York St John University - Research for Occupation and Mental Health

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The Bridge                                                      Issue 31

Bridging the gap between research and practice

Welcome to the second edition of the Bridge to focus on children and young people's occupations, to see the previous one click here. We have spotlighted several articles which we think may be of interest to occupational therapists working with children with mental health issues. We have also provided links to some relevant sections of the College of Occupational Therapy specialist section.
Rob Brooks - Occupation-focused assessment and intervention for ADHD: Putting research into practice

Rob has worked as an occupational therapist with children, young people and families for over 13 years in both the United Kingdom and New Zealand. He has recently become a lecturer in occupational science and occupational therapy at Leeds Metropolitan University. Rob has particular interest in children’s play occupations and how therapists use occupation as a therapy and as an outcome of therapy. Rob is completing a PhD at the University of Huddersfield which will explore occupation-based practice in child and adolescent mental health.

Occupation-focused assessent and intervention for ADHD: Putting research into practice.

Andrea Hasselbusch - Beyond handwriting: Enabling school occupations

Andrea HasselbuschAndrea Hasselbusch (PhD candidate, MOccTh, PG Cert Ed, Bc OT, Dip OT) is a senior OT with a diverse international background in terms of training and professional experience. She is currently employed as Senior Practice Fellow in Occupational Therapy at Bournemouth University, School of Health & Social Care. Andrea’s particular interest and expertise lies with occupational therapy practice with children, young people and families, which has shaped her research endeavours, from individual projects to acquisition of specialist research knowledge and skills.

Andrea is currently completing her PhD through the graduate school at Bournemouth University. Her research focuses on the usefulness and effectiveness of the School-based Occupational Therapy Practice Framework (SB-OT-PF), which was developed as part of her Masters through research. Andrea completed her masters with Otago Polytechnic (Dunedin, NZ) while working as school-based occupational therapist for the Ministry of Education-Special Education (Auckland, NZ). As components of her PhD research, Andrea is currently completing a Cochrane systematic review (title registered: school-based occupational therapy for students with special needs attending mainstream schools), as well as exploring effective methods and tools of measuring outcomes and issues related to fidelity in school-based occupational therapy research through practice development projects. These projects shape the design of a mixed method study focusing on usefulness and effectiveness of the SB-OT-PF.

Andrea has reflected on school based occupations, read more here »

Spotlight on research Dr Carolyn Dunford - Mental health needs of children with acquired brain injuries

Dr Carolyn DunfordResearch shows that children who have had an acquired brain injury have high levels of mental health issues. The relationship is complex, for example conditions such as ADHD can predispose children to sustaining a traumatic brain injury; furthermore children from socio-economically deprived areas and in youth offending units are over-represented in traumatic brain injury populations. It is important to note that issues may arise many years after the initial injury so taking a history of previous head injuries is advised as this may be important in understanding the condition and guiding intervention (Dasarathi, Grace, Kelly & Forsyth, 2011).

For an overview of an article examining the relationship between brain injuries and mental health issues click here.

Call for Papers COTSS Children Young People and Families Annual Conference 17 and 18 November 2011

The two day event will focus on development of practical skills to “future proof” your practice through inspiring key note speeches, scheduled networking and ambassador for change panels. 

There is a strong emphasis upon sharing real practical answers, advice and skills to keep your individual career and practice current and marketable in a time of rapid change. Submissions are welcomed in one of the following formats:

  • Poster - A0 poster presentation in landscape or portrait
  • Seminar - 40 minute slot to include audience participation
  • Paper presentation - 15 minute slot including time for questions suitable for presentation of research, review or audit

Submissions are also welcome in the following categories:

  • Innovation in Practice Outcomes
  • Quality and Marketing
  • Toolkit for the Future.

Submissions should be made on the CYPF submissions form and should be sent to journal@sscypf.co.uk

Submission deadline 30 June 2011. All papers will be judged by an expert panel and applicants will be informed by e-mail if their application was successful by mid/end July 2011.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

Sharing good practice and networking with other Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) can stop us constantly “reinventing the wheel”. We are interested in hearing from local services about how they work, the children and young people they see and their research activities. We are very interested to hear from different occupational therapists about the services they provide and new areas of development. It is hoped that this will enable networks to grow of people with similar areas of interest.

Alan Evans, Head OT for Leicester Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services shares information on development in his service.

Alan EvansI have work within Specialist CAMHS for the last eighteen years, offering clinical input to the in patient adolescent unit, this year I have moved into the out patient team. My clinical skills are in group work, and I am a qualified arts therapist. Until the disbanding of the National CAMHS Support service I worked part time as a regional CAMHS development manager for the East Midland one day per week. I have served on the NAPOT committee as the CAMHS representative on Council, and was actively involved in the organisation of the first 3 national CAMHS OT conferences.

Read more about Leicester CAMHS


Special Education Needs for England green paper released 9th March by the Department for Education for more information visit


The College of Occupational Therapists is planning a response led by Sharon Tuppeny.  If you have any comments please contact the Children and young people's occupations research programme lead Dr Carolyn Dunford cdunford@thechildrenstrust.org.uk


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