What we love abOuT the COT Conference

Martin Reid of the College of Occupational Therapists (COT) tells the story of Conference 2016, revealing that it was the biggest ever conference delivered by the OT, and that it trended on Twitter each day (inspite of the major news stories in the UK at the end of June).

The 2016 College of Occupational Therapists Annual Conference was the biggest conference delivered by the occupational therapy’s professional body ever. With one short of 1,500 delegates on site, of which nearly 450 were students, it was so gratifying being a part of such a vibrant and inspiring event.

From the first moment it opened, it felt different. There was a genuine vibe, where delegates readily mingled, or in business talk, networked.

There were screams of delight when delegates, at all stages of their careers, met their occupational therapy idols; and the discussions and questions generated during sessions really broadened the learning experiences of all who were there.

Conference gets trending

The reach of conference was phenomenal, with over 33 million twitter impressions, championed by the Conference twitteratti (a fantastic and dedicated group who reports on Conference and also supports delegates new to the world of social media).

Delegates embraced social media to the extent Conference was trending each day on twitter. At one time Conference was 2nd only to Boris Johnson, and one ahead of Michael Gove! Cast your mind back to the news coverage at the end of June and you will realise what a media coup that was for the COT Conference!

Delegates were also enthusiastic about the dedicated exhibition…seeing products and services available to the occupational therapy profession. Alongside were the student zone, wheelchair sport demonstration and the Guardian as a media partner. Indeed, there were so many many exclusive extras for delegates to enjoy.

Conference couldn’t be delivered without the support of its sponsors, of which Pearson Assessment is one. Pearson’s presence is so appreciated by the delegates. The opportunity to have conversations and exchange ideas on what matters to them in their day to day work and see what support is available can save valuable research time and enhance the services they offer to their clients.

2017 moves into view

So what are the arrangements for 2017? The 2017 Conference dates are Monday 19 June to Tuesday 20 June 2017, and we want to build on the success of this year. We have ambitious plans to have even more delegates attending. For the first time Conference will be held at the International Conference Centre in the centre of Birmingham City - a spectacular venue. It will run over two days and the Specialist Section Older People will be running their conference alongside the College’s.

Conference catch-up

If you were not at Conference this year, you can experience some of the highlights by visiting the Conference website and watching the videos available. And if you want to keep in touch with the latest development, make sure you register your interest for the 2017 COT 41st Annual Conference and we will send you regular updates.

We look forward to seeing you in Birmingham.

  • What we love abOuT the COT Conference

    by Martin Reid

    Martin Reid of the College of Occupational Therapists (COT) tells the story of Conference 2016, revealing that it was the biggest ever conference delivered by the OT, and that it trended on Twitter each day (inspite of the major news stories in the UK at the end of June).

    read more
  • COT Pearson Award winner champions a ‘do with’ culture to improve outcomes for patients with personality disorders

    Image credit: Christof Van Der Walt

    Keir Harding was the recipient of this year’s COT Pearson Award for education, research or continuing professional development, an award which funded Keir’s attendance at the British and Irish Group for Study of Personality Disorders annual conference (BIGSPD). Here, Keir talks about applying for this award and the impact that ‘healing through doing’ can have on an individual's life.

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  • Who's talking about digital technology in psychology? A look at our first conference in York.

    When set the challenge of creating a Digital Technology in Psychology conference, my first response was excitement.

    It’s such a wide subject there’s bound to be lots to talk about – let’s get everyone involved…this however was closely followed by the thought, What if no one turns up? and Is technology as central as we like to think it is…?

    Lucky for me, people did submit papers on a range of topics and sign up to attend. So last week we held our first Digital Technology in Psychology conference at York University. We were delighted to welcome our keynote speaker, Dr Tom Manly co-author of the TEA and the new TEA-CH-2. Dr Manly’s talk looked at ‘What is attention?’ and explored the evolution of technology in delivering assessments. A first look at the exciting new TEA-Ch2 was also provided and we can certainly say the new space dog and alien were warmly received.

    This was followed by Sarah Kate Smith who led a fascinating discussion around Dementia and Assistive Technology; showing examples of how technological interventions can be used to promote conversations, social interaction and leisure activities. Introducing CIRCA, Sarah’s talk highlighted the importance of including feedback from individuals with dementia into the design and functionality plans of technology.

    Did you know that about 8% of people will experience problems with #PTSD that persist beyond 3 months? This was one of many areas highlighted during Sara Simblett’s talk, 'A systematic review of web-based technology to assist emotional adjustment and self-management of symptoms related to post-traumatic stress.' Here Sara looked at the different approaches that have been taken to studying the effectiveness of Interapy as a Treatment of Post-traumatic Stress via the Internet.

    After the break, Astrid Coxon generated lots of conversation and app sharing ideas with her talk on, 'The effectiveness of internet-based interventions for managing stress and anxiety in students in higher education: a systematic review'. Looking at some of the studies around web-based interventions and where the gaps currently exist. A conversation that then continued on twitter.

    'This Much!, This Feeling & Backdrop: The development of touch device procedures for the qualitative and quantitative assessment of children's positive and negative experiences', was an enlightening talk from David Glasgow. Exploring a number of different apps, the accompanying video’s showed a young boys interactions, and revealed how important additional information could be obtained to help shape understanding and care plans.

    Lola Oyelayo and Nick Reynolds, then joined us from Head London to run an exciting workshop on exploiting digital for dementia and depression. A session which pulled together many of the threads of conversation from the day. Beginning with a presentation the team highlighted some of the many issues that are affecting the development of technology in the psychology field including:

    • How will an increasingly digital literate population will affect how we provide support for individuals with #dementia in the future
    • How do we solve the problem of efficacy for #mentalhealth apps?

    I look forward the sharing the outcomes of these workshops in a later blog.

    As a first event, we were delighted to see the group so engaged in the topic, we’ll be sharing podcasts from many of the talks over the coming weeks, and so if you were unable to attend, you can sit back with cup of tea and catch up!

    I’m also pleased to see that the conversations are already continuing. Sarah Kate Smith will now be joining an exciting line up of presenters for Online Working Memory Week where Sarah will be presenting on ‘Exploiting touch screen tech to promote communication, social interaction & leisure activities with people living with dementia.’

    Thank you to all our presenters and delegates who helped to make this first event a success. Watch this space for plans for 2016.

    #WMLearn | #DigitalPsych15

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