Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Video Production

This posting is on video production.  It was a class I was absent from due a head injury I sustained so I will give an outline of what I would have done to meet the production requirements and provide an example of a video produced by another group of students.  The task set was, in small groups, to create a short film based on a concept central to occupational engagement.  The concept I would have based the film around is occupational transition which is seen as the changes in an individual’s occupational engagement as a result of changes in their daily life (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010).  This is because becoming a student is a very big point of transition in the lives of most people.  Coming to university (or polytechnic) changes our eating, sleeping and study habits, not to mention for most students the new found responsibility and freedom which comes with leaving home for the first time and creating a sense of a home away from home.  In order to mimic these changes and the way they impact on people’s interpretation of their occupational engagement I would have created the film that documented the transition we make as students leaving home for the first time.  This film would aim to capture the new living, study and leisure experiences that are transformed with the move as well as conveying traditional roles that have been altered with the transition into the new student role.  The film will also aim to highlight how with the change in life roles also comes a change in environment and resources available to the student which can have an effect in altering what is deemed to being meaningful occupation.

Below is an example of one of the films produced by another group for the tutorial.

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

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is an umbrella term used to describe a “range of devices, services, strategies and practices that are used to increase functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities" (Cook & Hussey, 2000, p. 5).  This is a broad definition that covers a variety of equipment and tools, software and hardware that assist individuals to be able to participate in their environment with increased independence.  A great example of this is the Go Talk 9+

The Go Talk 9+ is a piece of adaptive technology for assisting with communication.  The device has nine key and five different recording levels with each level has three ‘core messages’ which remain the same.  The device has an overall capacity of 45 messages and a total recording time of just less than 8.5 minutes.  The Go Talk 9+ works by way of having messages recorded and allocated to each picture and text which overlays the buttons, then pushing the button allocated to the word or phrase the individual wants to communicate.  This Go Talk is equipped with a series of specialised functions that enable ease of use for the client, such as a whole level erase, adjustable volume and record lock to prevent accidently erasing the recorded messages.  Each of the nine message buttons measure 5.4 cm x 4.1 cm with the overall size of the device measuring 23 cm x 30.5 cm x 2.9 cm.  The Go Talk 9+ cost $310 and runs off 2 AA batteries and comes with a 2 year warranty.

These videos give demonstrations of how to use the Go Talk 9+ as well as how to programme and speak with it.

The Go Talk is used by individuals who have a condition that limits their speech in any way.  The use of the device increases occupational engagement for the user as it provides them with a means to communicate quickly, clearly and with ease.  It provides the user with the ability to participate and converse with others in a more traditional manner.

Accilnc. (2011, November 16).  How to speak with go talk 9+.  Retrieved from:

Cook, A, M., & Hussey, S, M. (2000). Assistive technology: Principles and practice. (Eds.). St Louis: Mosby.

Erinelizabethwesley.  (2010, May 1).  Go talk 9+ demonstration.  Retrieved from:

Blogs of interest

For the purposes of this posting I have set to the internet to find a selection of interesting blogs about OT practice and OTs using technology as interventions in practice.  I have posted the links to five blogs I found interesting and particularly relevant to OT practice.  The focus areas of these blogs include: pediatric OT, rehabilitation using WII, OT outlook, the links between OT and hand therapy and child development as well as the blog of a fellow student OT.  I have used these blogs to communicate ideas, share information and ask questions; here is one such example:

The internet and online communities

One of the main practice areas that interests me is brain injury, specifically Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  I have to see the irony in this as earlier in the year I suffered a fairly decent concussion that resulted in my missing a number of assessments and eventually my second year placement.  The experience has been enlightening but not one I would like to repeat again anytime in the near future.  In this posting I am going to provide an overview of three online communities I have come across intended for people who have suffered a TBI, or have a family member that has experienced such an injury.  Generally these sites are based around the individual and their family members being able to share their experiences, ask questions, and provide support and a forum for discussion via the internet.  Online communities are one example of an environment which has been adapted to enhance the enrichment of other areas of a person’s life (Townsend & Polatajko, 2007).
Occupational transition is seen as changes in engagement as a result of the changes in daily life (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010).  It also is apparent in the way some individuals who were initially the information gathers about their injury have now become the information providers for some of those seeking information in their community (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010).   This is evident in the way these communities have emerged to fulfil a need to adapt to the transitions individuals need to make in their day to day lives post injury as well as gain information about how others have coped with what changes have occurred.
Occupational identity is an individual’s perception of themselves in relation to their participation in different occupational roles (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010).  All of these communities provide their members with a form of occupational identity by giving them the opportunity to engage with each other, share concerns, information, experiences and attitudes relating to their previous and current occupations.  The sites provide a way for individuals to cope with changes in occupational identity as a result of their TBI, such as inability to work or changes in life roles.
A general limitation of the three sites found is that they are all based in the United States of America; if a person from outside the U.S. went onto one of these communities seeking information it may not suit their context. 

Resources for People with Traumatic Brain Injury:
The intended purpose of this site is to provide support and information for individuals and families who are experiencing some form of traumatic brain injury.  The site is somewhat interactive with a number of different available to users including features on how to identify concussion, articles written by TBI survivors detailing their experiences, ask experts questions, and an area for blog postings.  The community also has separate areas for different types of visitors (people with TBI, family and friends, and professionals).  People choose to communicate with this community as they are able to stay informed and up to date with the latest research and share and receive support from others who are experiencing similar circumstances to them.

The intended purpose of this site is to provide a forum for individuals and families who have incurred some form of traumatic brain injury to share their experiences and seek advice from other members.  The site is very interactive, encouraging members to communicate and connect with other community members. The community provides a number of discussion groups, blog pages as well as a live online chat room where members can interact with each other.  In order to contribute you need to become a registered member, so that the site can be monitored.  It also provides members with a private ‘members only’ area, only accessible when you sign up to the site.  Those who aren't members are unable to see what has been posted in some sections, taking into consideration the ethical issues related to contributing to online communities.

Daily strength; brain injury support group:
The intended purpose of this site is to provide support for individuals and families who are experiencing some form of brain injury, not necessarily traumatic.  Individuals are able to remain anonymous when posting on the page if they choose or create an in depth online member profile and participate in further in the forum.  Community members are also encouraged to start their own groups for others to join, share experiences/struggles and participate in discussion within that community.  Features of the site include common treatment methods and how community members have responded to these, as well as what challenges they have faced during their recovery process.  This site offers the ability to ask professionals questions anything about TBIs from the injury process, to treatment, and anything in between. 

Christiansen, C.H., & Townsend, E.A. (2010). Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Pearson.
Townsend, E.A., & Polatajko, H, J. (2007). Enabling occupation II: Advancing an occupational therapy vision for health, wellbeing and justice through occupation. Ottawa, ON: Canadian             Association of Occupational Therapists.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Online Video Sources: Total Hip Replacement

While on my first OT placement I spent the majority of my time on the orthopaedic ward working with patients who recently had total hip replacements.  In an effort to learn more about the topic I turned to the internet.  I quickly found that videos are a great source of information, butt it is important to bear in mind that not all online videos are made by the experts on a topic but after a bit of searching you can find some that explain what you are looking for.

Hip replacement surgery
This is an animation of the hip replacement surgery.  It is a very detailed video giving viewers a great insight into what happens throughout the surgery without having all of the actual visuals and sounds associated with the procedure.

After Hip Replacement: Warnings and Precautions.
This video illustrates examples of the three hip precautions that patients need to be aware of post surgery.  It also shows how these precautions should be used in everyday life and what types of activities to avoid.

