Jessica Thurston, Chief Operating Officer at Somek and Associates, has recently had an article...
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MSc Occupational Therapy, BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, Full Member of Expert Witness Institute (MEWI)
I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2005 and continued my professional development by completing postgraduate training in sensory integration, postural management and upper limb splinting. In 2013 I completed my MSc in Occupational Therapy, studying modules in Challenging Behaviour and Neurorehabilitation. In 2019 I completed my postgraduate certificate in Sensory Integration and qualified as an Advanced Practitioner of Ayres Sensory Integration.
I have spent a majority of my career working with children with neurological and developmental disabilities. This work has been conducted in the NHS, private and charitable sectors, both in the UK and abroad. While working in the NHS, I ran assessment clinics for children with Erb’s Palsy and Cerebral Palsy and developed upper limb therapy and splinting services. As part of the treatment plans for these children, I provided advice on equipment for school and home. I also conducted direct therapy sessions, as well as trained carers and parents to complete therapeutic activities.
During my Occupational Therapy training and until 2012, I also worked as a carer, providing support and respite care to children with physical and cognitive difficulties. I have provided care in residential schools, family homes and in the community, supporting young people to access mainstream leisure activities at the weekends and in the school holidays.
In 2012, I moved from London to Cornwall. My knowledge of long term conditions and equipment led me to a role managing the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Wheelchair Service. My role included providing complex postural management and mobility assessments for both adults and children with mainly neurological based conditions. I was also an active member on the National Wheelchair Manager’s Forum.
In 2017, I left the wheelchair service and I currently work as a self employed Occupational Therapist, for both the private and NHS sectors, and a Case Manager. As a result of these roles I have experience in providing intensive and ongoing direct treatment, training and advice (including contributing to educational and health care plans), resourcing services and equipment and supporting care packages.
During the course of my work as an Expert Witness, I have been required to attend Educational Tribunals and also to give evidence in Court.
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 the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to Expert Witnesses.