Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology is define as:  
Any item, piece of equipment or product system whether required commercially or off  the shelf, modified or customized that is used to increase or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Ref: Cook, A.M., & Hussey, S.M. (2002). Assistive technologies: principals and practice. St Louis: Mosby.

My interpretation of this definition, a selection of ingenious devises or tools that serves the purpose of improving a person’s ability to carry out daily functions.  These devises can be home made, adaptive or commercially provided to fill a deficient in function.

The definition by Cook et al, covers a vast variety of devices and systems.  These can be categorized into 3 areas being:
Assistive versus rehabilitation or educational technologies: To develop skills to use assistive technology in the process of rehabilitation it is usually called upon to use educational technology e.g. cognitive retaining software). Cook et al, (2002).
Low to high technology:  This refers to the catagoring devices into whether they are expensive to use or easily made e.g. a pencil grip as opposed to a wheelchair. Cook et al, (2002).
Hard and soft:  Hard are tangible, ready to use, easy to assemble.  Soft are involved in human areas i.e. decision making, training, strategies, etc. Cook et al, (2002).

Reading Pen2.

The following information is a description on a gadget called Reading Pen2 and this is considered assistive technology.
It is a hand held pen, battery operated.  Size (L x W x H) 163 x 38 x 23mm with cover.  The cost can be expected to be around $675.00 retail.
  • Displays selected word in large font to enable easier, clearer viewing
  • Reads scanned text aloud.
  • Spells out scanned words.
  • Direct look-up of idioms/phases.
  • Recognition of a wide range of printed font types and sizes.
  • Right and left hand support.

Reading Pen2 is ideal for people with reading or learning disabilities or for people who have English as a second language.  The pen has been designed for people suffering from dyslexia or learning disabilities.  It supports with reading and ideal for those who struggle with spelling, pronunciation and comprehension.  Use of this pen encourages independent and inclusive learning, thus additional support is decreased.

Ref: Star Education Ltd: Mobility & Disability Centre. (n.d.). Reading pen2 [Brochure]. WizCom Technologies Ltd.

Since the pen has been designed for people with dyslexia, its most beneficial use would be in a classroom.  They come in two levels, being, child and adult.  Proper use of this pen would enable students to participate actively in class work, perform better in exams and give them the incentive and confidence to continue with education.  People with English as a second language will find it supportive for education and everyday use where translation or pronunciation may be difficult.

Any assistive device that enables a person, with a disability, i.e. dyslexia will have an impact on their ability to perform and succeed within any learning environment.  Some people in the past have not had the assistance or support with their struggle in learning and comprehension difficulties so have experienced occupation deprivation due to dropping out of the school system or unable to maintain employment in certain areas.  As their disability is permanent, without help, it would deprive them of many occupational opportunities.

The following links are videos of how the Reading Pen2 can be used by people with dyslexia. 
                       Ref:: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f400NcyxtM 

This link demonstrates how the pen works.


For manufacturer's information please visit Spectronics

Linking to blogs of interests and exchange of comments

I have have listed at the front of my page 5 blogs that relate to Occupational Therapy Practice. These can also be view from the list below as well.

These blogs are from global sources, along with New Zealand and one being a fellow student within my course.

OT blog list
The following is evidence that a discussion has taken place over a point of interest within my blog.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Internet and online communities

"Occupational Disruption/Deprivation"
Definition:  Occupational Disruption.
"A Transient or temporary condition of being restricted from participation in necessary or meaningful occupations, such as that caused by illness and generally temporary".

Definition:  Occupational Deprivation.
"Influence of external circumstances that prevents a person from acquiring, using, or enjoying occupation over an extended period of time".

Ref: Christiansen, C.H.  & Townsend, E. A. (2010). Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Pearson.

I have provided links to 3 online communities that relate to  the above topic. 
In my first fieldwork, I worked in Community Occupational Therapy.  It was here that I observed occupational disruption that people suffered through injury, chronic illness, disability and disease. Unfortunately due to the nature of some illnessess occupational deprivation was often the result.

Following each link I have given a brief description of the community and considered material presented online.

The purpose of this site is to provide easy access to all information on claim and legislation concerning injury and accident.  It provides eligibility for claims for individuals, businesses and providers.  Although there is a huge amount of information available on this website, it is not very interactive.  There is no public forum but people can place feedback via email.   With no public forum, most feed back with be concerning obtaining more information on claims or issues that have arrived due to placing a claim.

