Clare Copley


I am an occupational therapist, registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and have over fifteen years’ experience of specialising in mental health.  A large proportion of my career has been based within secondary mental health services, supporting service users who experience the complexities of severe and enduring mental illness.  Between 2010 – 2012, I completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychosocial Interventions at the University of York, in order to enhance my clinical practice with the introduction of cognitive behavioural therapy techniques and family intervention.

Over the past seven years, I have worked within a higher education setting, managing a university wellbeing service and supporting students who present with a wide range of emotional and mental health needs.  The emphasis of my practice has always been upon holistic care and promotion of independent function, to positively impact day to day living and overall experiences.

Working within higher education has increased my awareness of the interactions between neurodivergence and mental health.  This experience has enabled me to reflect upon the lack of understanding and attention that conditions like; autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyslexia and dyspraxia/Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) have within traditional mental health settings.  To enhance my knowledge further, I completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Provision for Children with Developmental Disorders, at the University of Leeds between 2019-2020.

Research interests

Whilst I am broadly interested in the co-occurrence of neurodiversity and mental health, I have developed a specific interest in DCD.  This is undoubtedly fuelled by my personal experience of growing up with this condition and also being the parent of a child with DCD and seeing first-hand the challenges that exist within the modern day education system.

My work within higher education has piqued my interest in young women’s experiences of neurodiversity – specifically DCD, including: lack of or late diagnosis, interacting mental health and the combined impact that this has upon academic outcomes.  I am hopeful that my research will raise the profile of DCD and highlight the need for greater appreciation of the combined influence that gender and disability can have upon the educational experiences of young women. 



  • PGCert Provision for Children with Developmental Disorders
  • PGDip Psychosocial Interventions for individual's experiencing severe mental illness
  • BHSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy