Norma Clark's Story

Author: Norma Clark
Norma Clark's Story

Norma’s Fellowship explored the delivery of supported education programmes for adults living with mental health issues.

The Fellowship

Norma spent two weeks in Australia speaking to staff and service users about the supported education programmes carried out by the Vocational, Education, Training and Employment Service (VETE) in partnership with the Institutes of Technology and Further Education. 

She also spent a fortnight in New York State researching the Bridge Programme. This is a unique dual approach providing education and support, through which Occupational Therapy (OT) students are trained to support fellow students who are experiencing issues with their mental health.

The Results

In New South Wales, Norma had been particularly struck by the effectiveness of Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT) and the many different ways it can be connected to educational and vocational rehabilitation programs. On her return she began researching the Audio Recorded Cognitive Screen (ARCS), a simple and robust screening tool for the detection of cognitive impairment or dementia.

As a result, NHS Fife multidisciplinary team agreed to launch a pilot as part of the Employ your Mind and the Learning Arcade programs. It is hoped that the ARCS proves to be an empowering self-monitoring tool that patients enjoy using to gain feedback on their developing cognitive skills.

A further pilot was set up based on Norma’s experiences in New York. She worked with the wider multi-disciplinary team and undergraduate teaching programmes to establish a new practice placement model for OT students. The results have been published in OT News (ref. Braid, Mig and McIntyre, Alison (2014) A split model practice placement evaluation,  OT News, 10:32-33)