ACC is a huge administration within New Zealand.  It supports individuals financial with assistance to get back into work or support them financially while recovering from injury or accident.  New Zealand business annually contribute financial levies to the corporation.  People would comment on  this online community when there is extra information required, problems when making a claim or reporting fraud.  So basically feedback occurs to clarify or obtain more information about customer questions.  This information is reciprocal but private.

ACC supports individuals and employers with framework of getting people back into work after injury through accident.  It supports the individual financially and also through rehabilitation.  It provides employers with schemes to reinstate employees back to work e.g. the Stay at Work programme, which enables workers to rehabilitate while at  work and also assists with work and housing modifications.

2)Arthritis New Zealand
Arthritis New Zealand is a site intended to provide the general public of New Sealant with information on arthritis.  It covers the disease/condition in great detail from prognosis, diagnosis to manifestations.  It raises awareness and advocates for sufferers and provides free, accessible information to everyone.
It is moderately interactive.  It offers expert advice and a facilities for questions and answers.  There is a blog attached to it and people have the opportunity to write their experiences about the disease.

People mainly contribute by way of personal stories through the blog and there seems to be a sense of support and wanting to share their experiences of pain and success with living with arthritis.  Comments are available.

I chose this site because during my fieldwork placement in Community OT, there were many clients  who were experiencing occupational disruption due to their condition.  Many were unable to participate in meaningful activity  due to pain suffered.  As Occupational Therapists we were able to put in place equipment to help them adapt and assist their physical functioning to participate again in meaningful activities that they have performed in the past.  An example being a lady unable to stand unaided for any length of time due to pain.  She was unable to prepare meals for her husband.  We provided her with a perching stool and this enabled her to stand at her kitchen bench again.

"Poverty Frontiers.org is a knowledge sharing resource on poverty reduction, asset-based approaches to development, and poverty-related issues" (Poverty Frontiers.org, n.d.) This is a moderately interactive site.  Contributions are made mostly by specialist and academics in their field of poverty.  They contribute by way of research and articles.  There is also online discussions with the relevant date posted.

People choose to contribute to this communities because of their concern of global poverty, which affects health and well being, development of countries and this is part of occupational deprivation.  These people are seeking solutions and answers global poverty.  The information appears to be shared one way but there is a section for questions and comments and this is done via email.

I chose this site as it reflected the area of service within my fieldwork, being a lower socio-ecomomic location.  I observed people existing in a level of poverty due to external factors, lack of money, lack of education, sometimes cultural factors e.g. language barriers and also internal factors being prolonged illness.  These factors have a immediate affect on the ability to earn money, hence their living standard.  This is also an example how occupational disruption and deprivation can often be seen as similar or overlapping.

Potential ethical issues that may arise in the above communities:
Generally, it is very difficult to monitor information that is published on the internet.  However I would suggest that ACC and Arthristis NZ would vet throughly what information is on their site.  ACC is a government website and Arthristis NZ is backed by the department of health.
Where there are public forums bad language is removed, but other than that it is difficult to control what people post.
On the above sites wording has been carefully used, so information is not offensive or upsetting to all that read it.

Benefits and limitations of these communities:
The benefits of Acc and Arthritis NZ is that they are local to the New Zealand population and within New Zealand there is access to physically locate an office for the Hamilton region.  Having the opportunity for some people to go and talk to staff, face to face, is a huge benefit as not all people have a computer or are literate.  Another benefit for these two sites is that the information is representative to the New Zealand sample population.
The only limitation  that I can consider is there is a possibility for communication to be local to New Zealand only.

Poverty Frontiers is global with the benefit of global academic import into the site.  The limitation is the level of poverty that they discuss is very different to the poverty that we experience in NZ.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Exercise Classes for the IHC

Exercise for the Intellectually disabled.

