Anne worked tirelessly on many projects with the aim of improving childrens' outcomes in innovative and resource-effective ways. One involved facilitating the identification and support of children and young people with developmental disabilities by validating a screening tool in paediatric services (CAIDS-Q). Another to develop a programme to meet the mental health needs of children with neurological impairments, Psychology Adding Value Epilepsy Screening (PAVES), has made a difference to hundreds of children with epilepsy. Anne’s role in its development, and in securing extensive funding for the project, has been described as
crucial and seminal.
Anne was an active member of both the British Academy of Childhood Disability (BACD) and the European Academy of Childhood Disability (EACD). Her EACD colleagues describe Anne as having
very much inspired us in ways we look at children, at disability, place knowledge in perspective, and strive to work ethically.
Dorothy Bishop, Professor of Psychology at Oxford, said of her first encounter with Anne:
I was delighted to find a paediatrician who had not only extensive clinical experience of language disorders and autism, but also had read widely and had in-depth knowledge of language development. Anne became “a key person” in Professor Bishop’s CATALISE Consortium, a multidisciplinary group of experts assembled to build a nationwide consensus about the diagnosis of children’s language disorders. With an academic expertise which she could relate to everyday clinical contexts,
Anne … made an immense contribution to children’s lives, as well as to research progress in this field.
Towards the end of her career Anne O’Hare took on a new challenge as founding Director of the Salvesen Mindroom Research Centre for Learning Difficulties at Edinburgh University.
Our research programme is ambitious and far-reaching, she said at the start of the centre’s work to highlight the top ten priorities for children and young people living with a learning disability. Again, she was emphasising:
It is vital that people with learning difficulties are given a voice and are involved in research design from the outset. The young patients, their parents and carers, and professional clinicians were each to play an equal part in the project.
Professor Anne O’Hare continued securing large-scale funding and publishing highly-cited journal articles to the very end of her career.
Throughout that career Anne was very distinctively both a leader but also a team player. Despite a wealth of research experience which led to her being awarded a Personal Chair in Child Life and Health, Anne was always approachable for discussion around a clinical question, colleagues recall.
Anne was the most welcoming and unpretentious professor I have ever known, one said. She was immensely supportive and encouraging in a non-hierarchical way to colleagues, students and trainees alike.
Despite tirelessly pursuing her own research she always found time to support others. Many regarded her as both an inspirational role model and also a mentor. She was generous not only with her time but also with her thoughts.
She shared her ideas so openly and selflessly – which you don't always see in academics said the paediatric neuropsychologist, Kirsten Verity. For many her influence was truly formative during the early stages of their careers, as John Ravenscroft recalled in his tribute: