I attended a careers event where the then Head of School at the university discussed the opportunities available at the university for clinicians looking to become involved in education. He asked me, ‘’Have you thought about going into education?” I said, “Not really,” but he told me to keep an eye on the website. I did and a month later a job came up and I thought I’d give it a go. “I had quite a gruelling interview where I had to talk about how I’d make that transition and what my research interests were and I was offered the job!” For Louise, the transition was made all the easier with the support of the school who allowed her to work four days a week - reduced to three after her second child - and use her strengths from practice. “They were really supportive in offering me part-time work and I felt they were very good at allowing me to use my clinical skills. “It wasn’t just a case of go in and start lecturing, it was very much I was given a choice in what areas I thought I would be good at teaching. I’m very much a practical OT, so I really liked the skills aspects. “Also, at that time the then placement tutor had decided to hand her notice in and as I’m really interested in preparing 66


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students for placements and making sure students have quality learning experiences I was able to move sideways into the role as placement coordinator for OT,” she added.

day to day basis as OTs we teach our students, so the skills I gained in my OT training and being a clinician, I’ve managed to share with my students. The approach and communication you have with your clients puts you in quite good stead for teaching.

The great thing about education is that you get to constantly develop your learning

Louise, who closely studied the transition while undertaking her ost raduate Certificate in Higher Education says while there is considerable research into practice to teaching as the appetite grows, the base skills developed in practice can be taken straight into the lecture theatres. She said: “There are lots of transferrable skills from OT to teaching. Everything we use on a

“ aving confidence in your own abilities helps. I did feel confident in what I was doing but if I wasn’t sure I would always ask. Because I have that enthusiasm for OT, I have that to share which helps,” she added. In her time with the university since 2009, she has used her

26/06/2017 13:10

Become a

LECTURER fresh knowledge of the practice side and implemented it into the curriculum, creating many different placement opportunities and working with a colleague in developing role emerging placements. “We rewrote all of the educator training and because I was so new out of practice, I knew what information educators needed and what skills and training were required. We developed new placement preparation sessions and debriefs for students whilst teaching on the skills based modules. So I was very fortunate in that I was still spending a lot of time out in practice, developing and maintaining

placement links and also linking clinicians with the academic setting to enable them to find out about opportunities available to them in relation to teaching and assessment.” But on top of creating new methods to develop students, Louise has also found her own professional development improve with the slight career change, highlighting some positives involved in the change of direction.

More people than I anticipated are interested in lecturing “The great thing about because I think education is you get that they are that to constantly your keen to share develop learning - it’s their knowledge not a case of you’re and enthusiasm because not always in practice with others clinical you feel out

of date. “The university provides some exibility, more so than in clinical practice. I’ve been in education longer than I was in practice now, having ualified from Canterbury University in 2004, leaving practice at the end of 2009 and being at the university ever since, but I don’t feel distant from practice because of my role. “More people than I anticipated are interested in lecturing because I think that they are keen to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with others and narrow that link between the academic setting and practice. “What potentially puts some people off is the thought of standing five days a week, eight hours a day lecturing - but that’s not the case! “We are involved in so many things. Yes, we’ll teach but there is so much involvement outside of that. “I was always really keen at networking and getting to know others. OT is a relatively small world and developing professional links is vital! There are many more opportunities available to OTs that you maybe don’t necessarily realise.” But despite having had a smooth transition into the world of education, Louise still has one last piece of advice. “ ake your mark in practice first to develop your skills and ensure you are confident in the role that you do,” she advised. “I was fairly confident as an and if I hadn’t been, or was less experienced, I wouldn’t have been as prepared.” www.

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26/06/2017 13:10

C&S seating

22 Theaklen Drive Ponswood Industrial Estate Hastings East Sussex TN38 9AZ 01424 853331

Products designed and developed to aid basic postural management. T Rolls

Kidz to Adultz Scotland

Thursday 14th September 2017 9.30 am—4.30pm Royal Highland Exhibition Centre, Edinburgh, EH28 8NB

One of the largest FREE UK events supporting children & young adults up to 25 years with disabilities and additional needs, their families, carers and the professionals who support them.

 FREE Entry  FREE Parking

T Rolls are used to control position of the body in supine lying.

 Easy Access

See our web site for our full range of postural control & support products.

 FREE CPD Seminars  130+ Exhibitors  Children Welcome

Alternative Positioning Support The APS is designed for use where more control of the abducted lower limbs is required.

