Ms Rachel Booth-Gardiner, Occupational Therapist, @OTalk_ and @AbleOTUK team member, Blogger, Feminist, and Disability Activist. I’m #MadeByDyslexia – expect creative thinking & creative spelling.
I was born with Cerebral Palsy (right hemiplegia) so have personal understand and experience of disability. I have experienced much therapy over my life time mainly occupational therapy and physiotherapy. I am dyslexic and have had periods of depression as an adult.
I qualified as an Occupational Therapist from Teesside University in 2005, and have worked within Acute, Rehabilitation, and Forensic mental health settings, my current role is Lead Occupational Therapist for Adult Mental Health Acute In-Patients and Rehabilitation services. (However currently not working due to ill health)
I am also active within the wider Occupational Therapy community, my current volunteer roles include;
@OTalk_ – a weekly Twitter chat about occupational therapy, every Tuesday 8pm. Which celebrated its 10th Birthday in October 2021.
@AbleOTUK, which launched on 27th July 2021.
Treasurer for RCOT Northern and Yorkshire regional committee.
My professional interests include:
- Exploring how engaging in creative activity aids the recovery process.
- The experience of the disabled Occupational Therapists.
- Social Media as a CPD tool.
- Coproduction of services.
Over recent years I have become more interesting in exploring and understanding feminism, how this relates to Occupational Therapy, including
- Women’s health and what impacted that might have on function, that is different from men.
- The impacted of a women’s mental cycle of her occupations.
- Sex as an Occupation, how do we as therapist approach this.
I would describe myself as an intersectional feminist.
In 2020 I caught covid 19, and spent over 13 months in hospital, discharged home April 2021 I was unable to walk or stand, and I’m currently taking time away from my day job to work on my recovery. As of February 2022 my mobility has improved, but I can still not manage daily occupations without assistance, walking is painful, low and unsteady.
My husband Anthony is a Photographer, and has been documenting my recovery, you can see these images here
This experiences has been life changing, and I’m trying to share a realistic picture of life, post covid on this blog and on my social media platforms.
I have also spend more time on an occupation that means a lot to me Activism! Including
- Sharing my story with a local newspaper. Gazette Article
- Raising money for the NHS Hospitals that took care of me. Article
- Joining a international virtual workshop to discuss the European Conceptual Framework for Occupational Therapy. link to tweet
- Presenting my experiences at a virtual occupational therapy student conference. Link to tweet
- Joined with other occupational therapist to launch @AbleOTUK a supportive network.
- Contacted the Mayor of my town, and challenged him to put accessibility at the heart of everything that Middlesbrough Council does. Andy Preston’s tweet
- Learn more about Ableism.
- Challenged “polity” some Companies, Organisations and Business, I have tried to use to provide better information about accessible.
- Promoted and Celebrated Disability Pride Month July 2021
- Panel member #OTsForEquity: Launch event – Occupational Therapy Week 2021
- Speaker at The OT show 2021 What Recovering from Covid 19 taught me – the challenge I now have for the profession
- Creative Accessible Teesside to change local business on the information they provide, regarding access
- Panel member on DisruptOT Global Collaboratives Panel 22nd January 2022
- Wrote a blog challenging UK OT’s in their disappointment that a Phoenix was removed from RCOT brand