Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Tutorial eight : Assistive technology

In general.--The term `assistive technology device' means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability.

US Department of Education (2004). Building the legacy: idea 2004 Retrieved from

This is navigation technology for PC or Laptop that will enable the client’s access to software and internet connectivity. Clients with conditions like cerebral palsy, locked in syndrome or Muscular Dystrophy can benefit from its innovation. This will lessen the ‘digital divide’ which is defined as the unevenness of spreading of access to technology. With practice the technology will allow clients to communicate directly with therapists enabling them to directly identify any issues or possible goals they may have had difficulty expressing before
 It comes in the physical form of a webcam  located above (and fixed to) the monitor. It is directed at the user and allows them to control the cursor with slight head movements. A reflective dot is fixed to a head strap, cap or glasses (if the client is required to wear them). This enables users with decreased upper limb ability to freely use PC’s or laptops. The Sip and Puff switch allows users to control the left and right click features of the mouse by either sipping (inhaling) or puffing (exhaling).  Both features require the minimum of movement and exertion. This technology will also be of enormous benefit for clients with spinal injury, brain injury and CVA. The purchase price is $499.

Image retrieved from 

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Counterstrike "hands free" I want one. Retrieved from 

Michael Retrieved from

Tutorial seven: Linking to blogs of interest

Here are five blogs of interest to me as an Occupational Therapy student

I posted a comment on to this site about pediatric Occupational therapy. My next placement will be in this setting, so this blog was GREAT

Great to see some comments posted

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Tutorial five: Video production

As Occupational therapy students we are required to take part in a number of "placements". During my first year I was placed in a setting that assessed clients for complex wheelchair seating.


Here is a clip of a young man with Muscular Dystrophy showing us that even though he may not be able to drive a car yet, he can still participate in the popular sport of drifting.


 This clip shows the advances in the world of powered wheelchairs.


 All terrain wheelchairs have the ability to allow the user the chance of easily accessing areas they may not have been able to before.


 Here we see concept wheelchairs utilising all terrain tracks to enable the effortless climbing of stairs.


 For the everyday wheelchair user a great deal of the world can be just outside of their reach, these powered chairs allow the user accessibility without making the wheelchair physically any larger than a standard model. Although this technology does come with a substantial pricetag.

Tutorial six: On-line communities

Here are the links to three online communities i have selected that are of relevance to my studies as an Occupational Therapist

My handicap is a information and support site for people living with disability. It provides information on health issues, relationships, schooling, travel and mobility as well as sports fixtures. It is a free website and is run not for profit. The site does have a "Donations" tab which helps to cover the cost of maintaining a website. The site has a "login portal" that allows registered users access to a question and answer forum.

Disabled On-line is an on-line shopping and social networking site for people with disability. It host shopping opportunities for a number of assistive devices. Members  also have the opportunity to participate in live chats, post in the forums, write blogs, play arcade games, add a classified, share an event, watch videos, upload photos, take polls, and quizzes. The site is non-profit and is supported by sponsorship by and Rollator.

Workbridge is an information site designed to create employment opportunities for people with disability. It is not an interactive site as such, but provides employers with a strong argument for employing people with disability. Workbridge is contracted to ACC to provide a range of vocational assessment and vocational rehabilitation services for people throughout New Zealand. Workbridge works in partnership with other providers to supply services like employment maintenance and graduated return to work programs, as well as a range of other work preparation  schemes and assessments. The site allows contributions in the form of a "comments" page and also hosts a "jobs vacant" section.

My handicaps followers contribute to the site by making their own posts on boards seeking answers to issues they may be facing. They are able to use the site to stay in contact with like-minded people and share information. This involves the site acting as a portal for users worldwide who can relate to the concepts of “occupational deprivation” and “occupational disruption”. Information and different perspectives shared by its members go toward helping other members that may experience issues involving these concepts.

Workbridge has contribution in the form of a “feedback” page allowing people to post comments and thoughts about the service itself.  Prospective employers may use the site as a method of contact with the service. The site provides information on disability issues, compensation schemes as well as information on possible employees. The site addresses the concept of “occupational transition” as it enables people living with disability the opportunity to enter or re-enter the workforce.

