Smart solution a winner

03 August 2007 | Story by Myolisi Gophe

Bringing calm: UCT alumna Kathryn Smith has won a prestigious occupational therapy award in the UK.

UCT graduate Kathryn Smith has been named as the 2007 occupational therapist of the year by the Stannah Stairlifts College of Occupational Therapists in the UK.

Smith, a consultant occupational therapist at Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust in the UK, was singled out for her work on the Be SMaRTâ„¢ Cart, which she co-invented with husband Jeremy.

Dubbed a '˜sensory room in a box', the Be SMaRTâ„¢ Cart is used to create a calming environment for those in mental stress. The cart - about the size of a desk - is a computer with CD and DVD drives that allows users to play their own music, watch relaxation DVDs or films, and even load photos that they find comforting. Screens also feature a range of colours and settings.

Smith hopes that the award will bring some deserving attention to her profession. Research has revealed that 88% of Britons don't know what an OT is or does, despite the fact that there are over 26 000 registered professionals in the UK.

'One of the greatest pleasures of my job is watching my patients grow in confidence and gradually take on new challenges,' says Smith. 'Occupational therapists are typically creative and innovative people and I hope this award inspires other occupational therapists to showcase the innovative services and approaches they use.'

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