Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Tutorial Eight - Assistive technology

Occupational therapy is probly the most difficult Health Profession to explain.  I am in my second year and I don't think I've done it justice yet.  People still look confused when I explain it to them and I think its because of everything OT's can do.  Assistive Technology is just another aspect of OT to help enable people to function.

Assistive Technology as defined by Cook & Hussey (2000, p.5) as "An item, piece of equipment or product system whether acquired commerciall off the shelf, modified, or customized that if it is used to increase or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities."

Cook, A. & Hussey, M. (2000). Assistive technologies: Principles & Practice. St Louis: Mosby

I was unfortunately overseas when assistive technology was introduced during tutorial.  So after discussing with Hiliary about meeting a Mother whose son had Autism and was using the IPAD to communicate and play educational games we both agreed that this would be an excellent assistive technology to research and write a report about.

The IPAd is 241.2mm in Height, 185.7mm in Width and 9.4mm in depth and weights 625g.  It costs around $499.

The IPad has applications for communication and learning tools for autistic and nonverbal children and children with poor physical mobility.

This presentation is delivered by Lauren Meatty who is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist who has 25 years experience and discusses iPad applications for Autistic and Nonverbal Children

The ethusiasm of the parents explains it all

I believe this relates to occupational justice.  "Justice is generally acceted to be an ideal vision of society expressed through ethical, moral and civic principles" (Stadnyk, Townsend, & Wilkcock, 2010, p. 331).  It would be ideal because of the identified benefits of children with Autism having access to one but the reality is there is a cost, there is a demand and it is difficult to meet that demand.


Stadnyk, R., Townsend, E. & Wilkcock, A. (2010). Occupational justice. In C. Christiansen & E. Townsend. Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living (2nd ed.)(pp. 329-358). New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc

Tutorial Seven - Linking to blogs of interest and exchanging comments

Tutorial Seven consists of searching for 5 blogs online that relate to OT practice.  Following are the five blogs I have chosen.

Occupational Therapy for Kids - Sensory
Designed by a pediatric occupational therapist for a variety of sensory solutions and activities

Occupational Therapy Blog - Reflections on a Lifework of Occupational Therapy

Pediatric Occupational Therapy Tips - Educating Parents, Teachers and Clinicians about learning differences

Occupational Therapists seraching for ways to improve school function ans student participation

Tutorial Six - The internet and online communities

This is an excellen quote to introduce online communities and how they relate to Occupational therapy.  "Technology can actually transform occupational opportunities. An example of technology creating opportunities for social occupations is the Internet.  Because of instant messaging, social networking websites, blogsites, and interactive games, the Internet has created a new range of social occupations that enable persons with and without physical disabilities to participate in social networks and to greatly reduce the social isolation that disability previously often created." (Whiteford, 2010, p. 320).

My chosen topic relating to online communities in which I have personal experience in the OT
practice area is that regarding Te Umanga Whakaora.

"Engaging occupations ordinarily involve atleast some connection to a community of people who shared a common interest in the occupation." (Jonsson, 2010, p. 223).  Not only is our common interest Occupational Therapy but there is also that cultural aspect of being Maori and what it means to be a Maori OT.

Te Umanga Whakaora - Maori Occupational Therapist!/groups/202468123121012/

The intended purpose of this site is for Maori Occupational Therapists to share thoughts, ideas, network, keep in contact and mentor the up and coming therapists.

This site is continually updated with members using it on a regular basis for the above mentioned reasons.  People contribute when it suits them, to ask questions and inform others about certain events.

People ask questions regarding assignments that specifically relate to Maori, Inform about up and coming meetings for Te Umanga Whakaora, Job prospects, and updates regarding personal lives.

People choose to contribute to interact with others who have the same interests, life stories, and to gain more knowledge.  It is just another form of communication, but where everyone that is apart of the community can see.  It by passes having to send a number of emails from you contact list to one posting which everyone will receive and have the opportunity to reply to.

People generally seek that sense of community, even though it is a virtual community the feeling is still the same.  Most are informative, so it can provide a source of information.  Personal experience is just as valid is that in text books.

Information is definitely reciprocal.  People post on online communities because they validate their peers import.