Disabled community followers are able to use the site as a social networking tool as well as being able to post on in-site blogs. Advertising in the form of classifieds as well as postings on forum topics mean the information is a “two way street”.
Ethical issues
When dealing with the facelessness that any social networking site offers, there will be the users that take advantage. Users must take this on board and realize that the information they choose to disclose is available to all. The sites themselves have a form of self-regulation, inappropriate blogs or forum post are removed and unsavory members can be flagged. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Tutorial four: Occupational Deprivation

Occupational Deprivation Whiteford (2000) states that “Occupational deprivation is a relatively new term which describes a state in which people are precluded from opportunities to engage in occupations of meaning due to factors outside their control. As we face the new millennium, it seems likely that, due to widespread social and economic change as well as increasing civil unrest, occupational deprivation will be experienced by increasing numbers of people globally”.

 This short clip was produced to illuminate some of the daily difficulties that a person with disability faces, and that these continuing difficulties can lead to “Occupational deprivation”. The brief planning period involved brainstorming ideas and methods of delivery, as well as storyboarding the scenes. The actors Gareth and Pip under the watchful eye of Brad (cameraman) and myself (in the director’s chair) completed filming in single takes. After a brief but involved editing session (using Windows Live Movie Maker) and the creation and addition of its soundtrack, we were left with this light hearted look at a more serious issue.

Whiteford, G. (2000, May 5). Occupational Deprivation: Global Challenge in the New Millennium. College      of Occupational Therapists, 63, 200-204.

Tutorial two Do, Be, Become, Belong

1. Workshop employee [image]. (2009) retrieved from
2. Bedford shoes [image]. (1950) retrieved from
3. Opportunity centre [image]. (2012) retrieved from
4. Opportunity centre [image]. (2012) retrieved from 5. Front [image]. (2006) retrieved from
6. Southside sheltered workshop faces closure [image]. (2010) retrieved from
7. Southside sheltered workshop faces closure [image]. (2010) retrieved from
8. Rotary team visits sheltered workshop [image]. (2008) retrieved from
9. Emerging sheltered workshops [image]. (2010) retrieved from
10. Room 605 [image]. (n.d) retrieved from
11. Kibois [image]. (2012) retrieved from
12. A clever knife block made by clever people [image]. (2010) retrieved from
13. Stockings by Camemberu [image]. (2011) retrieved from
14. Learning the way, Ovenden (2012).
15. Disabled people should be treated as part of the mainstream labour force [image]. (2011) retrieved from
16. Clothes airer [image]. (2010) retrieved from
17. Tools of the trade, Ovenden (2012).
18. At work, Ovenden (2012)
19. Finished product, Ovenden (2012).
20. More finished product, Ovenden (2012).

 My second placement involved immersion in one of the few remaining “supported workshops” still operating. This allowed me to gain first-hand knowledge of the importance that being employed had to its clients (or “employees”). Participation in the occupations this site offered allowed its clients clear structure, and a sense of purpose they may have not been able to achieve in their lives. To “Do” -The concept of doing includes purposeful, goal-oriented activities; doing has been a traditional preoccupation of occupational therapy (Hammell, 1998a).
 Slides 1, 4, 7, 19 depict employees getting on with their daily occupations within their respective sites To “Be” -Being has been defined as time taken to reflect, be introspective or meditative, (re)discover the self, savour the moment, appreciate nature, art or music in a contemplative manner and to enjoy being with special people (Hammell, 1998a).
 Slides 12, 14, 16, 17, 20, and 21 illustrate some of the initiatives and organisations that allow people to “Be”. To “Become” -“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 (Hammell, 1998a).
 Slides 8, 9, 10, 13, 18 depict individuals in situations geared toward allowing them to progress in their daily lives and in the case of slide 18 the possible outcomes of this progression. To “Belong” -Rebeiro et al. (2001) used the term belonging to describe the necessary contribution of social interaction, mutual support and friendship, and the sense of being included, to occupational performance and life satisfaction.
 Slides 3, 5, and 11 depict the clients of workshops as “belonging” to the organisation as a valued member whereas slide 6 shows an organisation that gives the supported environment that its clients need.

