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  • Peacehaven Community School: Continuing to raise the importance of SLCN

    Peacehaven Community School, were this year's winners of the Secondary School of the Year, Shine a Light Award. We caught up with Clare O'Rourke, Speech and Language Teacher at PCS to hear about what the school has been doing since winning this prestigious award.

    Since winning the Shine a Light Secondary School of the Year award last year Peacehaven Community School has continued to develop our SLCN practice.

    We enjoyed a wonderful fund-raising day in October. Staff and students were invited to pay £1 to wear a Onesie for the day with all proceeds going to Leisha’s campaign to raise funds to buy a new electric wheelchair. To launch the day Leisha, a year 8 student with cerebral palsy that affects her speech as well as her mobility, plucked up the courage to address two whole school assemblies. She explained that as well as improving her access to workstations in lessons, the new wheelchair would also help her to join in with conversations with her peers, as she will be able to move around the school in an upright, standing position. Her clear message that she was ‘sick of not being able to join in conversations going on over my head’! was a real eye-opener for the other students.

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  • No Pens Wednesday 2014 - A big success! - Guest blog post

    No Pens Day Wednesday 2014 took place on Wednesday 15th October and was an overwhelming success!

    We had over 1,700 schools registered this year, our most popular year yet! This year we have also seen a huge boost in registrations from those working in Early Years settings and special schools, with dedicated resources available for these settings appearing for the first time in No Pens Day 2014. It’s been wonderful that so many new schools and settings have taken part this year and we have been lucky enough to hear about the innovative ways that some of you have used the Trust’s materials.

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  • Dr Aaron T Beck - Awarded the Kennedy Community Health Award

    Congratulations to author of the Beck Inventories, Dr Aaron T. Beck who became the first recipient of the Kennedy Community Health Award from the Kennedy Forum on October 23rd.

    The award marks the 50th anniversary of Community Mental Health Act – the last piece of legislation that was signed by President John F. Kennedy which transformed the way mental illness was treated. Dr. Beck was honored as the father of cognitive therapy and as one of the most influential individuals within the community of mental health.

    Find out more on the Aaron Beck Center website

    Learn more about the assessments that make up the Beck Inventories on our website.

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  • Winner of the COT Pearson Award for education, research or CPD announced

    Samantha Armitage, a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists (BAOT), has been named as the winner of the 2013 COT Pearson Award for education, research or continuing professional development. 

    Samantha has been qualified as an occupational therapist for eight years and has worked in paediatrics for six. Samantha currently works for East Cheshire NHS Trust as a community children’s occupational therapist.

    Read the full press release, and Samantha's reaction to the news.

    Following the announcement we caught up with Samantha to find out more about her background and how the COT Pearson Award will support her development.

    Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your background and training?

    I have been qualified as an Occupational Therapist for eight years and have worked in paediatrics for six years. I currently work for East Cheshire NHS Trust as a community children’s OT. As a paediatric practitioner I commenced post-graduate training in Sensory Integration Therapy four years ago, learning the foundations of theory, skills and evidence to guide practice when using the approach. I integrated knowledge and skills from this training into my NHS work to consolidate my learning, whilst also reflecting on the practical application of learning outcomes into the NHS environment through case studies, bringing together theory, evidence and practice.

    After a 12 month secondment to complete a Master of Research qualification, I have returned to practice and identified the need to develop more specialist services for children with Sensory Processing Disorders. Continuing my progress along the Sensory Integration post graduate training pathway, offered through the collaborate efforts of the Sensory Integration Network and The University of Ulster, will enable me to develop services in a methodological, specialised and evidence based way, ensuring children and families receive the most effective therapy and achieve optimum health outcomes. Winning the Pearson Award this year has allowed me to pursue this goal.

    What encouraged you to apply for the BAOT and Pearson Assessment award?

    As the NHS provide such eclectic health services, particularly in community paediatric settings, securing funding for developing more specialist areas of practice is difficult as resources are prioritised for learning and development which will be generalised across services. Resourcefulness is therefore needed to find ways in which these much needed specialist services can be developed. I saw the BAOT and Pearson Assessment Award through the announcement of annual awards in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy and saw an opportunity to apply for support in the CPD element of developing this service.

    Which course(s) will you be attending?

    I will be attending a course entitled ‘From Assessment to Practice’, the second module on the Sensory Integration post graduate training pathway. This modular pathway has been developed collaboratively between the Sensory Integration Network and The University of Ulster to offer a total of three modules of learning where specialist skills, knowledge and practice can be gained in Sensory Integration and academic recognition of learning is awarded. The learning outcomes for module 2 are based around the selection, utilisation and evaluation of assessment tools for practice including structured and unstructured clinical observations as well as use of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT), a standardised assessment tool. The module is split into two blocks of teaching, I will be attending my first block in June, complete two months of consolidation where I will apply learning to practice and return for the second taught week in September.

    Why did you choose these courses? 

    My interest in Sensory Integration started when I was a student OT on placement, in paediatrics, with an educator who was passionate about Sensory Integration and the role it has within child development. This spurred me to commence formal training in 2010 as a qualified OT. I was fortunate to be supported by East Cheshire NHS Trust in applying this training to practice, developing my understanding of Sensory Integration (SI) and my therapeutic practice.

    As my own understanding of the role of SI has developed, I have been able to recognize more clearly the needs of children with Sensory Processing Disorders and wish to continue to develop a service that can be responsive to these needs. The course selected allows me to build on my previous knowledge, ensuring my CPD is progressive in this area and will allow me to amalgamate research, evidence and practice ensuring knowledge and skills gained are current and evidence based, qualities which will be reflected in practice.

