Academic journal article British Journal of Occupational Therapy

Farewell and Thanks to Baroness Wilkins

Academic journal article British Journal of Occupational Therapy

Farewell and Thanks to Baroness Wilkins

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Baroness Rosalie Wilkins was inaugurated as President of the College of Occupational Therapists in December 2003 and stepped down in April 2008, after more than 4 busy years of very personal support and encouragement of the organisation and the profession. She took up her presidency with some knowledge of occupational therapy both as a service user and as a champion of information provision for disabled people and the disability movement, having been an activist commentator and a pioneer of media coverage in this area.

In her early career (1971-1974), she worked at the Central Council for the Disabled as Personal Assistant to the Director, George Wilson, when the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act was being implemented. When she moved to MIND in 1974, with Tessa Jowell as Director, her role was to edit an Information Bulletin that was breaking new ground in user empowerment.

Baroness Wilkins at the official launch of the UK Occupational Therapy Research Foundation in December 2007

She came to prominence, however, as the first disabled presenter on Link, the long-running ATV programme that was the first to deal seriously with disability issues. She was among the first articulate activists to start illustrating the discrimination and disadvantage that disabled people experience in their everyday lives. It was during her 13 years on Link that she worked alongside occupational therapist Niam McAleer, whom she credits with making her 'realise the huge value of occupational therapists and how they can be a true ally of disabled people'. …

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