 Ethical considerations The first consideration and possibly the most direct was that of asking the individuals in my own personal images for their consent. Secondly was that the images taken from online sources were from reputable sites and not any social networking sites. Thirdly was the necessity to keep the individauls anonymous.

 Hammel, K. W. (1998a). From the neck up: Quality in life following high spinal cord injury.Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia .

 Robeiro, K.L., Day, D., Semeniuk, B., O’Brien, M., & Wilson, B. (2001). Northern initiative for social action: An occupation-based mental health program. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 55, 493-500.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Tutorial one: OT to IT and ICT

In the 1960s and 1970s, the term information technology (IT) was a little known phrase that was used by those who worked in places like banks and hospitals to describe the processes they used to store information. With the paradigm shift to computing technology and "paperless" workplaces, information technology has come to be a household phrase. It defines an industry that uses computers, networking, software programming, and other equipment and processes to store, process, retrieve, transmit, and protect information (What is information technology, 2012).
 ICT refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications. It is similar to information technology (IT), but focuses primarily on communication technologies. This includes the internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication mediums (Techterms, 2012).
 IT and ICT are here to stay, and are the natural byproduct of an ever increasing technologically savvy society. With them come benefits to us as budding Occupational Therapists, but also a number of issues that information in such a public domain creates. Whether we are aware of it or not, the IT and ICT worlds have an impact on our daily lives. Most of us either use mobile phone, network, or internet technology on a daily basis and think nothing of it. It has established itself (in a relatively short space of time) as a part of daily life that we would suffer isolation in its absence. Ironically the more we depend on technology, the more autonomy we give it by design, making it less reliant on us (and our faults). Since the early 1940’s and the beginnings of Silicon Valley the IT industry has progressed in leaps and bounds, continuing at this geometric rate of progression you wouldn’t be laughed at for thinking information technologies “self-awareness” (made popular by movies like “Terminator”) a real possibility.
 Computing power is something that is of particular significance to me. Whether it’s enabling me to play visually realistic games online with people I have never met, or creating new music using software such as “Fruity-loops”, “Cakewalk and “Acid” and of course not to mention school work. The household PC is a tool I am particularly comfortable with. The price tag involved with modern technology can be out of the range of the average polytechnic student, and this is one of the major factors limiting the full usage of these tools. The speed at which technology is continually being upgraded and superceeded means that in order to stay current a respectable amount of money is required.
 As a young first year occupational therapy student on placement at a complex wheelchair seating venue, I was impressed to see the level of technology going into the control systems and comfort systems of the modern powered wheelchairs. The powered chairs were completely customizable not only in the physical comfort of the seat itself but also in the programmable controls. This took into consideration the client’s own abilities and needs and gave them maximum benefit from the chair. The downside of this was that the chairs needed their own technicians to be able to encode their systems adding an extra expense.
 Information Technology is a valuable tool for practice. It can be as meaningful as to be able to allow communication in the case of “I-Gaze” technology or as simple as being used as a demonstrative tool, in the form of on-line tutorials. Some of the underlying principles of IT are that things can be achieved faster with less effort, with greater communication, and that more of this in total can be achieved. I feel these concepts can be applied to any workplace/practice or environment (albeit carefully) to enhance the experience and effectiveness for all involved. Ethically speaking however a whole new set of problems opens up. The concepts of “more, Faster and easier” need to be applied to awareness as well as the goals of information technologies use. An example of these types of issues can be plainly seen in social networking sites, and their ability to make people visible to the entire world (which is not always a good idea). A simple disclosure can lead to all manner of implications for the person involved. Data hijacking, cyber bullying are other issues that come to mind when looking into social networking, usually targeting younger members of society.

 Techterms. (2012). Retrieved from
 What is information technology. (2012). Retrieved from