Win £250 worth of vouchers! Register online & attend an event in 2017 to be entered into the draw. The winner will be announced on our website December 2017

Register for your visitors’ FREE entry tickets from our NEW website Or simply contact Disabled Living: Email: or Tel: 0161 607 8200 Tickets are not compulsory, you can register on arrival. Main Sponsor

Organised by

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Made in UK

25/05/2016 10:00

Gone Sailing!

Calvert Trust Exmoor enables people of and to experience exciting, challenging, and enjoyable accessible activity holidays with family and friends.

At our five star, fully accessible residential centre on the edge of Exmoor National Park all activities and facilities are specifically designed and equipped to cater for everyone. Stay with us for a few days, a week, or just for the day; however long you’re here you’ll discover CAN


Adverts_OT-Iss17.indd 68

26/06/2017 15:23



Nomination time The Occupational Therapy Show awards are now open for nominations.



he Occupational Therapy Show, which takes place on 22 and 23 November 2017, has announced that after last year’s great success, The Occupational Therapy Show Awards have returned for 2017, in partnership with the OTCoach.

reward. These new awards are a chance to celebrate the work of OTs”. The winner(s) of each award (not per person) will be awarded £250, plus a place on OTCoach’s ‘Coaching Skills for OTs’ online course, worth £120.

For 2017, there will be three award categories: 1. Outstanding OTTI/OTA/ Service User Contribution Award 2. Outstanding Occupational Therapist Award 3. Outstanding Occupational Therapy Leadership and Innovation Award, supported by The OT Magazine

All nominees will receive a special gift from OT Coach, there is so much the bestselling e-book ‘Selling OT: from great work OT idea to value happening out proposition’. there and many

Nominations for the awards are open to all OT professionals, so start submitting your nominations for the OTs work without For more information awards! The awards are due recognition or on the awards, or if you aimed at grass roots OT would like to submit reward professionals, whether an entry, please visit in the statutory or private sector, to recognise and celebrate outstanding contributions made to both the profession and to the clients The Occupational Therapy Show takes they serve. place on the 22nd and 23rd November Jen Gash, from OTCoach, will be chairing the 2017 awards and said “There is so much great work happening out there and many OTs work without due recognition or

2017 at the NEC, Birmingham, so if you haven’t already done so, make sure you and your colleagues register for free today at


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26/06/2017 13:11



Biomagnetic therapy A placebo or a force to be reckoned with?



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26/06/2017 13:11



Supporters also claim magnet therapy can be effective in the control of chronic depression and sleep-related disorders...”


t has been claimed it can improve blood ow, boost circulation, accelerate healing, promote a sense of health and wellbeing and even create a more youthful appearance. But what is bio-magnet therapy and is there any evidence that it can accelerate the healing process? Magnet therapy is an alternative practice based on the concept that our bodies form an electro-magnetic field that responds to the use of static, socalled therapeutic magnets in healing. This alternative, natural therapy is formed on the basis that iron makes up around 4% of our bodies’ blood content and magnets attract metal. Simple. But how do proponents claim it works? Because magnets are alkaline, it is claimed they counteract any acidity in the body caused by disease and in turn, they accelerate healing. Supporters of the system say that when the north side of a magnet, which is negative, is placed on a centre of pain, it increases the ow of fresh, oxygenated blood to that area of the body, in much the same way as exercising. That is why, in the use of magnetic mattress pads, the magnets a patient is lying on must be facing north – a technique it is claimed can reduce trauma, swelling and bruising and

neutralise the body’s acidity. Magnetic mattress pads, which are being used in insomnia clinics in the US, are claimed to help people in pain whose healing process is slowed down because they experience disrupted sleep. Champions of the technique say it can relieve general aches and pains, rebalance hormones and is an energy booster for anyone who has arthritis, rheumatism, bone degeneration and morning stiffness. They also claim magnets prevent further stiffness and soreness by stopping unwanted calcification occurring in joints. Supporters also claim magnet therapy can be effective in the control of chronic depression and sleep-related disorders and some users have even reported physical rejuvenation. The range of products available commercially is growing rapidly, from jewellery to pillows, blankets and knee and elbow bandages. It is claimed that magnetic therapy jewellery helps speed up the healing of bruises, sprains and post-operation ailments. Users, particularly those with arthritis, have also reported reduced pain and a feeling of improved health, mind and body. But not everyone subscribes to the ability of the humble magnet to accelerate healing.

