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Evidence based practice

A key strand to our research is focused on Implementing occupation centred, evidence informed approaches into occupational therapy practice for children, young people and families.

We run a number of initiatives to promote evidenced based practice in occupational therapy.

Seminar Series

Dr Carolyn Dunford and team are leading an initiative to identify and prioritise current issues in delivering evidence based interventions for clinicians.  Over the course of this year she is running three events for children’s occupational therapists to get together and share current evidence and to agree on guidance and professional standards on for effective occupational therapy interventions. A key goal of the initiatives is to map out evidence summaries for priority interventions.  Carolyn ran a study day in April for clinicians on interventions for children with cerebral palsy. Prof Iona Novak travelled from Australia to present to the group and facilitate discussions around evidenced based practice.  Recording of the lectures during this event can be accessed here.

West London Handwriting Interest Group

Dr Mellissa Prunty runs a handwriting interest group for local teachers and therapists to promote best practice in the teaching and leanring of handwriting in the local area.  She runs three events a year to share research findings and facilitate discussions in the group about how to implement findings in practice. The group is attended by up to 100 clinicians and teachers and has been running since 2016. 

For more information on upcoming events email westoflondonhig@gmail.com.

Mind the gap

Mind the gap logoMind the gap is a community of practice comprised of group of Occupational Therapists passionate about implementing evidenced based practice when working with children, young people and families. They are clinicians, clinical academics and researchers from around the UK, Ireland and Holland.

This community first met on 11 January 2019 by invitation from the founder Dr Carolyn Dunford as part of a seminar series funded by Brunel University London. The group has met every 3-4 months since and has produced an evidence summary on home programmes published by RCOT on 7.5.20.

Infographic Occupational Therapy home programmes for children with an intellectual disorder

Infographics Occupational therapy home programmes for children with celebral palsy

The community has grown as members have suggested other people or people have approached the group to join. There are currently 40 members.

Our vision: delivering what works to address what matters. Occupational therapists working with children, young people and families, to adopt and implement evidence in their practice.

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Meet the Mind the gap team

Dr Carolyn Dunford, Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Brunel University London

Carolyn is the founder of the Mind the Gap; Evidence Based Practice Community of Practice.

Learn more about Carolyn here

Melanie Burrough, Head of Therapy School, The Children's Trust, Tadworth Court, Tadworth, Surrey

More information about Melanie coming soon. 

Charan Chana, Highly specialist paediatric occupational therapist in a busy London borough NHS team

portrait of Charan ChanaIn her 13 years career, Charan has spanned adults, mental health and paediatrics and she has worked across the NHS and private clinics in the UK and Dubai. She is passionate about service development, promoting the application of evidence based practice and focusing on participation for children and young people. 

Dr Karina Dancza, Assistant Professor Health and Social Sciences, Singapore Institute of Technology

portrait of Karina DanczaI qualified as an occupational therapist in 2000 and have worked in a range of roles related to occupational therapy with children and young people. I worked clinically in Australia and the UK for 10 years before moving into academia at Canterbury Christ Church University and undertaking a policy role at the Royal College of Occupational Therapists. In 2018 I moved to Singapore and joined the only education programme for occupational therapy in the country. My PhD research was in occupational therapy student learning processes, occupation-centred and children’s occupational therapy practice. Based on my PhD research, in 2018 I authored the textbook, Implementing Occupation-Centred Practice: A Practical Guide for Occupational Therapy Practice Learning. 

Learn more about Karina here and here

Tai Frater, Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Brunel University London

portrait of Tai FraterLearn more about Tai here

Amanda Furlong, Children’s OT Team Lead of Joint Health & Social Care service, CNWL NHS Trust, CDC, Milton Keynes

portrait of Amanda FurlongI retrained later in life (30s) after coming across OT and I was intrigued to know ‘what they did’! 12yrs post degree I feel I have a good idea.I’ve worked in an Acute setting as well as a specialist Orthopaedic Tertiary hospital, where skills learned were transferable to my main career focus – Children, Young People & Families.  In my 9 ½ years in this specialist area I have seen changes in research that have had a significant impact on how I run the service in MK.  I am passionate about learning, reflecting and changing as new research appears for the benefit of my patients, family and staff.I’ve completed post grad modules and courses throughout my career.  I am keen to share knowledge with others and regularly liaise with managers groups in both London and the Midlands – a bonus of being placed between the two.  I am a firm believer of robust Evidence Based Practise to continually evolve a service for better outcomes for the patient and family.I’m an active member of CYPF – plus the sub groups (ASD).  Due to the joint service I am also a member of the Housing special section.  My involvement in Mind The Gap research group is to provide a view/input from a NHS service as well as update the Twitter page #stilllearning!

