Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy
School of Health Sciences
T: 01904 876497
I qualified as an Occupational Therapist from Lancaster University in 1999 and I spent over 10 years working in clinical practice. My specialism is adults with learning disability and autism, with a particular interest in those who have dual diagnosis of learning disability/autism and mental illness. My last clinical post was a learning disability assertive outreach service, designed to work with individuals who were difficult to engage and in frequent contact with mental health services and/or the criminal justice system.
I am one of six UK based trainers for the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS), which is an internationally used, standardised occupational therapy assessment tool and outcome measure. In the UK I have also provided consultancy and developed a follow up AMPS course looking in more depth at the interpretation and documentation of the assessment.
I joined York St John in 2013 and as Course Lead for the MSc Occupational Therapist programme I am responsible for coordinating and developing this programme alongside the Director of Occupational Therapy.
Since moving full time into academia I have maintained contact with clinical practice by offering clinical supervision to a number of therapists working in the learning disabilities field.
Academic and professional qualifications
- MSc Mental Health in Learning Disabilities, Kings College London
- BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, Lancaster University
- Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching (Higher Education), Canterbury Christ Church University
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
- Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, Best Interest Assessor, Middlesex University
- Registered with Health and Care Professions Council
- Professional member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists
I teach predominantly on the MSc Occupational Therapy programme with some input into the BSc programme and CPD courses. My areas of expertise lie in working with people with learning disability and autism in the community, inpatient services and prison/forensic services. I also have expertise in assessing and working with people who lack capacity and the law that surrounds this.
I am involved in teaching occupational therapy theory as I am passionate about occupation centred practice. I am similarly passionate about the use of reflection in practice. I am involved in teaching innovation and entrepreneurship, developing and working within role emerging areas of occupational therapy, and groups and communities.
I supervise research students on both OT programmes.
I am HCPC registered, a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapy and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am also a member of the college of OT specialist section for learning disabilities and in the past have been part of national executive committee in the role of Education and Research Officer. I am a reviewer for the British Journal of Occupational Therapy and the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). In the past I have been a reviewer for the Irwin Mitchel research grant facilitated through the Royal College of Occupational Therapy (RCOT). Within the university, I facilitate the York Autism Community Of Practice (with Lorna Hamilton, Psychology and Jonathan Vincent, Education).
My research interests include:
- Learning disability
- Occupational therapy theory and how we use this to bridge the theory/practice gap (in particular the use of the OTIPM)
- Occupation focused assessment and outcome measurement (in particular the use of the AMPS)
- Role emerging areas of occupational therapy and occupational science perspectives on groups/communities
My MSc research investigated mainstream mental health staffs attitudes and self-efficacy towards individual with learning disability who are admitted to mainstream care and the impact of this on the care they receive. I also conducted a piece of research whilst still working in clinical practice, with psychology colleagues which investigated the usefulness of the AMPS as part of the diagnostic criteria for learning disability.
Since being at York St John I have been involved in the following research projects:
- Adults with Learning Disability in Austerity (ALDA), in collaboration with Lorna Hamilton, Psychology. This was commissioned by York CVS and is now completed/published.
- Occupational experiences of new mothers. This project has taken a longitudinal view of new mothers experiences from the birth of their first child until they start school (due to complete data collection in 2019)
- Experiences of transition between school years for children with autism in mainstream settings (in collaboration with Dr Lorna Hamilton, Psychology). This project is commissioned by the Specialist Autism Teaching team at City of York Council and has also received university funding.
- Using the OTIPM as a teaching and learning framework to support student engagement in role emerging placements. This project has been funded by a Royal College of Occupational Therapy AMPS research grant.
Dancza, K and Mesa, S (2018) Intervention Phase In: Dancza, Karina and Rodgers, Sylvia, (eds.) Implementing occupation-centred practice: A practical guide for occupational therapy practice learning. Routledge, Oxon: pp 119-219.
Danzca, K and Head, J and Mesa, S (2018) Key tools of the occupational therapist: occupational profiling, activity analysis and occupational performance analysis. In: Dancza, Karina and Rodgers, Sylvia, (eds.) Implementing occupation-centred practice: A practical guide for occupational therapy practice learning. Routledge, Oxon: pp 49-81.
Mesa, Sue and Dancza, Karina and Head, Jeanette (2018) Observing client’s performance of prioritised tasks and implement performance analysis. In: Dancza, Karina and Rodger, Sylvia, (eds.) Implementing occupation-centred practice: A practical guide for occupational therapy practice learning. Routledge, Oxon: pp 125-143.
Hamilton L, Mesa S, Hayward E, Price R, & Bright G. (2017). “There’s a lot of places I’d like to go and things I’d like to do”: The daily living experiences of adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities during a time of personalised social care reform in the UK”, Disability and Society
Chard, G & Mesa, S (2017). Chapter 16 Analysis of Occupational Performance: Motor, Process and Social Interaction Skills. In: Curtin M, Egan M & Adams J (eds) Occupational Therapy for people experiencing illness, injury or impairment, promoting occupation and participation (7th ed). Elsevier.
Mesa, Sue and Tsakanikos, Elias (2014) Attitudes and self-efficacy towards adults with mild intellectual disability among staff in acute psychiatric wards: an empirical investigation. Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 8 (2). pp. 79-90.
Mesa S, and Heron, P, Chard, Gill & Rowe, J (2014) Using the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills as part of the diagnostic process in an inner-city learning disability service. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 77 (4). pp. 170-173.
Hamilton, Lorna and Mesa, Sue (2015) Does personalised social care meet the needs of adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities? In: BPS North East of England Branch Annual Conference - Psychology across the lifespan, 7 September 2015, York St John University.
Mesa, S and Dancza, K (2013) What helps first year occupational therapy students to integrate theory into clinical practice? In: College of Occupational Therapy National Conference. June 2013, Glasgow.
Mesa, S and Dancza, K (2012) Using the OTIPM in a first year university programme to explore how occupation influences early student learning about practice. In: AMPS Symposium, September 2012. Copenhagen.
Mesa, S (2012) The Mental Capacity Act and its application to OT practice. In: College of Occupational Therapists specialist section for learning disability conference. October 2012, COT London.
Mesa, S (2012) An investigation into acute psychiatric staffs’ attitudes and self-efficacy towards adults with learning disabilities. In: College of Occupational Therapists specialist section for learning disability conference. October 2012, COT London.
Mesa, S. Heron, P (2008) ‘Use of AMPS alongside psychometric assessments to assess for presence of learning disability’ College of Occupational Therapy Specialist Section for People with Learning Disability Annual Conference, Derby.