The results of hundreds of studies have been mixed, with some studies showing very little benefit and others demonstrating powerful results. Many people in the medical community are highly sceptical about magnet therapy, insisting that numerous studies have shown that magnet therapy is probably largely useless. Medical professionals who are not advocates of alternative therapies have used clinical data from the studies where benefits were not found as ammunition to dismiss the medical use of therapeutic magnets. As well as the length of exposure, the power of the magnets used during studies which have found little or no benefits has been called into uestion by supporters of the technique. The Magnet Therapy Council insists there is now mounting feedback that magnetic therapy is helping thousands. It maintains hospitals around the world have found profound evidence of positive effects during studies conducted using high strength magnets, with lengths of exposure ranging from several weeks to several months. In its campaign for magnetic therapy to be accepted as a medical treatment by mainstream medicine, the council is calling for worldwide study into the practice to continue.


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26/06/2017 15:53

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26/06/2017 11:23


BLENKIN Student Advice

Learning in a digital era How can digital technology be used to maximise your studying potential?


raining and education has probably changed more in the last decade than it has in the last century. Such has been the pace of technological advancement we don’t just use technology we live technology. The ever-increasing list of acronyms, terminology and technology is mindboggling and can be intimidating to those born before the launch of the digital world. Occupational therapists require the ability to utilise digital tools and consume digital content seamlessly. Embracing what is available whilst at university is a great place to start. I remember as an occupational therapy student, the amazement at being able to use ‘messenger’ to contact home for free (I’m probably giving away my age now). Since then, technology has developed so fast it can be hard to keep up. As a facilitator of learning I never stop learning myself and such rapid advancements provide exciting opportunities to integrate new technology into the learning environment. Recently I’ve been experimenting with Panopto to record classroom activities which integrates with an e-learning platform for students to review post session. Whilst apprehensive at the thought of being recorded the benefits cited by my students show it is proving invaluable to their learning. For this to work though it requires active engagement from the student. If you can participate in digital learning opportunities, either classroom based or in your own time, my advice would be to get involved. Your educational journey will be a richer experience as a result. As we are in a constant cycle of juggling so many different occupational roles, the exibility to learn or revisit material when it’s convenient to you has its advantages. Utilising digital content provides the

opportunity to do this. I’m certainly not ready to pass up a nice new textbook to add to my bookshelf for there’s nothing quite like the feeling of a real book in your hand. Despite this, I’m sold by the richness digital content adds to my professional development and that of my students. A word of caution though, just because it’s online doesn’t make it accurate. Approach with caution - check content with other sources for accuracy and validity. Being able to decipher the facts from the fiction is ust part of the challenge presented by the digital world. You will already be becoming familiar with a number of different digital platforms and most universities have IT training sessions and support available to help with these. Make the most of virtual learning environments such as blackboard and moodle. Embrace them, immerse yourself and become ofay with the digital platforms related to your profession. As the summer holidays are upon us now is a good time to consolidate your learning. Go back through all your learning materials and make a list of

all the areas that you need to read more about. Challenge yourself to see what digital content you can find to supplement your learning. Proliferate your future careers with gusto. Follow the Royal College of Occupational Therapists hot topics. Get involved with Twitter’s #OTalk. See what other useful resources you can find and Tweet it to me at @OTBlenkin with the #digitallearningforOT. If you are a student who would like some advice send your questions to

Dawn Blenkin

MA, SFHEA, PGCE LTHE, BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy

Dawn is a senior lecturer at Teesside University. She also holds external roles as a specialist advisor to the CQC and is a visitor who inspects educational programmes on behalf of the HCPC.


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26/06/2017 13:12





Looking for a

new job? VISIT

If you’re in the market for a new OT job then get on to our website. We’ve got all the latest OT jobs in our Careers section. Remember to sign up to our mail out to get up to date job alerts.

Find the staff VISIT Post a job to...




America L

iving in the Google Age and watching on as the ever-evolving platform of social media gains more and more popularity, it’s no wonder that the world of OT is closer than ever. OTs can connect and collaborate with their peers from across the globe as readily as the touch of a button, giving the term ‘it’s a small world’ a whole new 21st century meaning. And as ideas are shared online from all four corners of the world, we catch up with two OTs from across the Atlantic in the US to see what happens stateside. 


