Thursday, 17 May 2012

Assistive Technology

Cook & Hussey (2000) define assistive technology as “any item, piece of equipment or product system whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized that is used to increase or improve functional capabilities of individual with disabilities” (p.5). This definition is self explanatory in that assistive technology is anything that can aid the function of someone with a disability. Some times obtaining an item that has been made by a manufacturer may be more than adequate for that person, however there are occasions where a persons disability may be unique or have unique characteristics in which an item will need to be modified or designed from scratch for them specifically.

The technology I have chosen is the iPad. The new version, which hasn't long been released, costs about $729 from the Apple iStore and is pretty much the same in stores such as Noel Leeming and Harvey Norman. The dimensions of the iPad are: Height: 241.2 mm (9.50 inches), Width: 185.7 mm (7.31 inches) and Depth: 9.41 mm (0.37 inch). This makes it very easy to transport and use at any time, and any place.
There are many features of the iPad ranging from being used for a camera, video recorder, storage of photos and other files, connecting to the internet and downloading apps such as ones that can help in communication, memory training and so on.
‘occupational engagement encompasses all that we do to become occupied’ (Occupational Therapy, 2012). With the iPad's vast uses and applications, it can allow someone to become more engaged in everyday meaningful occupations.

Occupational transition allows one to be able to engage in occupation that is similar to those that they previously were able to do or engage in new ones. The ipad is a great way of getting stroke patients (and other people living with disabilities) working on regaining lost function and increasing their independence.
I came across this blog that is about someone’s experience of a close family member using the iPad as a form of rehab, after suffering a stroke, working on a range issues from fine motor skills to reasoning skills to being able to communicate with others.

I also found this YouTube clip which shows how the iPads communication applications can improve ones ability to communicate and improve their speech as they try to pronounce the words after the iPad has stated it for them.

(PeninsulaRehabCenter, 2011)

Occupational justice is about recognizing that humans are occupational beings who participate in occupation as a way of life. It is important for quality of life and our wellbeing. It can define who are are (Christiansen & Townsend, 2009). Both of these links are proof that technology can definitely open up a door to endless opportunities to those that are disabled.

Cloninger, J. (2011). Using the iPad 2 in Stroke recovery - my family's experience. Retrieved 17 May, 2012, from %99s-experience/
Cook, A. M., & Hussey, S. M. (2000). Assistive technologies: Principles and practice. St Louis: Mosby
Occupational Therapy. (2012). Retrieved 16 May, 2012 from
PeninsulaRehabCenter. (2011). Using the IPAD for speech therapy at the peninsula rehab center.
Retrieved 17, May, 2012 from
Christiansen, C. H, & Townsend E. A, (Eds). (2009). Introduction to Occupation: The Art and Science of Living. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc

OT Blogs

This tutorial required us to find 5 blogs that relate to occupational therapy. There are a whole range of blogs out that written for OTs by OTs. I chose the following blogs to follow and comment on and they were very interesting. the first is about an OT over in the USA, Karen, and dates right back to when she first started at OT school. She updates pretty much everyday about all sorts of things that has happened and things that she has learned.
The second blog is about how OTs can use different apps with all sorts of people. Carol is an experienced OT who has been working with children and exploring apps on the iPad. It has made me realize that not only can technology do so much, it can do a whole lot more than we actually give it credit for.
The third blog I came across was Kara's. This is another OT who regulary updates her blog about different things she has learned. The post that caught my eye was one about switches. It was of interest to me because we hadn't long had a visit from a guy who works with disabled people and used such devices to get them engaging in different occupations.
The forth blog was Mike's. Different professional can post on this blog as a way to share their experiences, knowledge and in hope to inspire others. The blog that took my interest was one by an Physio about sports rehab. It was interesting to find out that sports can be used as a form of therapy. For us OTs it can be used as a form of meaningful occupation with clients if it appropriate to do so. This could be about getting them back into the community and socializing.
The last blog is from a fellow class mate, Jessamy. We had to chose another students' blog as part of the five blogs. This gives a perspective of an OT that is currently going through the degree program.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Online communities

Community is "A group of interacting people, living in some proximity (i.e., in space, time, or relationship). Community usually refers to a social unit larger than a household that shares common values and has social cohesion. The term can also refer to the national community or international community" (Community, 2012, para. 1). There are several types on communities from Geographical or communities of location (ie. neighbourhood), communities of culture (ie religion, ethic groups, or identified by needs such as disabled persons), and community organizations (ie. informal based on family and kinship or formal business and political organizations).

Virtual or online communities are social networks in which people can interact through specific media. These may include any or a combination of the above communities such as geographical and political so that they can purse mutual interests and goals (Virtual community, 2012).