Dr Anne Gordon, Senior Consultant Occupational Therapist Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

portrait of Anne GordonLearn more about Anne here

Sue Gudgeon, Clinical lead children’s occupational therapist North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

portrait of Sue Gudgeon I am the clinical lead for the children’s occupational therapy service in Cumbria. Our service covers health, education and social care across the whole of Cumbria. I completed my BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy degree in 2000 and my NIHR funded Masters in Clinical Research in 2011. I have a strong interest in evidence based practice and clinical effectiveness. This interest extends beyond occupational therapy and I have also been the Clinical Effectiveness NICE lead for the Children and Families care group with Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust ensuring the implementation of NICE guidance for all children’s services

Debbie Levy, Professional Lead for Occupational Therapy, Ashford Clinic, Surrey

portrait of Debbie LevyDeborah Levy is an Occupational Therapist working for CSH Surrey. She has over 20 years’ experience specialising in community children’s health services.Through strategic leadership roles in the NHS and as part of the Committee for the Specialist Section for Children, Young People and Families within the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, she has helped shape and broaden the value, benefits and reach of Occupational Therapy for children. Deborah has shared her passion through conference presentations and via her special interest in the use of social media as a networking and learning tool.Deborah prides herself on being a clinical leader driving change in the profession from within the clinical setting. She supports and promotes the application of evidence based approaches and models into community practice. She has worked in partnership with Dr Lorna Wales from The Children’s Trust to develop an “Overlap Model” which was included within a presentation titled “Breaking down the barriers of integrated cross organisational working to support the user journey through services”.at the National Occupational Therapy Conference in 2018. 

Rhiannon Macpherson, Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Glyndŵr University, Wrexham

portrait of Rhiannon MacphersonLearn more abuot Rhiannon here

Jill Massey, Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist in paediatric neurosciences, Evelina London Children’s Hospital

portrait of Jill MasseyJill Massey is a clinical specialist occupational therapist in paediatric neurosciences at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital.  Her clinical experience is predominantly in the field of child brain injury. She delivers specialist occupational therapy intervention, through protocol driven evidence informed intensive rehabilitation for children with hemiparesis. This rehabilitation is provided in partnership with parents and community-based therapists. Her clinical and research interests focus on child brain injury and rehabilitation following brain injury. Jill has been awarded an NIHR clinical doctoral research fellowship. The focus of the fellowship is: Involving parents in the co-delivery of goal directed intensive upper limb rehabilitation for children with hemiparesis. A feasibility study of a co-designed intervention

Niamh Mellerick, Associate Lecturer, Brunel University London

portrait of Niamh MellerickNiamh Mellerick is a children’s occupational therapist currently working as an associate lecturer of occupational therapy in Brunel University London. Niamh has a particular interest in working with the client population of autistic children, in the school context. Niamh is currently undertaking the European Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy. 

Dr Benita Powrie, Head of Division for Health and Rehabilitation, School of Human and Health Sciences, University of Huddersfield

portrait of Benita PowrieLearn more about Benita here.

Dr Mellissa Prunty, Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Brunel University London

portrait of Mellissa PruntyLearn more about Mellissa here

Dr Tanya Rihtman, Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Oxford Brookes University

Lportrait of Tanya Rihtmanearn more about Tanya here

Astrid Ferreira, Adolescent Mental Health Occupational Therapist

portrait of Astrid FerreiraAstrid Ferreira is a child and adolescent mental health occupational therapist working in public services with young people who struggle with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Astrid has a particular interest in service user participation in primary occupations and understanding this from a relational perspective, particularly play. Astrid also has a growing interest in the application of an occupational science lens to broaden tertiary service provision. Astrid’s masters research focused on the application of participation measures in CAMHS and she is continuing to participate in research through supervision of projects conducted by pre-registration master’s students at Brunel University. 

Áine O’Dea, PhD Scholar (SPHeRE Programme) University of Limerick

portrait of Áine O’DeaÁine O’Dea is a PhD Scholar on the Structure Population Health and Health-services Research Education (SPHeRE) programme with the Health Research Board in Ireland. Furthermore, Áine works in private practice as a consultant occupational therapist providing clinical supervision, professional development and coaching services for occupational therapists and teams. Áine has a keen interest in how occupational therapy and occupational science contribute to population health and health service research. Over two decades, Áine worked as an occupational therapist in various roles across mental health, adult health and paediatric settings.