During my 2nd field work experience I worked for IDEA Services, being a day centre for Physically and Mentally Handicapped adults.  They did a variety of activities during their scheduled day and I found that through my observation, the clients seemed to get huge satisfaction out of exercise activities.
I chose exercise as my topic to relate back to my blog of participation as there are so many added benefits to exercise besides the actual "doing".
When looking at exercise the fact that we are doing an activity that we enjoy and have fun while doing it bring us into a state of "being and becoming"  the way we feel while participating is a reflection of who we are, we are being ourselves and enjoying the  task by means of knowing it is rewarding to us.  Through exercise there are many benefits - health and mind.  The variety of activities that were offered to the IDEA group gave each member the chance to develop their different areas of strengths and interests.  Everyone is different  and it was very surprising how each person changes or came into "being" when they participated in the activity that brings out their talents and interests.
The following activities are all carried out in different environments and this is particularly enriching for the clients of IDEA .  Stepping out of their usual environment, where there are many limitations for variety and independent contact with the local community is difficult due their impairment.  It is an opportunity for them as a group to feel the same as everyone else and a sense of belonging to that particular communiting and environment seems to develop.
The following are five links of different activities that my group of clients participated in.  The links are not the same location and different ages groups are viewed but it will give you a good insight as to how the  activities were carried out in the different scenarios.

Horse riding:

Horse riding provides clients the opportunity to take care and touch a huge animal, which in itself is very healing.  To ride on horse back gives them the freedom, for a short time,  to not feel the constraints of their
impairment.  It provides a sense of achievement - riding a horse involves a certain amount of concentration and co-ordination.  there is a  particular sense of excitement.  The environment is completely different  to usual places so this can be greatly stimulating to all their senses.

The Music club:

The music activities ranged from dancing,  playing instruments and singing.  As a group it was an opportunity for everyone, including staff, to join in.  There was a great deal of fun belonging to a group that created  whatever happened.  There was no structure or pressure to achieve anything.  Clients and staff participated by "being" who they were and enjoying the moment.  Music group produced many great dancers and alot of laughs.  To feel comfortable to be yourself through this type of expression has great psychological benefits and physical benefits.

Walking group:

Walking was always enjoyed.  It gave the clients of opportunity to be one on one with a staff member, the opportunity to talk together with no other interruptions or as a small group enjoying the moment.  The chance for them to step outside their small localised environment into the local community and see the day to day activity of what was happening in their immediate surrounds was stimulating for them.  The health benefits were attained easily by way of walking for weight management and easy exercise for the muscles and bones.
Social aspect was non-demanding and it was relaxing to spend time together in this way.

Dance class:

Dance class has all the benefits of walking and music all put into one!

Aqua jogging:

Aqua jogging provided challenge and stimulation.  The pool environment gave the client a chance to step outside their comfort zone, build confidence and self esteem.  Movement within the water gave them physical
freedom to different extents and a great feeling of belong as a group.  They looked to each other for encouragement, support and celebrated in their fun together.  Great bonding between clients and staff were being established due to the exceptional environment of the pool.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Occupational Disruption - short film

As a group we decided on the definition of "Occupational distruption.  Christiansen & Townsend (2010), defines it as "A Transient or temporary condition of being restricted from participation in necessary or meaningful occupations, such as that caused by illness, temporary".  We came up with ideas for a script and thought that being students, it would be appropriate to film a scenario that could impact our own lives of studying. The film needed to be 1 minute long and involved the whole group being, Alisha, Astrid, Aldrin and myself..
After deciding on the story line we discussed different locations to film and what props were need and who could supply what. Once we had the location to film and script agreed upon we then transposed our ideas on to a storyboard. These were helpful in getting ideas from our head onto paper. It then provided us with a framework for filming. We decided on the day of filming what roles each of us would take. It was decided that I would do the part of falling down the stairs, as a couple of years ago I had the exact same accident so had good knowledge of how it felt and how it happened.  Aldrin had experience with using a hand-held video and Astrid and Alisha become part of the script.
As we started the process of filming the story, everything fell into place very easily.  Alisha volunteered to process the film for us all to access for placing it on our blogs.  The result as seen above.

Christiansen, C. H., & Townsend, E. A. (2010). Introduction to occupation: the art and science of living (2nd ed.). New Jersey, USA: Pearson Education Inc

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Doing, Being, Becoming and Belonging

MAKEUP • “Makeup is an occupation that allows us to enhance our individuality. It also gives us a sense of confidence in ourselves to be accepted and liked within our social network”.

My chosen occupation is “Makeup”. I chose this because of an experience I shared with a group of users in Fieldwork 2. The setting was at IDEA Services  . A day centre for mixed adults. I was invited to participate in the ladies makeup and beauty weekly session. I had mentioned earlier that one of my past professions was Beauty Therapy and the ladies were very excited to have a “professional” help out. We all sat down at a large table and set out an array of face make up and nail polishes to use. The ladies talked enthusiastically about how they wanted their makeup and enjoyed trying to select new colours for their fingernails. The two other staff members and myself happily complied with the ladies instructions throughout and made suggestions on what to apply next and suggested different colours that would go nicely with what they were wearing that day. I could sense of lot of excitement as they looked in the mirror and said how lovely they were looking and how their family and friends were going to really “like them when they saw them”. You could feel their pride building.

