I qualified as an Occupational Therapist (OT) from St Andrews School of Occupational Therapy in Northampton in 1992 and have over 30 years of experience working in the NHS across a range of medical and mental health specialities. It is important to me to ensure that I am up-to-date with the current developments and this reflected in my clinical practice. This led me to further studies to expand my knowledge and develop my skills in other disciplines and practice such as counselling, and cancer and palliative care. More recently I gained a Master’s Post-Grad certificate in advance practice with Dundee University (2015), and qualifications to administer the Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication disOrders (DISCO), used to diagnose autism. In 2017, I completed a Master’s Post-Graduate Diploma in Ayres®Sensory Integration with Ulster University, qualifying me to assess and treat sensory motor and sensory sensitivities. I am a Certificated Disability Management Professional having completed the education programme delivered by the National Institute of Disability Management and Research (NIDMAR), which aims to restore and maintain workers abilities (employment focused).
Prior to joining the Saint Andrews practice I worked in a specialist autism service (mental health) for seven years. This supported my interest in neurodiversity, and lead me to explore my own differences, which resulted in diagnoses of dyslexia and ADHD. This further prompted me to study the sensory differences often experienced by the autistic, dyslexia and ADHD population. While Sensory Processing Disorder is not yet recognised as a medical condition (diagnostic criteria), it is increasingly acknowledged as having a significant impact on a person’s ability to function (productivity, leisure and social).
As and OT I use a strength-based approach to support people to identify what they are good at and the barriers that are preventing them from managing activities that are important to them: the things they need to do and those they enjoy doing. Examples include using Executive Functioning coaching to increase the efficient management of everyday tasks, studying and working (planning, organising, memory etc); managing work demands (workplace assessment, advice on reasonable adjustments, work coaching, and funding through access to work); and leisure and relaxation (self-regulation, time management)
My particular interest is in sensory differences. The way our brain processes sensory information from our environment and our bodies – what we see, here, taste, touch and how we move – is an important essential part of how we manage any activity. Sensory differences can interfere with your ability to focus, learn and organise yourself (body and mind), and may mean it is difficult for you to manage your emotional responses. Through assessment and treatment planning I would to help you to develop an understanding of the sensory inputs, why over or under- responsivity is occurring and how to use sensory input to manage responses, helping you achieve what you want and need to do.