Meral Altilar – Advanced Neuro Specialist Occupational Therapist

Meral joined the Second Chance Headway Centre team in January 2013 after working in the NHS, developing and setting up acute and post-acute rehabilitation brain injury services within the Yorkshire region. Meral has a specialist interest in vocational rehabilitation following brain injury, upper limb dysfunction, persistent disorders of consciousness and complex cognitive impairment. Meral has championed the rights to access to specialist rehabilitation services for people with brain injury in the region, developing pathways, audits and assessment protocols to improve access to specialist care facilities.

Meral works closely with the team at Second Chance, clients and families, NHS, private sector and third sector services. This enables her clients to achieve their goals and maximise their independence through inter-disciplinary team working and timely communication. Meral has a wealth of knowledge of local service provisions to ensure client referrals and needs are appropriate and timely met.

Meral recently completed a post graduate diploma covering modules in vocational rehabilitation, leadership, physical and functional approaches to neuro rehabilitation, research and service development and regularly attends conferences and ABI related events and special interest groups. Meral also has an interest in brain injury research with plans for further involvement in research projects through Nottingham University.


2003 – 2006 – BHSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, York St John University

2011 – 2014 – PgDip Advanced Professional Practice, Sheffield Hallam University


2011: Vocational Pathways

2011: Occupational Approaches to Neurological Rehabilitation

2012: Understanding Neurological Therapy (Integrating theoretical principles within physical rehab)

2012 – 2013: Work based Learning (Setting up a new service in the work place)

2013: Leading teams effectively

2014: Research methods for practice

Professional Registrations

Health Professions Council (HPC)

British Association of Occupational Therapists

Vocational Rehabilitation Association (VRA)

Training and Development               

2009 – Introductory Bobath Training Course, Doncaster Hospital

2009 – ‘APPLE Accredited’ Practice Educator Course, York St John University/College of OT

2013 – Guest Assessor ‘Towards Autonomous Practice VIVA assessments’ Sheffield Hallam University

2013 – Guest speaker on ‘Working in the 3rd Sector’ Sheffield Hallam University

2016 – NHS England ‘Complex Rehab Reviews meetings’

2016 – Motivational Interviewing Training

2016 – Vocational Rehabilitation Conference, Birmingham ‘Crossing the Work Health Divide’ Community Therapists Network

Career Path

2006 – 2008 Rotational post at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust including;

Stroke rehabilitation, St James Hospital, LTHT and Brain Injury rehabilitation unit, Chapel Allerton Hospital, LTHT

2008 – 2012 Specialist Occupational Therapist/ Neurological Clinical Team Lead

Neurology Rehabilitation Unit (NRC) Mid York Hospital Trust. Post – acute rehabilitation service for inpatient acquired and traumatic brain injury

2012 – 2013 Neurological Clinical Lead for Occupational Therapist Services

Acute Stoke/Neuro and Neuro rehab unit, Bradford Royal Infirmary. Responsible for the development of a new hyper-acute/acute Stroke, Brain Injury therapy pathway.

2013 – Current Advanced Specialist OT

Second Chance Headway Centre, Wakefield. Community and day centre rehabilitation.