Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tutorial Eight - Assistive Technology

"Assistive technology is technology used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. Assistive technology can include mobility devices such as walkers and wheelchairs, as well as hardware, software, and peripherals that assist people with disabilities in accessing computers or other information technologies." (University of Washington, 2002)

In my own words, assistive technology aids in engaging in occupations for people who are unable to. This definition covers a wide range of technology from computers, so simple play toys that aid in the cause and effect.

In a recent class I had, taken by Trev from Star Mobility, we were introduced to a wide range of products he sells in his stores. It covered a very wide range of disabilities and we were able to play with a see how these aid. 

A particular piece that was introduced was the switches, particularly soft switches. In my first placement I saw a lot of children with disabilities which could benefit from plugging these into their play computers to use instead of struggling with a small mouse.

I was a palm sized red circle which was soft an squeezable, and when squeezed, it was like a mouse clicker. The approximate price of these were around $170. Trev informed us that the prices of his products are high due to the low production of any of the assitive tech. Companies make less of products and therefore have to charger more to cover costs. 

These are great for stimulating occupational engagement because by squeezing it, there is an effect. Trev also introduced the cause and effect idea to us in the tutorial, explaining that if a patient sees the effect they make by squeezing the clicker, it will encourage them to continue to do so. It can then escalate from there by adding clickers and getting a patient to press of squeeze the right one and eventually this could turn into math equations or choosing the right colour/ animal etc. 

It can also be for simple communication such as 'yes' or 'no'.

I couldn't find any examples of using specific soft switch which was in class, but heres another type of switch which is beneficial:

This is a baby, it obviously realizes that it gets a reaction from pressing the switch, which could be a big step for her. It could mean that later on in life she will not be as occupationally disrupted by her illness.

This next example is teaching how to adapt a toy, to be switch accessed. It great! but quite long.

University of Washington. (2002) What is assistive technology. Retrieved from

Tutorial Seven - Linking of Blogs

I have began a list on the right hand side of my blog where I am linking blogs that I find very interesting relating to occupational therapy practice. There are also a couple of fellow classmates blogs which I have linked there (Tracey James and Vanessa).

Tutorial Six - The internet and online communities.

In my first fieldwork, the OT practice area that interested me was Autism. I previously posted videos about this in my tutorial five, so there should be an understanding of what Autism is. 
In this tutorial I am to find three online communities that relate to Autism. 

These three communities are:

Drive for Rebecca 

Autism Blog

Autism Forum

 Drive for Rebecca is a website which is devoted to one girl called Rebecca who has Autism. It is Rebecca's father's "Relentless crusade to help his daughter and help change the world" Rebecca's father drove cross-country 2002 to raise money for their daughter and is an ongoing effort to raise funds for education, research and advocacy. And he did it again in 2011. There are links on this site helping others and especially a questions and answers page linked where 400+ families talk about special needs by giving their questions and answering other. There is also a handbook, free to download on this site, useful for parents. 

This site is the fathers seeking to help other parents who also have children with Autism and to make people aware, it is also to help raise money and there is the option to donate money. 

"Drive4Rebecca helps increase awareness of autism and asperger’s syndrome, raises funds for research and education, and helps parents become stronger advocates for their children with special needs"

Rebecca's father is experiencing occupational disruption to his life and by creating this community he has helped out parents who are in the same book, and well as contributing to research for cures and education.

Ethical issues may arise over if this site is authenticated, personally i would be reluctant to donate because I don't know exactly where my money is going. 

Autism Blog is a blog which I found called Knowledge for People- World Autism Education. This blog is very informative and updates on all the things this group of people is doing for Autism in underdeveloped countries. They tell of trips they go on to educate people all around the world.
This site relates to occupational deprivation, but in a positive way as it educates people about Autism and therefore allows people to get back into occupations informed of positives and negatives.
The information shared is one way, although there can be comments made on the blog postings, they may not reply?