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26/06/2017 13:12


Sandra Schefkind Name: Sandra Schefkind Occupation: Occupational Therapist Location: Bethesda, Maryland, USA Education: BSc Tufts University, MSc Temple University, Clinical Doctorate Thomas Jefferson University


or over 25 years, Sandra Schefkind has provided occupational therapy services in schools, clinics, homes and hospitals. She has held numerous clinical and administrative positions including Director of Occupational Therapy at Bryn Mawr Hospital and Director of Early Childhood at Imagination tage, a non-profit arts organisation that provides professional theatre productions and educational opportunities to children with and without disabilities. For the past 11 years, she has served as Paediatric Program Manager in the Professional Affairs Division at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

What was it that interested you in OT? My older sister is an OT, but I had an interest in science and health for many years. As a teenager, I volunteered in hospitals and at camps for individuals with disabilities –these experiences sparked my interest in OT.

What was it like studying OT? My OT undergraduate courses were often held off the main campus at the medical school—we had to be bussed there, separating us from the rest of the campus activity. I studied at my masters and doctorate while working full-time, presenting a significant time management challenge.

How long was the course? The undergraduate study was four years, the graduate study was two and



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the doctoral studies was two-and-ahalf years.

When did you graduate? I completed my doctoral studies in 2016, so being a student is fresh in my mind. It is humbling to resume a student role after so many years of practice.

It is important to remember that a paediatric OT needs strong skills to engage with adults too What drew you to paediatrics? I have served people of all ages. It is important to remember that a paediatric OT needs strong skills to engage with adults too, when teaming with family, educators, etc. My background in music and theatre connected me to the value of play - a primary childhood occupation.

Is there anything you would change?

I wish more people came to visit AOTA to see the value of their membership. Practitioners sometimes struggle with advocating/articulating the value of the profession. I have been working hard to build networks and knowledge through a community of practice. CoP offers a mentored capacity building strategy. We currently have eight CoPs that members can join so we can discuss issues and develop actions together.

Can you tell me about a time that sticks in your mind when you feel you really helped someone? I remember the time a mother cried from happiness when she discussed how challenging it was to go to the park with her child with autism and how grateful she was to participate in the community play programme with her son. She explained that the programme was building his social skills but also helping her - by providing a place of belonging and equal access for her family.

Where do you work now? I work at the ational ffice at AOTA, so I no longer offer direct service. However, I volunteer weekly as a band-aide for adults with disabilities. Professional musicians, volunteers, and community members with disabilities come together to rehearse and perform concerts. This reminds me of my commitment to service and improving access and participation.

What are some of the advantages of practicing paediatric OT in America? The strong academic programmes across the country, the vibrancy and commitment of practitioners, students, and researchers to the profession and clients.

26/06/2017 13:13


Brent Braveman Name: Brent Braveman

Occupation: Occupational Therapist, Director of Rehabilitation Services, University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Centre Location: Houston, Texas, USA Education: BSc University of New Hampshire, MSc Education George Washington University, Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health University of Illinois


raveman is a 2006 recipient of the Leadership Fellow from The American Occupational Therapy Association/American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTA/AOTF), a 2006 recipient of the Excalibur Award for Teaching Excellence from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a recipient of the Certificate of Distinction from Phi Theta Epsilon, the national honour society for occupational therapy and the 2004 recipient of the President’s Award for the Alexian Brother’s AIDS Ministry in Chicago.

What was it that interested you in OT?

I was always interested in sciences and a career in health. I volunteered in a PT department in high school and it lacked the creativity I desired (because it was a small acute care hospital and I saw a lot of crutch training for broken ankles). I told my supervisor I was going to stop coming and after she asked why, she said, “You sound like you should be an OT,” and made me agree to volunteer in the OT department. I was immediately hooked and knew that was what I wanted to do for my career. I love problem solving and helping others to meet their goals.

What was it like studying OT?

I went to school in the eighties at the height of the biomechanics era. I received a wonderful education but it lacked today’s focus on occupationbased intervention. I did receive a strong grounding in mental health and therapeutic use of self and a lot of support for my early interest in leadership and management. It was also an interesting time to be a male entering OT. I was one of three men in my class and our class wasn’t very diverse. We still struggle with diversity as a discipline but it seems like we may be making some headway in terms of gender and other forms of diversity.