There are many online communities now-a-days. Youtube, Wikipedia and Facebook, just to name a few!

YouTube is all about ‘broadcasting youself’. This is an online community in which people upload videos (personal videos, tv/movie clips, music videos) so that others can view, comment, like/dislike, use, and share with others. This is a very interactive web community that is available in 54 different languages and just about any where in the world. (YouTube, 2012).

Wikipedia is an online enclycopedia in which people can research almost any topic imaginable. This site allows for the contribution of others by allowing them to edit just about any page as they see fit. Wikipedia has over 21 million articles and available in 283 languages with 2.7 billion page views per month just from the U.S alone (Wikipedia, 2012).

Facebook is an online social networking site allowing for members all over the world to interact with others, share thoughts via posts, photos, video, play games and so much more. The site has over 845 million active profiles. Not only is it used by individuals but by companies, groups, tv programs and so on. (Facebook, 2012). At the beginning of 2011, over 250 million people sign in on a daily basis (Hepbrun 2011).

There are four main reasons people choose to join up, contribute etc to an online community. Peter Kollock (1999) state that people join online communities for Anticipate Reciprocity, Increased Recognition, and Self Efficacy. Anticipated reciprocity is the expectation in that if one contributes to a service, they will get information in return. Increase Recognition is the user seeking recognition for their contribution to the site. Self efficacy refers to the sense that one has had an impact on this environment and that they are a ‘helper’. Sense of Community can be created by making someone feel welcomed to the site, informality and to not be judged by others that share the same community. Also by being created by an actual person and allowing them to communicate or share thoughts/posts with other community users. (Creating a sense of community around a website, 2012)

There are several issues that may arise from using such online communities.
Social injustice - a persons’ human rights may be breached in many ways. Posting comments about someone, tagging them in photos, invasion of privacy and identity all without having asked for their permission before doing so. This is can be related to any online community in which someone has a profile, allows for comments to be posted etc. For example Facebook.
Lack of informed consent: this is not asking for permission to tag people in photos, name them in posts, sending requests (ie for gaming purposes).

Lack of identity accountability - people can upload and edit internet sites anonymously thus not taking responsibility of their actions.

Lack of privacy - once some one had used an online community is can open all sorts of doors. One can type in someones’ name and no doubt at least one thing will turn up in the search of them. This could be a facebook page, an article etc.

With anything there are always the benefits and the limitations. For online communities these are:
connect with others with whom they have lost contact with and interact with others around the world who they may have never met before.
Allows people to view someone’ s personality
connect with people who have similar interests/needs/concerns
foster understanding and unity
provide a large amount of information available at our finger tips
allows for silent observation prior to participation
usually doesn’t cost to use an online community basic services
great equality of voice
speed of information sharing
ability to monitor and regulate users

Limitations: these are only available to those that use and have internet access.
Technology compatibility
Delusional reliance on virtual communities
rapid growth may result in unwanted or unperceived changes
limitied communication tools
validity of the information being shared
who sustains and manages the community

Community. 2012. Retrieved April 22, from

Creating a sense of community around a website. 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2012, from

Facebook. (2012). Retrieved March 30, 2012, from

Hepburn, A. (2011). Facebook statistics, stats and facts for 2011. Retrieved 22/03/12 from

Kollock, P. (1999). The Economies of Online Cooperation:Gifts and Public Goods in Cyberspace. Retrieved April 1, 2012, from

Virtual community. (2012). Retrieved April 1, 2012, from

Wikipedia. (2012). Retrieved March 30, 2012, from

Youtube. (2012). Retrieved March 30, 2012, from

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Online Videos

One of the main things taken from my second placement was the emphasis on crafts and craft making. These crafts can be anything at all, from cards, making collages and so on. They can also range from simple to complex, depending on the persons' ability.
No matter the level of involvement, one always contribute to the creation of a craft. The following videos are examples of crafts and how they can be linked to occupational therapy practice:

This video shows the process of making a paper gift box

(CreativeChoices, 2008)
This video talks about making craft a business. People craft for different reasons one could be to make some money from doing something they love.

(Fetlgd57, 2008)
Although this clip is about leather craft, it can be applied to any craft that people may participate in. Making a gift for someone can be very rewarding in itself. Seeing their face light up when they open it and see it’s been made by hand. Taking notice of all the time and effort one has put into choosing, making and presenting the gift.

(Babaraannsmith, 2011)
This video is by an OT demonstrating a craft can can enhance the pincer grip strength of the hand and fingers.

(Babaraannsmith, 2008)
Although these videos are aimed at making crafts with children, the task of craft making can be modified to suit the inidivuals’ needs whether it be for someone who has a mental, cognitive or physical disability. This is a great way to teach or re-teach a range of skills from co-odination, excutive functions (planning), fine and gross movements, pincer strength and so on.