'We are very excited to announce that we will be heading to the Maldives this summer to provide autism training and education to teachers, parents, doctors, and other professionals in Malé, Maldives. We will be hosted by the Maldives Autism Association (MAA) and are working closely with the teachers and staff. The MAA was founded by Madam Ilham Hussain in 2011 and they are working very hard to improve the quality of life for children with autism in the Maldives.'

I cannot see any ethical issues that arise with this blog, it is purely for people to see how people are contributing greatly to the education of Autism.

Autism Forum is a forum with many different sub headings to enter into, which discuss in depth the topics.A few key topics are : Autism and the Law, Autism Education Issues, Autism Diets, Studies and Surveys and many more. 
The intended purpose for the forum in education, to help people with someone who has Autism. The forums are specific and to the point. Any one can contribute, but I believe they have to register and there is also professionals who join the conversations to give professional opinions. 

People contribute to this community to help each other out and to know that they are not alone. 

This site seeks nothing in return but for the sharing of education.

There are very few ethical issues I could think of for this community, but possibly the fact that anyone CAN post, this means things could be said that offend others quite easily. There may be administrators to scan this though.  

This is obviously a very popular site judged on how many posts and topics there are (recorded on page). And with a forum section titled 'Alternative Autism treatments' I can also see how ethical issues may arise with this also.

I enjoyed reading some of the forums on this and if I was parent with an Autistic child, this would be my go-to to help me.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Tutorial Five - Video Production Session.

In my first fieldwork experience for Occupational Therapy I was introduced properly to the developmental disorder called Autism. I never really knew much about Autism before I went on placement other than it effecting behaviours. I knew that it was completely varied in each individual and I leanrt this is what they call the Autistic Spectrum Disorder, to suggest that there is a large spectrum to which a child can behave. I visited a young boy of 12 with this disorder and the next week was involved in a 3 day course revolving around this client, probelm sloving and discussing new interventions for him.

After this placement Autism became very interested in Autism.

The next five videos have been taken from Youtube to demonstrate the disorder and provide personal experiences.

This first video is a brief introduction to what Autism is and the 3 main areas that are affected:

Video two is the signs and syptoms of Autism.

I liked this third video because it lets you see that Autistic children can still participate fully in life and without being told, I would not have guessed the autistic child identified was any different from the rest. 

This forth video in an early detection test for autism.

My last video was one of the first videos I viewed when researching videos for this post. I had to put this on because its from the parents point of view, gives good stats... and I shead a small tear.

I hope you leanrt something from these videos and are more aware of Autism, especially from the last video about how it can affect someone.
When I become qualified I would love to work with Autistic children. 

Tutorial Four - Video Production, "Occupational Deprivation"


In class we were set a task in groups to produce a short film of approximately 1 minute in length. My group consisted of Sally, Tracey, Abby and I. We chose one of three concepts to base the film around which was occupational deprivation.

Occupational deprivation is the 'influence of external circumstances that prevents a person from acquiring, using or enjoying an occupation" (Townsed, E., & Wilcock, A. 2004)

This is why we chose to do our film on the deprivation of a vertically challenged person (Myself) trying to use the facilities in our WINTEC student hub. We decided to also use someone on the other end of the scale (Ben) who was very tall. This was to compare the difficulties of a verticallilly challenged person to someone who can easily reach the cupboards in the kitchen facilities to make a cup of tea.

We began our film by story- boarding our ideas. We tested out different areas of WINTEC to see the places I could not reach. The film was not allowed any dialogue so in the story boarding we had to make sure in each scene go the overall message across. This was compensated by common facial expressions and gestures to identify what the actors were doing. For example Ben helps me I am greatful, therefore give him a handshake to symbolise a thank you. Tracey was on filming and during the story-boarding we made sure to map out each shot. We included close ups, zooming, panning, full shots and mid shots. Full shots were a good way to grasp the large height difference between Ben and myself and zooming was beneficial to see what the actors were doing in each shot.