Emma Phillips, Children's Occupational Therapist, Hillingdon Children's Therapies, Hillingdon Hospital, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL)

More information about Emma coming soon. 

Victoria Pitt, Head of Occupational Therapy at Treloar Education –school and college

I have worked in paediatric OT since 1993 in a range of settings including NHS, community, neurorehab and specialist education. My principle area of interest is use of developing technologies to enable physically disabled youngsters to control their environment and access communication and mobility. Having completed my MSc in Management of Childhood Disability – a multidisciplinary course- I am keen to review and promote evidence based approaches that support working together to meet the child and family’s needs.

Aisling Ryan, Senior Occupational Therapist

portrait of Aisling RyanAisling has a passion for childhood disability. Aisling was trained in Australia and subsequently gained valuable experience working with children in the United Kingdom and Belgium. She has worked in the community with early intervention, brain injury rehabilitation services, mainstream schooling, special educational settings and in private practice. Aisling is now working in Brisbane, Australia, supporting children with disabilities through the National Disability Insurance Scheme. She is enthusiastic about working collaboratively with both children and their families, providing evidence based practice and networking with Occupational Therapists to build our skills as a profession in delivering quality care.

Sneha Shah, Highly Specialist Children’s Occupational Therapist, Hillingdon Community Paediatric Occupational Therapy team

portrait of Sneha ShahI am one of the highly specialist Children’s Occupational Therapist in Hillingdon Community Paediatric Occupational Therapy team.I completed my Bachelors of Occupational Therapy in 2010 and since then I have mostly worked with Paediatric population in private clinics, special and mainstream school. I have got a strong interest in learning and applying evidence based practices. I am passionate about joint working and networking, service development and promoting participation in children and young people specifically with client population having handwriting difficulties and Developmental co-ordination Disorder issues. 

Dr. Vaithi Sundaram, Highly specialist paediatric occupational therapist, CDC, Hillingdon

Vaithi has over 20 years of working experience in different academic and clinical positions in India, Middle East and UK. He has post-graduate qualifications in occupational therapy, rehabilitation and psychology. His doctoral thesis research was on environment specific intervention on challenging behaviour & Quality of life families of children with ASD.

Learn more about Vaithi here

Sharon Symonds, Professional Head Occupational Therapist for Children’s and Young People’s Occupational Therapy Services, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Headquarters, Newport, Wales 

portrait of Sharon SymondsMy career in occupational therapy began as an occupational therapy technician in a rehabilitation setting. Soon after I qualified as an occupational therapist and have been practising for nineteen years. Throughout my career I have worked with children of all ages in community, paediatric and mental health settings. My area of interest is in working with children with autism particularly those with behaviours that challenge. I am a sensory integration practitioner and consider the challenges that difficulties in this area of development present for the child when participating in daily activities. I currently professionally lead the children’s occupational therapy service for Aneurin Bevan Health Board and have been in this role for three years. 

Dr Lorna Wales, Research Professional Lead, The Children’s Trust, Tadworth Court, Tadworth, Surrey

portrait of Lorna WalesLearn more about Lorna here

Dr Debbie Kramer-Roy, Director Education of the European MSc in Occupational Therapy, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and Ergotherapeut (occupational therapist), University Medical Centre Groningen, based in Special School PJF Mytylschool

portrait of Debbie Kramer-RoyDebbie has been an occupational therapist for over 30 years with clinical and community experience with children, families and schools, as well as higher education and research. Debbie has worked mainly in the UK and Pakistan, and has recently returned to the Netherlands. She is the Director Education of the European MSc in Occupational Therapy. Debbie’s main research focus has been on inclusive education and the role of school-based OT in achieving this, as well as child/family-centred occupation-based approaches more generally.

More information is here: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Debbie_Kramer-Roy

Yvonne Milton, Assistant Professor, Coventry University

portrait of Yvonne Milton Assistant professor Yvonne Milton combines roles as an occupational therapist academic, practitioner and researcher in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, Coventry University and in clinical practice with children who have experienced Developmental Trauma at Adoptionplus. Yvonne’s PhD research is on the promotion of home programmes based on evidence of best practice.