The following provides sourced reference to define the terms de, being, become and belong and reasons why I chose the images to represent each of these concepts.
Doing: Concept of goal orientated activities providing a sense of purpose and fulfilment, through structure (Hammell, 2008, p. 301).
Be, Become: “To become what has the potential to become, what it is best fitted to become, means that it has to be true itself, it essence, to its own nature and the beliefs that it rests upon” (Wilcock, 1998, p. 340). Belong: “The necessary contribution of social interaction, mutual support and friendship, and sense of being included” Rebeiro, Day, Semeniuk, O’Brien and Wilson (as cited in Hammell, 2008, p. 302).

Slide Show Images: Doing: Images 3 to 6 demonstrates the task of “doing”. It shows people putting on makeup independently, with assistance and also in a group.
 Being: Images 7 to 10 shows different women, I feel being is just who you are at that moment in time – you are “being” in the context of who you are as an individual. Race, culture, age has no influence on women when we are at that moment in time.
Become: Images 11 to 15 have been chosen because makeup is one way in which we can express our individuality. It is a way in which women can feel confident and beautiful. “Becoming” of who we feel we are and how we want to express ourselves is a way of feeling confident in our identity and how other perceive us.
Belong: Images 16 to 20 are images of confident happy women presenting themselves as part of a group in which they feel happy and secure with each other. As humans and women this is important to our well being, to know that we belong.

Three examples of ethical considerations made while choosing the images: 1: I obtained consent from the person whom I took photographs of to be included in the power point. I made it clear to her what she was required to do in the photograph and explained what they would be used for and who would have access to seeing them. 2: The web pages that I obtained images from were all from google.com. This site is one of the most commonly accessed sites for resources so I would suggest that it is authenticated. 3: The images I chose for my slide show, I consider, non offensive and none of the subjects look as though they have participated against their better judgement. There have been no names provided.


Hammell, K. W. (2008). Dimensions of meaning in the occupations of daily life. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(5), 301-302. Wilcock, A. A. (1998). Occupation for health. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61(8), 340.

Information Technology

Welcome to my first posting, which will be relating to Information Technology and Ethical Issues.

Definition: Information Technology
 (Electronics & Computer Science / Communications & Information) the technology of the production, storage, and communication of information using computers and microelectronics
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © Harper Collins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

My personal interpretation of this definition is Information Technology is a term used to cover the industry, business and personal use of modern day communication.  This includes any activity that would involve an electronic device or computer chip being in the setting of industry or personal use.

Considering the definition of IT provided I would like to discuss how I have perceived it influence and prevalence in our society.  How has it affected us? I have included some interesting links to reflect the above questions.
From my own personal experience of IT, I have observed a huge influence of the prevalence of computers and electronics in the lives of the general population; this is across all age groups.  Education is no longer taught without the expected access to small computers and educational software.  An example of this is my current course where over 50% of work is to be accessed from the internet and student work is processed on laptops.  There has been current debate in New Zealand where school children are required to have i-pads for school causing potential financial stress for some families.
Mobile phones have developed into mini computers, allowing users to have continual access to internet/communication and added applications i.e. video, camera, etc.  Recently technology has made an impact on home entertainment from watching anything you want on plasma televisions to interactive physical activities via Wii, i.e. playing the drums in a band or a session of yoga or a game of tennis, all within your living room.   Technology is so prevalent in all our everyday occupations that any disruption of their use can cause major problems for people and millions of dollars lost of revenue to businesses per day.  To get an idea of the rate technology is advancing the following link is worth looking at.