We will struggle with diversity as a discipline but it seems like we may be making some headway in terms of gender and other forms of diversity What drew you to cancer care and rehabilitation? Honestly, I was initially recruited by a head hunter and wasn’t really interested interested. She was very good at her job and got me to visit for an interview and I was blown away. The passion of the staff at every level was immediately evident and at the end of the first day I had to work at MD Anderson! I have been there six years and it was the best decision I ever made. I lead a team of just over 100 therapy professionals and their commitment to improving the life of people living with cancer is stunning. I am challenged every day and I feel like I have spent my time in an important and worthy pursuit.

What are some of the advantages of practicing cancer care and rehabilitation OT in America? There has been an explosion of interest in cancer rehabilitation in America. The body of evidence is growing rapidly and the American Occupational Therapy Association

and other professional bodies are putting a lot of focus on training, education and the development of competencies. I am very lucky to work at a place like MD Anderson because we have a lot of resources. Most cancer rehabilitation takes place in smaller, community-based acute care hospitals or physical owned practices and patients there are not always as lucky to have access to OT and PT.

Is there anything you would change? I hope we can figure out our health care system and address the problems of health disparities and the social injustice of inequity in access to quality care. This is especially evident when you look at the variations in cancer care across populations in the US.

Can you tell me about a time that sticks in your mind when you feel you really helped someone? I had a patient whose family struggled to get him home for the short time he had left for him to die at home. He was stuck in our bureaucracy and couldn’t get the durable medical equipment he needed for his family to be able to safely care for him. I intervened and worked with vendors that had helped us in the past to get most of what he needed. It was enough for him to safely discharge home and he and his family were very grateful. It was rewarding and satisfying to know that I was able to have a positive impact on the quality of the short time he had left with his family.

What was that process like? It was incredibly frustrating and rewarding. he frustration is amplified by the fact that I know my staff struggle with issues like this every day and we are not often successful in winning the battle against the system. But I know that as a manager I play a critical role in the rehabilitation process of our patients. This example helped some of my staff to see that I ‘get it’ and that I understand and appreciate the clinical needs of our patients.


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26/06/2017 13:13

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Occupational Therapists needed for flexible shifts and long-term placements

University College London Hospitals (UCLH) Bank is currently recruiting Occupational Therapists. We have both ad hoc shifts and longer term work available with weekly pay at competitive rates. As well as offering a great location and flexible working options, UCLH Bank workers are given priority shifts over agency workers and benefit from a unique opportunity to gain experience in one of the best teaching hospitals in the UK, if not the world. If you have HCPC registration, contact our recruitment team or visit to begin working with one of the country’s leading NHS Trusts committed to delivering top-quality patient care.

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• Work with like-minded clinicians at the top of their field, most of whom are OTs. • We are not a typical ‘agency’, meaning you will have access to continuous, collaborative and structured professional development. • You enjoy report writing and are looking for a flexible role to complement your hands-on therapy work. • Become the OT you trained to be and maximise your clinical potential. Learn more by visiting our website or by attending one of our open evenings in Gatwick, Salisbury, Reading or Nottingham. W: T: 01722 342 512

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26/06/2017 11:24

Student ADVICE

Final year tips T

he end is in sight for many OT students this September, but it just so happens that between them and the finish line are assignments, placements and activities that they need to overcome. It may seem overwhelming, but you’ve gotten this far, so you’ll make it through your final year. o help you through, here’s The OT Magazine’s top tips to keep calm and carry on.

Update your CV (and keep updating it)

Job opportunities may present themselves at any time so don’t be left panicking about your out-of-date CV. Starting the year with an updated CV means you won’t be left short when a tight job application deadline crops up and you’ll have one less thing on an ever-growing to-do list. Take a day to sit down as if you were applying for your dream job tomorrow. It can be tedious but by ensuring you are on top of it (and keep on top of it after every placement), you can make the job application process slightly less stressful, and much quicker.

Dissertation advice A good support network throughout your final year can be a great source of comfort when you’re not quite sure about something. But make sure you don’t get too caught up in what everyone else is doing. If someone else is 1500 words further into their dissertation than you, don’t go straight into panic mode. Speak to your supervisor to see if where you are is right for you and if not, they’ll help you get back on track. It is easier said than done, but the key is to stay calm and focused on yourself. There’s always a good reason for why you and your friend are at different stages of your different dissertations. And make use of time offered by your supervisor, they’re there for a reason.

