Ann Beckett Award

Who was Ann Beckett?

Ann Beckett was the first professionally qualified occupational therapist to work in Ireland. She set up Occupational Therapy departments first in Cherry Orchard Hospital and then in the Central Remedial Clinic where she worked for 16 years. Following that she taught in the first Irish Occupational Therapy College, St. Joseph’s in Dun Laoghaire. She was a co-founder of the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland in 1965. Ann was an outstanding occupational therapist and was devoted to people, nature, music and her profession. Through her work she enriched many lives with her humanity, humour and practical approach to life.

The AOTI Ann Beckett Award Committee was set up by a group of Ann’s colleagues and the purpose of this committee is to

  • Celebrate the life and work of Ann.
  • Showcase occupational therapists’ practical interventions.

The Ann Beckett award is not an academic award but an acknowledgement of therapists who through their work demonstrate the core principles of Occupational Therapy in practice. The Committee look for practical projects and creative ideas which inspire colleagues and clients.

How to enter:

Members of AOTI can apply or be nominated by their colleagues and clients. This Award is supported by O’Neill Healthcare. Closing date for entries for 2019 is the end of September 2019. Please email to request an Application Form and completed application forms should be returned to the same email address.


2018 Ann Beckett Award Winner

The winner of the Ann Beckett Award in 2018 was Helen Corrigan for her project Experiencing Success – A Gymnastics Group Partnership Programme for Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 

Helen Corrigan developed an evidence based Occupational Therapy intervention for children with ADHD. She ran an 8 week OT-led gymnastics group for 17 children aged between 8 – 12 years in a local gym. Gymnastics coaches received disability training through Gymnastics Ireland and information sessions led by Helen. The project maximised funding and resources by using a partnership approach with Gymnastics Ireland, Sports Active Wexford and members of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) team.

The group was evaluated by using child, parent and coach evaluation questionnaires. These clearly demonstrated the positive experience of the children – sleeping and eating better, more responsive, calmer. Confidence and self-esteem improved, as did concentration and social interaction. The children experienced success in a new mainstream activity as they learned new skills. The project provided 170 hours of direct clinical intervention.

The gymnastics group was found to be a great learning experience and a joy for all. The outcome of having seen several participants take up gymnastics as a leisure activity in their community, and the eagerness of others to do the group, show how successful it has been. Gymnastics Ireland plan to use the project as an example for other clubs. Based on the success of the project it has been funded to run for a second time.

Helen Corrigan is a senior occupational therapist working in the South Wexford CAMHS. The enthusiastic and effective involvement of all professionals on her CAMHs team was instrumental in the success of the project.

This is an excellent project and a worthy winner of the Ann Beckett Award 2018. Helen was presented with the Ann Beckett Award at the AOTI Study Day on April 12th 2019 in the Ashling Hotel Dublin.



Previous winners of the Ann Beckett Award

  • 2017: won by Della Murtagh for her project Occupational Therapy Special Hands Summer Camp.
  • 2016: won by The Discover Recover Theatre Project in Wexford project group that was led by two occupational therapists Mairead Connaughton and Paula Lowney, and Niall O’Muiri a community mental health nurse.
  • 2015: won by Trinity College Dublin Careers Pathways Initiative, a transition to employment project for students and graduates with mental health difficulties
  • 2014: won by Jenny Smith and Neasa Caulfield for with their Sharing Skillsproject
  • 2013: won by Fiona Mulholland & Brendan Rooney, Central Mental Hospital, Dublin for The Hen Project
  • 2012: won by Rodrigo Frade, Sligo/Leitrim Mental Health Services, for the development of a Men's Shed for Sligo Town
  • 2011: won by Margot Barry and Patrick Hynes, Sensational Kids, for their very practical, activity based Social Skills Group for children aged 7 years to 12 years who presented with various difficulties including Asperger’s Syndrome.
  • 2010: won by Theresa Peacock for the Organic Garden & Relaxation Area for mental health service users she established
  • 2009: won by Rosemary Dillon for the Motorbike Restoration Project where participants with acquired brain injury stripped, restored and reassembled a vintage motorbike
  • 2008:won by Alice Rajaratnam for the Drawing Smiles Programme, a new approach to enhancing perceptual and learning skills, self-confidence, motivation & stress regulating ability for those with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
  • 2007: won by Mary McGrath for the Home-based Memory Rehabilitation Programme established in Belfast City Hospital to provide cognitive rehabilitation in the area of memory for persons with early stage dementia and support for their caregivers.
  • 2006: won by Eithne Kenny for Seating for Doing to maximise independence in a long term care unit through innovative seating and mobility systems.
  • 2005: won by Frances Corozza Paediatric Powered Mobility, a team approach to powered mobility in the Central Remedial Clinic.
  • 2004: won by Linda Welford for The Otters Programme, a sensory motor and pre-handwriting scheme in a local school.

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