There are two concepts that I would definitely associate with Te Umanga Whakaora because I too am a member of this online community therefore occupational transition does relate to this site.  Occupational Transition can be defined as a major change in the occupational repertoire of a person a transition can be expected and awaited such as a student becomes a worker (Jonsson, 2012).  Te Umanga Whakaora was set up to support Maori Occupational Therapist throughout their journey, or through their transition from prospective student to student to practicing occupational therapist

Jonsson, H. (2010). Occupational transitions: Work to retirement. In C. Christiansen & E. Townsend. Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living (2nd ed.)(pp. 221-230). New Jersey: Pearson Education

"Occupational Justice meanst that we look at diverse occupational needs, strengths, and potentioal of individuals and groups, while at the same time considering issues of rights, fairness, empowerment and enablement of occupational opportunities." (Stadnyk, Townsend & Wilkcock, 2010, p. 331).  This relates specifically to Te Umanga Whakaora because regardless of our Hapu or Iwi, Maori identify strongly with that sense of community so have put in place a community where Maori OTs can be supported, empowered and seek opportunities.

Stadnyk, R., Townsend, E. & Wilkcock, A. (2010). Occupational justice. In C. Christiansen & E. Townsend. Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living (2nd ed.)(pp. 329-358). New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc

When considering material presended regarding potential ethical issues that may arise in this community is it being perceived as exclusive to Maori and not inclusive to all OT's who may want that support and sense of community.  It could be misused as no one sustains and manages the community. 

There are benefits and limitations to online communities with relation to traditional geographical communities and the obvious factor is location.  It doesn't matter where you reside you can access the site and update everyone.  Other benefits is it provides up to date information, fosters understanding and unity and an equality of voice.  I have attended Te Umanga Whakaora meetings and everyones voice is heard regardless if you are a first year student or a practicing OT.  The limitations is that not everyone has access to the internet continually you could miss out on information if this is the only way the community communicates, you could become dependant on the site with regards to decision making sourcing other peoples ideas as opposed to coming up with your own, and possibly respecting their decisions, disregarding your own thinking they know better.

Turorial Five - Video Production Sessions

Tutorial five is based on a chosen topic of interest drawn from fieldwork experience or OT practice area.  As previously stated both my placements have been in the field of Pediatrics.  The occupational therapists role in this field is to provide assessments, treatment planning, and equipment for a range of difficulties that children can be experiencing.  This includes self care, play, leisure and daily routines.

A topic I found really interesting was Sensory Processing Disorders.  "As a whole, sensory processing is what allows us to make sense of the sensory imput we recieve and use it to produce an effective interaction with the environment" Anzalone & Lane (as cited in Lane & Bundy, 2012, p. 439)

"Sensory processing disorders can present as differences in responsitivity to sensory input, or as difficulty using sensory input to plan and execute a motor response, both have the potentioal to disrupt the ability to participate in daily activities." Anzalone & Lane (as cited in Lane & Bundy, 2012, p. 456)

These can present as Sensory overrespnsivity and Sensory avoidance, Sensory underrespnsivity and Sensory seeking and Responsiveness Inconsistency

Also Sensory based motor disorders, Praxis & Dyspraxia and Sensroy based postural disorder.

I hope this assists other students planning on working with Children during their next fieldwork placements, as this took me a little while to wrap my head around in my first year.  With Neuroscience this year it has help me significantly to understand this better.

Anzalone, M. & Lane, S. (2012). Sensory processing disorders. In. S. lane & A. Bundy. Kids can be kids: A childhood occupations approach. (pp. 437-459). Baltimore: F.A. Davis Company

This is a simple animation which I found provided a good easy to understand discription of Sensory processing disorder.

This video is of an Occupational Therapist working in the field of Pediatrics and demonstrates perfectly the role of the OT and what students can expect to come across when working with children. It briefly mentions Sensory processing disorders and the assessments they use.

This video will help explain what I mean when I talk about how a child will present with regards to sensory overresponsivity, sensory avoidance, sensory underresponsivity, sensory seeking and respnsiveness inconsistency

This video talks about the misconception of children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  It has honest opinions of what people think when they first meet children with SPD. 

This video demonstrates therapists learning more indepth about SPD.  I am a kinesthetic learner so I thought this was a good clip.

