Occupational Therapy Australia hosted its national conference and exhibition in Perth last month.  The theme of the conference was Partnership, Inclusion and Innovation, and true to this theme, a record number of 680 abstract submissions were received and 990 delegates from 14 different countries were in attendance. Delegates were treated to over 320 presentations and 202 ePosters, with keynote speakers Dr Gill Hicks, Professor Anita Bundy from the University of Sydney and  Professor Pat Dudgeon from the School of Indigenous Studies, University of Western Australia.

Hicks, a double amputee as a result of the London bombings in 2005, shared her experience of survival to rehabilitation and reminded the audience of the importance of the moment, telling them what she has learnt about herself, about humanity and about the extraordinary. Hicks identified what she believes is our “inherent ability not only to face, but to rise enriched by adversity”.

For the first time the conference was opened to the general public, with 300 visitors attending on Friday morning of the exhibition including those with a disability, seniors, their families, friends and carers.

The premier event in the continuing professional development calendar for occupational therapists, the conference facilitated the sharing of ideas, meeting colleagues and exhibitors, finding out about the latest innovations in education, as well as learning of the latest research in occupational therapy.

Held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre in Western Australia, the three day conference was the biggest event to be hosted by the association. OTA’s next national conference will be held in Sydney in July 2019.

Peter Bothams, president, Occupational Therapy Australia, Dr Gill Hicks and Rachel Norris, CEO, Occupational Therapy Australia.