I have also added a link: Technology – reshaping ours lives and it gives a short overview of how it has changed the way we receive and present information.
In considering my present day competency in using IT devices and how I see my future attitude towards them, the following statement explains how I feel.
Due to my current study, I have developed a comfortable level using my personal computer.  I am familiar with word processing applications and researching on the internet.  As my study evolves there is becoming an increasing demand on acquiring more knowledge of IT to further expand on assignments.   This demand makes me feel uncomfortable as demand on my time to learn new information is huge and finding more time to explore and familiarise myself with new applications is stressful.  Time is what I find limiting in my ability to learn more IT applications. 
Due to changes in my life, my dependence on IT has increased,  I feel this has be a positive change, as mentioned above it has greatly supported by ability to undertake the opportunity to change my career through study.  Living away from family members has become emotionally easier due to social networking i.e. facebook.  Access to photos, videos and chat gives me the opportunity to be in contact with them daily.  Mobile phones have made it possible to be in contact with family and friends whenever need arises.

The following statements addresses IT being integrated into OT Practice and the issues that exists.  Also I give my impression of its potential and my experience, through fieldwork of how I IT is being used to enable occupation
During my field work experiences, IT has been used as a tool for research.  Working with a Community OT, it was routine to research the medical files on any new clients on the DHB software medical records system called Concerto.  There was a large amount of researching medical conditions via internet; this was done through Google or medical articles.  Businesses involved with supply of equipment provided their catalogues via their websites and very often specialty equipment was looked up e.g. Roho cushions.

OT’s adopting IT systems and tools to use within therapy is numerous.  Firstly, there are ethical issues to consider when using the internet.  Information accessed this way is uncontrolled and edited; therefore a certain amount of knowledge and maturity is needed to be able to filter through large amounts of information for reputable sources.  OT’s need to be mindful of this when address their own research and forwarding information to clients.   Continual up-skilling of current IT information and new products can put extra demand and stress on an OTs time, knowing there is an expectation of performance in this area.  An OT needs to be mindful, when recommending personal computers, consoles and portable devices for clients, there is very often a large expense involved and technical advice needed.  More often than not clients are not in a position to afford these devices and recommendation for purchase could be offending for the client. Another issue to consider are limitations and precautions.  Verdonk and Ryan (as cited in Griffiths et al 2003) suggest the clinical reasoning and judgement is needed when dealing with vulnerable clients.  In these circumstances technology must be monitored to avoid negative outcomes and avoiding cultivating potential behaviours such as addiction and aggression.

OT is becoming more IT influenced.  The accessibility and it’s development into the integration in our everyday lives proves that OT’s need to access its availability to clients and consider the benefits of using technology as a tool for implementing strategies for engagement.  Majority of clients will have certain knowledge of use if not already reliant on small devices to enable them to engage in meaningful occupation i.e. social networking, mobile phones, etc.  When working with a client and using the OT Process, problem identification and solving will have an influence on what strategies using IT can be put in place.  Client strengths and concerns can often dictate how much IT can be used for intervention (according to their independence/dependence).  I have included a link to Assisted Technology in Occupational Therapy.  This video clearly demonstrates the level of assistance, when using equipment, from the simple device through to an electronic device serving a similar purpose.  This video will also give a range of areas for practice and opportunity.

As mentioned above and experiencing in our own daily lives, whether we are technophobic or techno geeks, I believe technology is changing and impacting our lives and occupations.  This impact is forcing us to acquire a understanding of electronic devices and technology to function from day to day in occupation.  Banking, paying bills, home entertainment, having our lives organised and available from our lap tops is just a small part.  Since all this is affecting my life and dictates how I must change my ideas, I feel it gives me the opportunity to understand feeling of fear and intrepidness when dealing with clients in the same position.  Through study and having the opportunity to work through my own learn and application of new technology puts me as a therapist to show empathy but also the motivation to strategise the incorporation of IT and its advantages of convenience into enabling occupation by the assistance of electronic home devices.

Ethical implications that arise from transferring information via IT devices or systems can be numerous.  My main concern is the fact that information on the internet is uncontrolled and unedited.  This creates an environment where information that is undesirable and unsubstantiated can be accessed by any one and any age.  Due to the internet being global, monitoring of millions of sites would be impossible. 
The sharing of information between IT devises e.g. mobile phones and internet can be instantaneous, which can cause some information to become viral.  Swapping of photos through the above systems has the opportunity to threaten a person’s privacy and control of who they want to view the material.  People need to exercise caution when using these forms of communication.


Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © Harper Collins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
Griffiths, MD., Davies, MNO. & Chappell, D. (2003). Breaking the stereotype: the case of online gaming. Cyber Psychology and Behaviour, 6 (1), pp.81-9.
Verdonck, M. & Ryan, S. (2008).  Mainstream technology as an occupational therapy tool: Technophobe or technogeek? British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(6), 827