Babaraannsmith. (2008). Retrieved April 20, 2010,

Babaraannsmith. (2011). Retrieved April 20, 2010, from

CreativeChoices. (2008). Retrieved April 5, 2010, from

EHowArtsandCrafts. (2010). Retrieved April 2, 2010, from

Fetlgd57. (2008). Retrieved April 20, 2010, from

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Making a movie :D

One of our missions was to plan, shoot, produce and then edit a piece of material using a video camera and using movie editing programs.
Occupational deprivation is the ‘influence of external circumstances that prevents a person from acquiring, using or enjoying occupation over an extended period of time’ (Towsend and Wilcock, 2004).
Occupational deprivation was chosen to depict how one with a disability, ie in the movie someone in a wheelchair, can be excluded and deprived from doing what it is they need/want to do.
Firstly as a group we chose which sub topic we would like to depict (occupational justice, deprivation, transition and disruption). Once we had chosen which one, we then proceeded to come up with ideas for how we could express occupation deprivation in a movie. We chose a few ideas and then chose the location/s within the polytechnic in which we recorded several small sections. These sections were then edited using the iMovie program enabling us to cut out segments of the sections, rearrange segments and add special effects such as speeding up, slowing down, old fashion look, titles, deleting any sound then adding music in the background. Once the editing was finished, we then posted the movie on to this blog for our fellow students to view.

Making a blog

In order to create a blogger account you must first set up a google account if you do not already have one. Go to, sign up and follow the instructions to setting up you own account. Once signed up you can then choose a blog template, design the blog how you like, create titles, change colours of the background and fonts and so on. Using the new version, you can change the design of your blog, from font, backround and so on, by clicking on the template link on the left hand side on the main page. Click customize to change the fonts etc. To create a blog title, click layout and ‘header’ or one of the first bars at the top of the layout page. This allows you to create a title and give a brief description about your blog. You can also add what is called ‘gadgets’ (if you prefer) to your blog page by clicking on the ‘add gadget’ link on the right hand side. This can be a range of things, such as the wolf on mine. Most are just quirky little things that express who you are. To ensure that the correct time is displayed when posting a segment, click on the setting - language and settings. Once all these basics are set up, you are now ready for your first post! Click ‘ new post’ on the left on the main screen and away you go. To edit or delete any posts simply click ‘posts’, then choose from the options displayed under the title when the mouse is placed over it. Explaining how to ‘embed’ clips etc is a little hard to explain, Youtube is probably one the easiest, in that you click ‘share’ underneath the video and then embed. This will give you a code which you copy and then paste into your blog. Most things that have the ability to be embedded, will happen in a similar way. Happy blogging :D

Friday, 9 March 2012

Occupational Engagement and SlideShare

Occupational engagement means to involve oneself, become occupied and to participate in an occupation. To participate requires the involvement of being, becoming and belonging, which includes performing or doing occupations.

Doing: includes purposeful and goal orientated activities striving for a sense of purpose and fulfillment (Hammel, 2004).

Being: is a very important aspect of living. it is taking the time to reflect, discover oneself, appreciating the self and others as well as being able to savour life's moments and to learn from experience (Hammel, 2004).

Belonging: the necessary contribution of social interaction, mutual support, and friendship. This takes into account that one able to perceive that one's life has value not only for themselves but for others around them (Hammel, 2004).

Becoming:is about being able to envision their future selves, and possible lives, exploring new opportunities and ideas (Hammel, 2004).

Slideshare is one of the many ways in which we can connect information from one website to another. This is known as embedding. In computing, embedding media into a text document, forming a compound document (Embedded, 2012). Embedding is great for video, music clips and powerpoints. One of our class objectives was to create a powerpoint using a variety of photos both original and from the internet. The next step was to upload the powerpoint to the Slideshare website then selecting the embed button, a code was revealed. This was then copied and placed into a blog posting. The end result (if all goes well) is this:

This slide was based on baking as it is something I love doing when I have the time and it was part of a range of activities that allowed staff and clients to interact with on a placement that I have done previously.

Doing: Baking tends to have purpose and an outcome, whether it be for children's lunches/snacks, special occasions or for the pure fact of being involved in something meaningful.

Being: Baking is something that one tends to learn through experimentation, trial and error as well as then evaluating how they thought the process went and whether the outcome was achieved to one's personal standards.

Belonging: some of the slides show the sense of belonging in which a few people are working together to create some baking.

Becoming: Before baking something, most people tend to have a 'plan' or envision the outcome they wish to create as a final product. There are a few slides in which the baking has been completed.

'Embedded'. (2012). Retrieved March 9, 2012, from

Whitetiger172. (2012, March 8). Baking. Retrieved March 8, 2012, from