    What outcomes are you hoping to achieve?

    Specific learning outcomes are clearly related to assessing, identifying, diagnosing and differentiating Sensory Processing Disorders in children in order to recognize when Sensory Integration Therapy is indicated for intervention. These outcomes will be achieved through critically appraising the approach, ensuring appropriate selection in practice, reliably administering and analysing the SIPT and incorporating information gained into clinical reasoning, applying sensory integration techniques into assessment practices and through applying evidence, practice, experience and theory to the clinical process of diagnosis and treatment of Sensory Processing Disorder.

    Generalised outcomes are to improve the quality of services received by children with Sensory Processing Disorders and their families through providing evidence based, specialist services which are effective and able to optimize health outcomes.

    Congratulations Samantha, we look forward to hearing how your course goes later in the year. 

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  • Interview with Lisa Dibsdall 2012 winner of the first COT & Pearson Award

    Last year saw us launch the first College of Occupational Therapists (COT) and Pearson Assessment Award for education, research or continuing professional development. As we eagerly await the outcome of this years award, we spoke with 2012 winner Lisa Dibsdall.

    Lisa, congratulations on winning the first COT and Pearson Assessment award for education, research, or CPD. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your background and training?

    I am married and have two boys, 8 and 6 years old. I am currently undertaking a PhD degree with the University of the West of England, part time, looking at the role and impact of occupational therapists working in reablement services. I have been an occupational therapist for 11 years. I work part time as a Senior Practitioner Occupational Therapist in social care for Wiltshire Council. I first heard about occupational therapy when I worked in personnel for a mental health care trust, typing job descriptions. I gained a position as an occupational therapy assistant and undertook a part time degree with the University of West of England to become an occupational therapist. Since qualifying I have also gained an MSc in Advanced Occupational Therapy with St Loyes School of Occupational Therapy in Exeter.

    What encouraged you to apply for this award?

    I am a self funded PhD student. The United Kingdom Occupational Therapy Research Foundation holds events for PhD students; looking at different aspects of research, including funding. The College of Occupational Therapists awards were highlighted at an event I attended. I was attracted to apply for the Pearson Assessment Award as the award was available to fund education, research or continuing professional development. I applied for the award to fund a course run by Bristol University.

    Which course did you attend?

    I attended a five day course on the Design and Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials.

    Can you tell us about your course and how it helped you?

    The course covered all aspects of clinical trials in a comprehensive way. I am evaluating randomised controlled trials as part of my literature review and the sessions covering statistics and the analysis of results have enabled me to evaluate results more confidently. The attendees on the course were from around the world working in different fields with a varied experience of working on randomised controlled trials. Hearing from attendees on the course helped me to start to identify how randomised controlled trials could be utilised in social care. On the final day we were split into groups to design a randomised controlled trial on a given topic. This exercise helped to consolidate all the information learnt during the week and highlight the need for team work. It also confirmed to me that being a statistician is not a job for me!

    What outcomes were you looking to achieve?

    I had two main outcomes I was looking to achieve by attending the course. The first concerned my own PhD study. My PhD study is using a case study approach to analyse the role of occupational therapists in reablement services. Throughout the course the importance of including qualitative data collection both during randomised controlled trials and prior to a trial to inform a trial, was highlighted. Attending the course has helped me meet my outcome of shaping the design of my study so that the results may be used to inform a potential post doctorate randomised controlled trial in reablement services.

    My second outcome was to increase my knowledge of randomised controlled trials and to be able to apply that knowledge to the social care field. Research in social care, whilst increasing, still lags behind research in the health care field. As a senior practitioner I encourage evidence based practice and would like to see more research taking place in Local Authorities. This includes audits of the effectiveness of services to increase the research available on occupational therapy in social care. Attending the course has increased my confidence in working with quantitative statistics to be able to complete small scale evaluations within my current role.

    What's next now you've completed the course?

    I am currently completing the literature review for my PhD degree. I am just about to commence collecting data for my study and hope to complete my PhD degree in July 2015.

    And finally, what would you say to other people considering applying for this award?

    I would really encourage occupational therapists to apply for this award. There are useful courses available to support research and continuing professional development. Many of these courses cost a considerable amount of money. Obtaining this award enabled me to attend a course that otherwise I would not have been able to attend. Completing the application form was a useful exercise in helping me to identify how the course would support my research training needs.

    I was delighted to be the first winner of the Pearson Assessment Award. I would like to thank Pearson again for supporting occupational therapists to develop in our profession.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us Lisa, we're pleased this award helped support your course and look forward to hearing more about your PhD studies in future.  

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  • A new review of the BCSE

    Something to brighten up a Friday afternoon. A new review of the Brief Cognitive Status Exam (BCSE) by Dr Chris. Hamilton, Consultant Clinical Psychologist.

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  • Lifetime award for memory expert Professor Alan Baddeley

    We're delighted to congratulate Professor Alan Baddeley FRS CBE on receiving this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Psychological Society’s Research Board.

    Professor Alan Baddeley is a psychologist whose research interests are in human memory, neuropsychology and in the practical application of cognitive psychology. He has published very widely on theoretical aspects of memory and was one of the authors of the original Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test (RBMT). For many years he was the Director of the Medical Research Council’s Applied Psychology Unit (now the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit) and is currently Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of York.

    Professor Badderley is co-author of a number of Pearson Assessment's tools, including the new Spot the Word - Second Edition (STW-2), Doors and People, and the bestselling Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test - Third Edition (RBMT-3). View his range of asssessments on our author page.

    Read the full article from the BPS.

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