Don’t stretch yourself too much

ny our final year will see ma are t tha se ari s itie opportun be careful perfect for your CV, but take you at and selective in wh or ch mu too on on, don’t take lly rea it en wh out n bur l you wil matters.

Get a good, sturdy diary

It may seem obvious, but a good diary should be your first port of call. By all means have an electronic version too, but a diary can help keep everything in order and the stress levels down. With deadlines and dates for your diary piling up, keeping it all in one place so you can check instantly can calm worries or clear up confusion. A diary can be like an anchor that steadies the ship and is great for time management too. Make sure it has a decent cover that can handle constant use or being thrown off a wall or out the window when you’ve had enough.

Look ahead early If you even think yo u may be interested in a po st-grad, get looking early. Spea k to your course leader or ha ve a look at other universities and get your ducks in a row to save yourself from extra stress down the line.


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26/06/2017 13:14

Events 17-19 July 2017

Posture & Mobility Group Conference

Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff An educational programme, industry exhibition and networking opportunities for professionals. The event focuses on the posture and mobility needs of wheelchair users. To sign up for the event and for further information visit

27-28 July 2017

7 September 2017

DNEX 2017 Exhibition


Newcastle Racecourse, Newcastle upon Tyne This free exhibition provides information, advice and equipment for disabled people, older adults, carers and health and social care professionals on a range of disability related issues. DNEX provides a unique opportunity to handle and sample products and services first-hand, empowering you or those around you to live independently. Running alongside Disabled Living Foundation’s Moving & Handling People North event. For more information about DNEX 2017 contact the events team on 0191 284 0480 or visit

Kent Event Centre, Maidstone Brought to you by Made2Aid, this is the combined conference and exhibition for health professionals and disabled people to resource and identify suitable equipment. Free to attend and is also CPD accredited for healthcare professionals. Further information is available at

22-23 November 2017

The Occupational Therapy Show Day 1: 9am-5.30pm Day 2: 9am-4.30pm, NEC, Birmingham

Join the UK’s largest, free-to-attend, dedicated event just for OTs! This CPD education and trade show offers a total of 60 hours of professional development to be obtained over the two days and access to over 100 OT focused and interactive lectures, seminars and practical workshops. Registration open - book your tickets and find more information at


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Throughout 2017

Kidz Exhibitions

Kidz to Adultz Scotland: 14 September, Highland Hall, Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh Kidz to Adultz North: 16 November, EventCity, Manchester All exhibitions run 9:30am4:30pm. Dedicated to children with disabilities and special needs, their parents, carers and professionals who work with them. Over 130 exhibitors offer information on mobility, funding, seating, beds, communication, access, education, toys and much more. A full programme of CPD seminars runs alongside each exhibition. More info call 0161 607 8200 or visit

26/06/2017 13:14


The team at The OT Magazine are striving to produce a magazine that provides s with a useful resource filled with relevant information, interesting articles, innovative products and thoughts and opinions from OTs themselves. We would love to hear your thoughts on The OT Magazine to ensure we are producing a publication that you want to read.

your details First Name: ..................................................................................................... Surname: ......................................................................................................... Address: ........................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................. Postcode: ......................................................................................................... Tel:...................................................................................................................... Email: ................................................................................................................ Age:

under 25:


41-60 :

over 60:

Are you: a) an occupational therapist b) a professional in the healthcare industry c) a student of occupational therapy Are you an independent OT? Yes


your opinion What would you like to see in The OT Magazine? • Products ....................................................................................................... • Case studies of products and methods in practice.................... • Columns from OTs ................................................................................... Interviews with s from different fields ...................................... • Research articles ...................................................................................... • Services available for patients ........................................................... • Information on respite and accessible holidays ......................... • Information on events and exhibitions .......................................... • information for students ....................................................................... • Recruitment section................................................................................ • Other (please specify) ............................................................................................................................. .............................................................................................................................

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What is your overall impression of The OT Magazine





Sendthis form to:

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July / August


Title (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/Dr): ......................................................................


26/06/2017 13:15



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e hope you have enjoyed The OT Magazine and have found it informative and enjoyable to read. If you would like to register to receive a free copy of the maga ine every issue, simply ďŹ ll in your details and post back this form to the address provided or visit to register online. The OT Magazine is out every two months and every issue will include a wide range of products, news stories, personal stories and informative articles. If you would like to have your say on what you would like to see in the magazine, email We would love to hear your thoughts.

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