The following article is a personal reflection on becoming an OT expert witness, by...
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BSc Occupational Therapy
Since qualifying as an OT in 2006, my career has been focused on paediatric work. I am profoundly Deaf and use a cochlear implant. I use a combination of BSL (British Sign Language) and spoken English to communicate, and I am (in some situations and for short periods) able to lip read.
I have worked with children and young adults who are born or become deaf due to a medical illness for sixteen years. During this time, I have worked with young people who use a variety of hearing aids, cochlear implants and bone anchored hearing aids. Through my work, I have gained significant experience of working with children and young people with dual sensory impairments along with other physical needs following brain injury and associated with conditions including Cerebral Palsy and CHARGE syndrome. Therefore, I am familiar with different types of equipment available (including wheelchairs and specialist seating) along with the extensive care requirements for moderate and severely disabled children and young people. In addition to this many of the children on my case load had other additional needs such as visual impairments, autism, asperger’s syndrome and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I have completed further training in a variety of areas such as postural management, handwriting and Chailey Approach to Postural management. My Postgraduate training has given me a long term aim to complete an MA focussing on Sensory Integration for Deaf children.
A large proportion of my work as a paediatric OT has involved supporting families to manage the additional needs of their children through liaising with statutory services and charities. My previous work in an integrated NHS and Social Services team provided me with the opportunity to assess the needs of children and young people and their families and make recommendations for care packages, equipment provision and home adaptations. Those I assessed had a very broad range of conditions including Downs Syndrome, Autism, developmental delay and visual impairment.
I have worked in a number of locations including schools and in children’s homes. Since relocating back to the southwest in July 2021, I have been working in two schools, carrying out assessments for EHCP’s, meeting the needs of the EHCP, carrying out assessments including sensory profiles, training staff, moving and handling, and assessing potential student for placements in school and in the residential setting.
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.