Tutorial Four - Video Production Session

Task one of tutorial four was to plan and produce a short film approximately 1 minute in length.  The group that I was assigned to included Darnell, Abby and Vennessa.  As a group we discussed which concept we would choose, we decided upon Occupational Disruption.  Abby had previous experience in filming making so guided us novice film makers through the process and we eventually designed a story board to demonstrate Occupational Disruption which Hilary then approved.  Occupational Disruption is defined as being the "temporary or transient and is a result from factor or situations over which the individual has some control." (Whiteford, 2010, p. 305). This is our story of Occupational Disruption.

I just wanted to highlight here that although these movies were light hearted and fun the concepts that we were addressing are very real and do impact people significantly.  I wanted to add a real life element to this tutorial and talk briefly about Occupational Deprivation which was a concept that our movies could have been based on.

Occupational Deprivation is "prolonged and due to extenal or environmental factors over which the individual has little or no control." (Whiteford, 2010, p. 305).  This is something that is affecting my community as I blog.  120 Affco workers have been locked out from work, with approximately 450 union members on strike in support of those workers.  Majority of these men and women have families so the effects have been devastating.  The community has been getting behind them through fundraisers and by providing food to those families affected and to those workers who are at the picket line day in and day out for 78 days now.  I personally know some of the families affected and so in support of those families I wanted to post this because that is what I am taking away from this learning in PIO that it is about getting information out there and accessing information via technology.

Whiteford, G. (2010). Occupational deprivation: Understanding limited participation. In. C. Christiansen & E. Townsend. Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living. (2nd ed.) (pp. 303-328). New Jersey: Oearson Education

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Tutorial Three - Blog Creation

During class time we had to follow instructions to create our blog.  It included choosing a template, creating a blog title and writing up an outline stating the purpose of the blog.

This tutorial session was a perfect example of why I have an adverse reaction to technology.  With technology their is always that element of surprise, or better known as technical difficulties. had updated its site overnight so as Hilliary instructed the class ofcourse nothing was where it was suppose to be.  But fortunately for us Occupational Therapists (OTs) are problem solvers and we eventually got the job done.

And that concluded tutorial three: blog creation.

Tutorial Two - Occupational Engagement, Doing, Being, Becoming and Belonging

My fieldwork setting was a school for children with disabilities.  My chosen occupation within this context was Intensive Interaction.  "Intensive interaction is designed to meet the learning needs of people who are still at early stages of communication." taken from  It is a type of communication where the student leads and is in charge and the adult copies.  I chose this topic because it complimented our learning regarding Do, Be, Become & Belong.

My role was to mirror the behaviour and vocalisation of a 12 year old male student diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.  I would share personal space, make eye contact, exchange facial expressions, copy the sounds he made and a variety of other techniques.

Doing - Hammell 1998 (as cited in Hammell, 2004, p. 301) defined as "The purpose of doing, includes purposeful, goal orientated activities.  The purpose of this occupation is to fully engage the student facilitating two-way communication and providing them with the means to enjoy being expressive and feeling connected.

Being - "Being has been defined as the time taken to reflect, be introspective or meditative, (re)discover self, savour the moment, appreciate nature, art or music in a contemplative manner and enjoy being with special people." Hammel 1998a (as cited in Hammel, 2004, p. 301).  This feeling of Being is what I got out of the experience, I as well as the student appreciated the quality time spent fully engaging with each other without the distraction of t.v, internet, music and so forth. 

Belonging - Rebeiro et al 2001 (as cited in Hammell, 2004, p. 302) defined belonging as "The neccessary contribution of social interaction, mutual support and friendship, and a sense of being included, to occupational preformance and life situations."  I can understand that my engaging the student that he would of sensed that feeling of belonging but I believe that I got more out of it.  It opened the students up to me as I spent that one on one time with me.  Although I was only seeing them once a week for a few hours they didn't forget me and their faces would light up each time I walked into the room.  This occupation allowed me to be accepted and belong to their classroom which I found really rewarding.

Becoming - Hammel 1998a (as cited in Hammell, 2004, p. 302). "Becoming describes the idea that people can envision future selves and possible lives, explore new opportunities and harbour ideas about who or what they wish to become over the course of their biographies and how their lives might be experienced as worthwhile.".  The work that I did with the children definitely inspired me to continue my path as and Occupational Therapist.  Upon leaving my setting I received a class photo of all the children I hang that on my wall so everytime that I'm feeling tired and beaten by my studies I look at their smiling faces and remind myself its all worth it.

Hammell, K. (2004). Dimensions of meaning in the occupations of daily life. Canadian journal of occupational therapy, 71 (5), 296-305