Enjoy watching :)

Townsend, E.,& Wilcock, A. (2004). Occupational justice and client centred prectoce: A dialogue in progress. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(2), 75-87.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Turtorial Two - Occupational Engagement, Doing, Being, Becoming & Belonging.


Weaving is a craft carried out in many cultures for different uses and meanings. It can be done as a part as a craft group or on you own. I chose this as a way of occupational engagement as it is a way to feel as though there is a belonging to a group. I first saw weaving in my most recent placement, Craft and Care (Fieldwork 2) I witnessed the weaving of mats used for things as place mats and shower mats. Craft and Care, like weaving, is where the elderly come together and engage in an occupation that has meaning. There's a sense of belonging and feeling as though they're occupying their time by doing something useful rather than not contributing.

Doing ‘includes purposeful, goal orientated activities’ (Hammell, 2004).
Hamell (2004) states "Being" as the ‘time taken to reflect, be introspective or meditative, (re)discover the self, savour the moment, appreciate nature, art or music in a complimentive manner and to enjoy being with special people.'
Becoming ‘Describes the idea that people can envision future selves and possible lives, explore new opportunities about who they wish to become over the course of their biographies and how their lives might be experienced as worthwhile, (Hammell, 2004) and lastly, Belong is a ‘social interaction, mutual support and friendship, and the sense of being included’. (Hammell, 2004)

Brief descriptions of each image is in the slideshow.

Ethical Considerations

I took my own photos during my fieldwork experience and due to ethical considerations of others I made sure to verbally receive consent from each individual in the photographs and made sure they knew I would be using them for learning purposes.

I then made the ethical consideration that if these participants were uncomfortable I would make sure not to take any photos of them and the ones who were OK with it had photos taken that were highly appropriate and non discriminative.

Another consideration of ethics I made were around the pictures taken off the Internet.  I made sure these were authentic and from an appropriate site (weaving instruction web page etc) and not from a social web page where it would not be OK to copyright the pictures.


Hammell, K.W. (2004). Dimensions of meaning in the occupations of daily life. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71 (5). 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tutorial One - Information Technology & Ethical Issues

This is my first post on my OT blog so bare with me.

In tutorial one we discussed information technology and ethical issues, this will be the focus for this blog. Personally I have always been great with technology, if I am unable to work something first go, I will usually fiddle around untill I figure it out. For example in my first placement as an OT in Tauranga I was in the office most of the day, kind of board, untill the  techy OT asked me if I could help her organise the apps (applications I further leanrt) she had just uploaded onto their brand new Ipads. I knew nothing about how to use them and admitted this but as soon as I got ahold of one I had become an expert and continued to coach the rest of the office in a meeting the next morning. I dont think I have ever read the instruction manual for a phone, printer or even the laptop I am using right now. It almost feel fluent to be able to work technology for me.

Information Technology or I.T, refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies. Many companies now have IT departments for managing the computers, networks, and other technical areas of their businesses.

It is classified by the Free Dictionary (2009) as, "The development, installation, and implementation of computer systems and applications." I interpret this to be how technology organises and communicates information electronically.

In considering the definition I have provided of I.T, I thought about how common place the use of technology has become. If we take the word "computer" in the definition and presume this in a generalisation, we are looking at every type of technology which organises information, this can range from the "computer" in our cell phone, to the "computer" in our fridge. These computers are getting more and more complex in todays society and allowing for more information to be stored.

Nowdays you can find the use of I.T anywhere. Literally anywhere, the simplist things are becoming a playground for new ways to incorperate technology into our everyday lives. No need to get the morning paper anymore when we can just jump online to our local Waikato Times.

While talking to a friend who had just been over seas he mentioned the amazing "talking shower" which he had experienced, I wondered how fast they would come to New Zealand.
Here is a quick demonstration I found on Youtube of how it works:
This just amazes me! Type your own password and knows (after programming it in) what temperature and speed you like your shower at, then it shows how you can change the settings for pressure and which jets you would like turned on.

