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Personal profile

Research interests

Audrey's research interests stems from her experience as a clinical specialist working in partnership with people with learning/intellectual disabilities who have complex needs, and their family caregivers.  

Her previous research focused on how people with intellectual disabilities, with a diagnosis of (early-onset) dementia, and their carergivers are supported. Her interest lay in the working partnership between occupational therapists and family caregivers, with specific focus on the occupational impact on their lives and how they and their loved ones could be better supported through the ‘dementia trajectory’ process.

Audrey is also interested in the effective use of sensory processing-based approaches and the provision and designing of safe, occupationally engaging home environments for intellectually disabled people with complex health and social care needs; in particular, the responses of individuals with sensory processing issues and behaviours that challenge. Her current research aims to develop and explore the use and scope of the Safe Home Environment Assessment (SHEA), a bespoke tool developed by and for occupational therapists. This will explore perspectives from occupational therapists, people with intellectual disabilities and their carers; and how this can contribute to the Transforming Care Agenda (2015), a national programme aimed at supporting people with intellectual disabilities, with behaviours that challenge and mental health conditions; to have equal rights and opportunities to a safe, healthy and sustainable quality of life in their homes and communities.  

Scholarly biography

Audrey's occupational therapy career began in the NHS where she worked in mental health services and  subsequently, in the past 20 plus years in the area of learning/intellectual disability. In this time, she has worked with people with complex health and social needs, alongside their families, carers and support services; with the aim of supporting their occupational performance and participation in life. This has allowed her to develop and use a broad range of core and specialist occupational therapy skills. 

Audrey is trained in the use of the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS) and is a Sensory Integration (SI) practitioner having completed the post-graduate SI course with the University of Ulster (in conjunction with the Sensory Integration Network). Audrey commenced on a full time permanent position with the University of Brighton in April 2018 and has responsibility as a module leader and practice learning leader on the MSc (Pre-registration) Occupational Therapy programme. She teaches on this and on the BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy course.

Audrey completed a systematic review on the human occupational impact of caregiving on dementia caregivers, which was published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy in 2014. A qualitative study on the occupational experiences of partner caregivers to those with dementia was also published in 2020. Her current research is on the assessment and designing of safe and engaging home environments for people with intellectual disabilities.

Approach to teaching

Audrey's clinical expertise is in the area of intellectual disabilities so where appropriate, she shares examples of her clinical knowledge and experience in this area, using current policies, best practice evidence and latest developments to help illuminate and reflect real-life practice. She uses a mix of blended learning methods in her teaching, such as online resources, practical approaches, real life case studies, and call on the expertise of experts-by-experience and multiprofessional colleagues in practice.

As a tutor, Audrey embraces the problem-based learning (PBL) approach, embedded across the occupational therapy programme at University of Brighton. This is an interactive and inclusive approach, which facilitates small groups of students to develop their ability to be independent thinkers and lifelong learners. Audrey tries to adopt a ‘just-right’ challenging and supportive approach to illicit a balance of critical as well as reflective and 'deeper' thinking from students. She is, at the same time, welcoming and respectful of what each student brings from their personal and professional background, which contribute to the overall experience of shared learning and knowledge within the PBL groups.

Supervisory Interests

Audrey supervises MSc students on their research dissertations in her areas of interest which include, but is not limited to:

  • Conducting a systematic or scoping review as a research method
  • Qualitative research
  • Learning/intellectual disabilities 
  • Sensory integration and processing
  • Dementia and family caregiving
  • The assessing and designing of home environments for people with intellectual disabilities, with complex health and social care needs
  • Human rights and occupational justice for marginalised groups.     

Education/Academic qualification

Master, University of Brighton

Sep 2009Oct 2011

Award Date: 31 Oct 2011

Bachelor, Curtin University

Award Date: 31 Dec 1991


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