Jessica Thurston, Chief Operating Officer at Somek and Associates, has recently had an article...
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Bsc, DipCOT, Full Member of Expert Witness Institute (MEWI)
I qualified as an Occupational Therapist from the Grampian School of Occupational Therapy, Aberdeen in 1982. Since then I have had experience of working within a wide variety of treatment settings for statutory and charitable providers of services. I have specialised in the field of paediatrics since 1995 working in community and educational settings with children and young people who have a wide range of physical disabilities, sensory impairment and learning difficulties.
In relation to clinical intervention I currently provide a consultative service to Quest school in Kent, which is a specialised school for children with autistic spectrum disorders and whose teaching methods are based on applied behavioural analysis (ABA) theories of practice, as well as working independently with children and their families within Surrey and Kent.
My medico legal work involves the assessment of children who have a variety of congenital and acquired conditions. Each case requires the compilation of comprehensive reports and I liaise with other expert witnesses and legal teams in the preparation of these. I may be called upon to present evidence in court.
I have undertaken significant moving and handling training and was responsible for the delivery of training, related to people handling skills and inanimate object moving and handling, to a staff group of approximately 200 at the Royal London Society for the Blind, whilst working at Dorton House school. I continue to carry out risk assessments, both individual and environmental, and I have completed training in accessibility audits.
I am a member of the national Children, Young People and Families specialist occupational therapy group and have been the Finance Officer for the South East regional group for the past 7 years, previously serving as co-chair for the National Association of Paediatric Occupational Therapists in the South East region before that. As part of the committee I am involved in organising an annual study day for the region.
I joined Somek and Associates in 1999 and have written many reports on Care and Occupational Therapy needs, as well as Loss of Service and Dependency reports, being instructed by Claimants and Defendants and as a single joint expert. I have carried out assessments in the UK and abroad, including the US, Europe and Trinidad.
I have undergone training in the medico-legal process and am fully aware of my responsibilities under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to Expert Witnesses. In 2008 I became a medico-legal associate trainer with Somek and Associates and I regularly help train new associates.
I completed an Expert Witness Certificate through Cardiff University Law School in September 2009.