Activities of Daily Living; getting in and out of a car
Shows the client how to get into and out of their car after the surgery-pretty self explanatory based on the title.  This video would be really useful for clients to watch prior to coming in for surgery to prepare for heading home.

Lower extremity dressing after your THR
This video illustrates methods of dressing and undressing the lower limbs post hip replacement using different pieces of equipment.

PATIENT EDUCATION: At Home Activity & Adaptive Equipment, Pt. 5
Shows how to get in and out of the bath and shower safely and effectively using adaptive equipment.


Glynnwallace. (2011, October 12). Lower extremity dressing after your THR. [Video file]. Retrieved from:

HSpecialSurgery. (2012, August 15). Activities of Daily Living; getting in and out of a car . [Video file]. Retrieved from:

MarathonManiac100. (2011, August 1). Hip replacement surgery. [Video file]. Retrieved from:

Mercysacramento. (2011, June 22). PATIENT EDUCATION: At Home Activity & Adaptive Equipment, Pt. 5. [Video file]. Retrieved from:

Physicaltherapyvideo. (2011, September 25). After Hip Replacement: Warnings and Precautions. [Video file]. Retrieved from:

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Occupational Engagement, Doing, Being, Belonging and Becoming.

Exploring Occupational Identity through Craft

Craft is not an area that has played a large role in my life previously but it did play a prominent role in my fieldwork two placement where students spent one afternoon a week participating in a range of craft activities.  My role was to assist the students with anything from threading needles and providing a hand with scissors, to giving a full description of what is happening for visually impaired students.  The range of craft activities gave the students with a sense of achievement upon completion as well as an opportunity for companionship and building a sense of community. 

According to Hammell (2004) the doing of purposeful, goal oriented activities providing an affirmation of competence, sense of self worth through being valuable and capable in the endeavour.  This can be seen through the process of the craft’s creation, from assembling he required equipment to the cutting of paper and threading of needles and the completion final product.
Being is described by Hammell (2004) as the time taken to reflect, be introspective or meditative as well as being surrounded by people the individual values.  “Being” is illustrated through the people participating in craft activities with others as well as being able to use the time to reflect.
Hammell (2004) refers to belonging as social interactions and their related support, friendship and sense of inclusion that is gained from the interactions.  Belonging can be seen through the images where individuals are brought together through their participation in craft activities.
Becoming involves envisioning the future self and the future contributions being made to the self and others (Hammell, 2004).  The ides of ‘becoming’ is evident through the images of participation in crafts throughout the lifespan and where different older/more experienced crafters are encouraging participation in craft activities.

Some of the ethical considerations I made when choosing the images provided include providing a brief and general description of my experiences on placement but have respected the privacy of the individuals by not naming the site.  I have made reference to the appropriate people and sources when I have used their information or for their contributions.  I was sure not to name individuals when writing this blog to respect their privacy.  I gained informed consent from the individual’s home in which the photos were taken so they knew what it would be used for.

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

Monday, 23 April 2012

Information Technology and Ethical Issues

Information technology (IT) is becoming more prevalent and influential in the running of our day-to-day lives as individuals and thus society as a whole.  Due to the high demands of its consumers technology is required to be ever changing and highly adaptable. 
The focus of this first blog posting will provide a brief outline of some of the advantages, disadvantages and ethical considerations that arise from technology use.  It is also directed towards recording some of my thoughts and experiences, both positive and slightly less than positively. As well as explore the application of technologies for occupational therapy intervention all as part of the course requirements for my second year of occupational therapy study.

 According to (2012) information technology refers to anything “related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies”.  For me (the somewhat technologically challenged at times) this translates to meaning that anything with a technology or computing-type base falls into the information technology bracket as well as the way any potential users interact with such technologies.  That is encompassing a variety of different media and can include the likes of computers, GPS, television, mobile phones, gaming and everything in between.

