I have worked as a registered occupational therapist in a number of acute hospitals in Victoria, Australia. My clinical areas of expertise include acute trauma; and driving and community mobility. I am also a qualified occupational therapy driver assessor, with a passion for evidence-based practice in the area of acute care and driving. This was the motivation, which lead me to complete my doctoral studies from 2012 - 2015 at La Trobe University, Melbourne. My doctoral research focused on fitness-to-drive after mild traumatic brain injury.
I have a particular interest in research that provides evidence for practice for children with disabilities and their families. To do this, my research has focused on the assessment and outcome measures used to evaluate intervention and in particular examining their construct validity; on developing and evaluating interventions to support play; on understanding the perspectives and lived experiences of parents, and the person with a disability; on evaluating interventions particularly for young children with autism.
I am a Physiotherapist and Research Program Manager. My research interests vary. Early in my research career I was particularly focused on understanding gait biomechanics and their relationship with functional mobility for children with disabilities. Since 2013, my research focus has shifted towards understanding the construct of participation and enhancing how children with disabilities participate in everyday life. Of particular interest is how to achieve healthy sustainable physical activity participation habits by children with disabilities and their families. My affiliations with a broad range of national and international collaborators has meant that I am (and have been) involved in a wide range of projects related to this topic as well as projects related to the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions, investigations of the concept of longitudinal change and studies to understand the concept of engagement.
Professor of Occupational Therapy, Co-Director, Centre for Disability and Development Research
I have a particular interest in understanding and enhancing the participation of people with childhood onset disability. To achieve this, my research has focused on investigating and enhancing the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions. Predominantly in the field of paediatric cerebral palsy, my research includes – development and investigation of outcome measures to ensure their validity and reliability for use in research and practice; investigation of the effectiveness of specific occupational therapy interventions alone or in combination with allied interventions; knowledge translation research, longitudinal studies and studies using mixed quantitative and qualitative methods.
Professional Doctorate research on the conceptions of occupational therapists about sexuality and how these conceptions related to occupation.
Deirdre joined ACU in February 2016 as Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy in a part time role. This allows her to continue clinical and research work in Rehabilitation. Deirdre completed a PhD in 2005 through the University of Queensland, and a Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy at Boston University in 1990. Her PhD work involved the development and standardisation of a screening tool for visual perception and praxis following stroke patients with Australian normative data. Deirdre has co-supervised 13 honours student clinical research projects, co-authored two book chapters, published a standardised assessment in the area of stroke and has 15 peer-reviewed journal publications.
My research focus in on upper limb function especially in children with cerebral palsy. I am also interested in measurement; evidence-based practice; knowledge translation; and consumer engagement in research.
Susan's research focuses on validation and use of participation-related outcome measures relevant to occupational therapy practice. Susan is interested in research focused on measurement of the impact of occupational therapy services, particularly in inpatient health care settings. Her doctoral research focused on measurement properties of the Personal Care-Participation Assessment and Resource Tool (PC-PART) when used in an inpatient rehabilitation setting.
Susan is also a co-investigator on an Australian Government Department of Health funded randomised controlled trial investigating the effectiveness of embedding simulation based learning into occupational therapy education as replacement of professional education hours.