40 Years of OT at York St John – Senior Lecturer Stephen Wey

Next year’s Year 2 Coordinator Stephen Wey studied Occupational Therapy at York St John from 1990 – 1993 and returned as a lecturer here in 2006. He has kindly wrote a blog post for us sharing his memories of his time studying and working with YSJOT for the 40th anniversary.


When did you study at YSJ?

I specifically chose YSJ because at the time it was one of the few colleges offering a degree programme. I was in the very first cohort of the degree programme, we started out in 1990 when it was a diploma but with the aim of upgrading to honours degree as soon as it was accredited, which was in 1991.

What was your favourite aspect of OT at YSJ?

Many things, it was such an exciting and inspirational programme. Spending a whole module devoted to exploring the intersection of creativity and occupation in the arts faculty, inspirational seminars with Linda Finlay, writing a letter to Gary Kielhofner and getting a reply! Getting to complete a phenomenological study of multiple sclerosis for my dissertation. Being introduced to dance as a therapeutic medium in my second year on placement. And most of all the warmth and supportiveness of the whole teaching team, without whom I would never have got through it. I’m pleased to say YSJ has never lost its human touch!

After qualifying I spent a couple of years on a mixed rotation which was a wonderful grounding in all things OT, then chose to specialise with people with cognitive impairment, particularly dementia. Was privileged to be involved in developing some highly innovative services including a team pioneering intensive home-based treatment and rehabilitation services for people with dementia, telecare and falls services, and eventually got offered the chance to share some of my experience through CPD at YSJ, then eventually teaching on the undergraduate programme too.

What are you up to now?       

I have currently become a student again, just in my first year of a doctoral programme (research into dementia and occupation of course), my supervisor is Nick Pollard who will be delivering next year’s Casson Lecture at the annual conference. I continue to be interested in creative approaches, both as an artist and musician myself, and in dance groups with people with dementia here at YSJ in collaboration with a colleague from the dance faculty. I’m involved with initiatives to promote YSJ as a ‘dementia friendly’ campus and am just starting to deliver dementia friends information sessions as a dementia friends champion. I also continue to offer CPD events on enabling participation for people with dementia and falls interventions. I think it’s necessary for us practitioners to maintain a close connection with the wider community and practice contexts and believe that this outward focus and sense of connection has always been a central aspect of the ethos of YSJ as an institution.

The YSJOT team is aiming to compile 40 blog posts for the 40th anniversary, if you would be interested in contributing please contact us via email: George Peat – g.peat@yorksj.ac.uk , Maria Parks – @m.parks@yorksj.ac.uk or Kerry Sorby – k.sorby@yorksj.ac.uk

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