 The prevalence of ease with which we can access technology has altered the way people go about their day-to-day lives.  With such a dramatic shift in our reliance on technology a greater emphasis is also put on sourcing, storing and sharing information online rather than manually.  I decided to look at this from a student’s point of view for two reasons.  Firstly I am currently part of the student population so seeing how commonplace technology has become in the student environment is highly relevant.  And secondly the majority of students today have grown up surrounded by technology therefore have minimal fear and maximal expectations of what technology can/should offer.  Below is a link to an infographic on student IT use in the United States.  It talks about what types of IT students utilise and also how well they believe their tertiary institutions make use of IT as well as where students consider there is room for growth in the teaching and learning environment.

 Most of the time I would class technology as my friend and say that I am very comfortable with using basic technological devices except for the odd occasion when I have to exercise restraint as I feel the need to throw my laptop or phone against a wall.  I wouldn’t necessarily associate my comfort with technology solely to exposure growing up but I guess one way or another they began to play a more and more significant role in my life as I got older.  In fact I think I tried to steer clear of technology when I was younger but these days I tend to embrace most of it as I find a number of the skills required for operating the devices are transferable otherwise trial and error gets implemented and there is an element of hope that spontaneous combustion doesn’t follow. 
Some of the technologies I use these days are for personal use while others are more work/study related.  The likes of my laptop, cell phone, iPod, and occasionally my digital camera I tend to use on a daily basis.  I also utilise a number of online storage databases (Diigo and Dropbox) networking/communication systems for keeping in contact with friends in different parts of the country and overseas (Facebook, email and Skype).  As well as these I listen to music, watch TV, do my banking and book flights online-the internet has really revolutionised the way we do previously ponderous tasks.  I use IT for my academic studies as most of our course work can be found online (Moodle), we are required to contribute to online forums and now with the creation of this blog.  Due the relatively simple and easy to use nature of the majority of IT these days I feel that most of my current IT skills could be applied to IT equipment I haven’t previously used.  And unlike my previous feelings I wouldn’t be opposed to using e-readers if it meant that I could make notes, highlight important facts and I that wouldn’t be lugging around heavy textbooks.

There are a number of applications for IT in the occupational therapy field due to its effect on the changing nature of jobs and different leisure activities we participate in.  This increased reliance has resulted in the development of some highly valuable resources for OTs, namely the advent of the internet.  With the internet has also come the ability for clients to make to most of online resources from their own home such and banking, shopping finding out about procedures and conditions and support groups for people suffering from the same disease of illness (  We can also see how new technologies are being adapted to allow more users to get involved.  This can be seen with the iPad in the following video as a man from the blind foundation demonstrates how the voice over functions make it possible for visually impaired individuals to use.

I think having a good understanding of and being able to effectively use IT will be highly advantageous to OTs both in a preventative and treatment role.  Given how significantly our occupations are affected by IT these days, I can see utilisation and integration of IT by OTs as the only logical way to move forward.

There are a number of ethical issues that may arise from the use of IT, especially the capturing sharing and transferring of information.  Most of these lie around the areas of privacy and informed consent from the people whose information is being shared.  A lot of such issues can arise though miscommunications email, text messaging and online chatting are great examples of this occurring.  Other issues can occur when social justice comes into play and some sectors of the population are, through no fault of their own, being excluded from participating in a particular activity.  This could include a website having poor visibility/contrast that cannot be adjusted thus making it more difficult for visually impaired individuals to read it.  The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind has a created an area on their page specifically for altering contrast and font size.


Cancer ChatNZ (2009).  Cancer Chat NZ.  Retrieved on 03/03/2012 from

Dahlstrom, E., Grunwald, P., de Boor, T., and Vockley, M. (2011).  National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology.  Educause Center for Applied Research.

Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (2010).  Accessibility Options.  Retrieved on 03/03/2012 from (2012).  IT.  Retrieved on 03/03/2012 from

Youtube (2011).  iPad usage for the blind.  Retrieved on 04/03/2012 from