The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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PG Dip Speech and Language Pathology
I am a Specialist Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist with significant experience of working both in the NHS and Independent practice sectors. I work with children and young people who experience communication and/or eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties as a consequence of their additional and complex needs. These children may have experienced birth injury/trauma, have a diagnosis(es) linked to chromosomal/genetic involvement or have a disability associated with an acquired injury. I am highly skilled in completing extensive assessments of each child’s individual needs, providing measurable goals/outcomes and making recommendations for future management and interventions.
Within both practice sectors I have gained a clear understanding of the educational funding, review and monitoring systems as outlined through statutory legislation as part of the EHCP process. I also offer second opinion consultations for individuals as part of Local Authority Panel appeals. My NHS role has also allowed me to be part of a multi-disciplinary team, which specialises in differential diagnosis and educational placement funding for children as they transition into early years education and beyond.
I have become skilled at compiling, facilitating and evaluating topic-specific, bespoke, and accredited training to parents/carers and the wider multi-professional team. Furthermore, intrinsic to my role is the ability to differentiate my communication style so that I am able to effectively and sensitively nurture positive, professional relationships with my clients and their families. This means that they feel able to share information about their needs and wishes during both the assessment and intervention process and are also more able to be receptive to the support, recommendations and intervention that they may need to move forward to develop the new skills that will support them in the next stage of their lives.
As a professional working within two very busy practice areas I have become highly adept at triaging referrals, caseload and clinical time management. I work very effectively both individually and as part of team to provide a highly responsive and holistic standard of clinical care. I take an active interest in clinical research and thinking so that I can ensure that my practice remains evidence-based and current. I am a member of Special Interest Clinical Groups in the areas of dysphagia (eating, drinking and swallowing disorders) and complex needs.
I accept instructions from both claimant and defendant solicitors and insurers. I have undergone formal training in the medico-legal process and am fully aware of my responsibilities under Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to expert witnesses.