When talking to my parents they expressed how amazed they were that the cell phone has become so compact, complex and how many different things it can now do. My mother didn't even know she could connect to the internet on cell phones now and was just blown away. Taking this is in I then wondered what it will be like when I am thier age, will the 'talking shower' be the 'norm' in everyones house, will it turn into a full on robot that cleans your body for you? Who knows.

All I knows is, I.T is becoming more and more a common place in our daily lives. Everyones using is in most hours of our day.

I feel confident and comfortable using most I.T devices or systems that are avalible to me. I am often called apon in my family to help with any general I.T problems they have. Being from Hamilton and doing an Otago course means I benefited well from the blended learning we do. I would say I do 60% of work for my course is online. This is my number one purposeful occupation to do with technology in my current life stage. Outside of studying I also enage in purposefull occupations through I.T such as social networking. I use Facebook and believe I wouldn't be able to keep in touch with friend and family as well as I do without it. I have kept in touch with people I dont think I could have if I didn't have Facebook and this is very inportant to me. Like every other teenager would say, my cellphone is also a big part of my life which allows me to engage in purposeful occupations. Through the use of my cellphone I am able to organise things with the touch of a few buttons. With a simple call I am able to let people know my wherabouts or call on a friend to catch up.

In the comfort side of I.T I do not have a problem using anything, although there may be some things I am unable to do. Its not that I cant do it, just that I haven't attempted to or been taught how. Recently my class mate Dave informed me of a whole new world I hadn't discovered... on my own laptop. I was sure I knew everything there was until he taught me how to delete "cookies" and "defragment" my disk and even went on to tell me my antivirus was a bad choice. He then showed me a free and more effective choice of antivirus simply downloaded off the internet... saved me another $100 which would've been spent on Norton Antivirus. This just goes to show that I will never know everything there is to know about I.T and its forever evolving world.

In my introduction to this post I shared the story of my first fieldwork where I helped out the Technology Occupational Therapist. There are so many ways in wich I.T is used in OT and new things are being found. I was sorting the applications on the Ipads into categories which may be used for different clients. One folder I made was for visually imparied children, which used colours and shapes on simple apps. There was a folder for the congitively impaired which I then sorted into folders such as maths equations and punctuations etc... A visit I did with my supervisor on that placement was to a special unit in an intermediate school. I could help but stare and be amazed at a wheelchair one of the children was in. He was fully able to move the wheelchair own his own even though he had a very little amount of movement. He was able to change the setting with his fingers which then allowed him to ellectically move the wheelchair purely on the small movements in his head, amazing. Check this out:

There are many many more ways I.T can benefit in OT, but I had also wondered if there were any possible issues around the adoption of I.T systems and tools, I researched this and found only positive outcomes to bringing I.T into OT. My concern would be if an OT didnt have a good understanding of an I.T system or tool.

A good understanding of I.T woul be required if an OT decided to use it in practice to enable occupation. For one, we cannot teach a client about how and why we are using a certain I.T tool if we do not know oursleves! By understanding how a system works we will be truely able to assess if it is what the client really needs.

Back to I.T in general, in class we discussed a few ethical considerations that arise from I.T. There is millions and millions or capturing, sharing and transfering ot information via I.T devices every day. Although I thought Facebook was a great way to catch up with long lost friends, does this mean we are getting less personal? The lack of privacy is also what I would suggest as an ethical issue. Once a photo is uploaded onto Facebook any one can copy and send these. Personally I would say that I feel a little invaded when friend upload pictures of me which I wouldnt want on Facebook, on the other hand I am a big fan of collecting memories through photos.

Social networking is also known for 'cyber bulling' where people are able to say things they wouldnt usually and post it on someones site. Teenagers become more vulnerble to cyber bulling on social networks as everyone they are 'friends' with can see and comment anything on their home page. There has been many cases where is has gone too far.
This is a Youtube clip where Dannielle miller discusses Social network bullying and how Facebook aided in Daani Sanders taking her own life.


The Free Dictionary by Farlex (2009) Information Technology. Retrieved from