Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Tutorial 8: Assistive Technology

Provide a definition Assistive Technology

A definition in PL (public law) 100-407, the Technical Assistance to the States Act in the United States is:

Any item, or piece of equipment, or product system which can also be modified, or customized and is used to increase or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Cook, A. & Hussey, S. (1995). Assistive Technologies:  Principals and Practice.  St. Louis:  Mosby as citied in:      Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (PL 100-407)

Interpret this definition in your own words

The definition implies that assistive technology can be just about anything as long as it serves its purpose to improve or promote functional performance.  There are a number of different adaptive, assistive devices available to the community, these include:

Assistive, rehabilitative or educational technologies. 
Assistive technologies help individuals to carry out functional activities.  Rehabilitation and educational technologies aim to remediate or improve function/learning as part of a rehabilitation process. 

Low to high technology.
Low technology devices are those that are easy to make or obtain, and those that are inexpensive.  In contrast to those that are high technology, which are more difficult to make or obtain, and expensive to buy.

Hard and soft technology.
Hard technologies can be described as those products that are readily available, can be purchased and assembled into assistive technology.  The main feature is that they are tangible.  This includes computers, software, oversized keyboards, etc.  On the other hand, soft technology can be described as areas of higher learning or the human aspect to technology.  This includes areas of decision making, strategies, training, concept formation and so on.  It is available in one of three forms: people, written or computer aspects (Cook & Hussey, 1995).

Cook, A. & Hussey, S. (1995). Assistive Technologies:  Principals and Practice.  St. Louis:  Mosby.

Describe one piece of equipment introduced in the assistive technology tutorial. 

Provide information on size, cost and functions.

Talking photo albums A3 Size
Each of the pages will hold a single 5x7" Photo or Image, (125x175mm).
Record a separate voice message on each page using the built-in microphone.
Recording time: 10 seconds per page
Each page has an individual PLAY/STOP Button.
Built-in Speaker with Volume Control.
Recordings are preserved forever, even when batteries are replaced.
These can be purchased fro around $122.00

How the equipment increased occupational engagement for the user?  

The talking book can be used with a variety of different clients who have impaired cognition.  In particular, it is useful for those with difficulties in planning, managing time, memory, organising, sequencing and paying attention.  It may be helpful for clients with dementia, alzheimer's, children with developmental delays or brain injuries.  We created a scenario in class where the aid would be used for a person with short term memory and sequencing difficulties to assist in preparing a meal.  Each page had pictures for instructions and verbal messages to break down the task.  The same concept could be used for a variety of tasks, for instance dressing, work tasks, grocery shopping, etc.  This aid will allow individuals to have some independence in their activities of daily living. 

Provide examples of the equipment’s use from online sources 



How does this relate to occupation concepts introduced in tutorial one e.g. occupational justice, occupational disruption, occupational transition, or occupational deprivation? 

It relates to these concepts because it removes some of the barriers that people with disease and disability face in participating in occupations.  Assistive technology is used as a way of allowing people to have some independence and particpation which will assist in giving a person meaning and a sense of fulfilment (Christiansen & Baum, 1997).  

Christiansen, C. & Baum, C. (1997). Person-environment occupational performance. A conceptual model for practice. In C. Christiansen & C. Baum (Eds). Occupational therapy. Enabling function and well-being (2nd ed.). SLACK inc: Thorofare (pp 47-70).

Tutorial 6: The internet and online communities

Stroke Foundation New Zealand Inc.


Provide a brief description of the community

The Stroke Foundation is a non-for-profit organisation aimed at reducing the incidences of stroke and improving outcomes for stroke patients by supporting, providing advice and access to services.   The organisation assist with health promotion and prevention campaigns to raise awareness of stroke, fund and conduct research and audits related to better health outcomes.
There is a wide variety of information on the site including:

  • Contact Information throughout New Zealand
  • Free resources on stroke
  • Links to other useful sites
  • Information about different types of strokes/symptoms
  • Latest news
  • Local support services
It is interactive because you can access email details, find support groups, link to other sites, become a sponsor or make a donation, or register to become a volunteer.

Consider material presented in the online package.      

Community members can not directly make comment on the website page, but there are emails addresses, contact numbers and local offices to get advice or information.  So the information between the community and the site is shared, but not openly.

The online community addresses such issues as occupational justice and deprivation as it is giving access to those in the community who may not be physically capable to find it elsewhere.  This community advocates for those that have suffered a stroke to have better health and well-being outcomes, therefore they are ensuring occupational justice can be achieved through accessing all the available resources.

Considering material presented during the course and comment on the potential ethical issues that may arise in this community. 

The stroke foundation have a privacy policy stating that all information provided is kept strictly confidential, and that they are legally bound to keep that in place.

Consider material presented in the online package and comment on the benefits and limitations these communities provide relate to traditional geographical communities.

There is no interpersonal relationships formed, and a lot can be gathered from meeting a person in relation to their body language, appearance etc.  Because it is an online package you will not get this same feedback.

American Stroke Association


Provide a brief description of the community

The American Stroke Association is an online community set up to decrease the incidences of heart disease and stroke.  There are resources for:

  • getting healthy
  • information on conditions
  • health care and research
  • support and advice for caregivers
  • education programs
  • fundraising
  • advocacy opportunities
  • latest news
Consider material presented in the online package.  

There is also links to other resources plus the opportunity to link up on facebook, twitter, gmail and youtube.  It can also be translated into many different languages.

This site seems to cater to a much larger target population, accommodating for the needs of those who don't speak english and enabling people to comment via such sites as facebook and twitter.

Considering material presented during the course and comment on the potential ethical issues that may arise in this community. 

This site also has a strict privacy policy, and will allow people to make contact with them if they wish for personal details to be removed.

Neurological Foundation of New Zealand


Provide a brief description of the community

The Neurological Foundation of New Zealand is an independent body set up to ensure the country's top neurologist can keep producing research that is cutting edge.  Its funds come from individual donators and there is no government funding.  The website links you to:

  • latest news
  • research
  • funding or sponsor opportunities
  • support groups
  • information on stroke and other neurological disorders
  • further links 
  • events and fundraisers
  • ways to raise awareness
  • contact details
Consider material presented in the online package.  

You cannot make comments directly to the site but their are various contact details if you wish to gather further information.  

Tutorial 7: Linking to blogs of interest and exchanging comments






Tutorial 5: Video Production Sessions

Introduce a chosen topic of interest drawn from your fieldwork experience or an OT practice area. 

  • Find five different sources of online video content that help explain, demonstrate, or provide personal experiences of your topic.  

During one of my practicum experiences, I worked at the Shenton Park Rehabilitation Hospital where I was able to observe the Occupational Therapist in the spinal and stroke rehabilitation unit.  I was fascinated by the amazing work the OT's were able to do with these clients to assist in regaining some independence and function.

Below are five different sources of online video content that relate to my experience at the stroke rehabilitation unit.

This first video is a overview of what a stroke is, how it is caused and what type of occupational therapy night be necessary to improve function.  It was necessary for me to understand a little bit about stroke before going out on placement.

During my time on the unit, I was involved in assisting those with hemianopia to use compensatory strategies, for example tracking exercises due to the loss of vision.  This was essential to maintain safety once discharged from rehabilitation to the home environment.  This video is an example of what it is like for someone experiencing hemianopia:

This next video the OT encourages bilateral hand function in a child who has had a stroke.  This will assist in improving occupational performance in all areas of life, for example showering, dressing, and eating meals.  Although I did not work with children on my practicum, the principles of encouraging bilateral hand function did still apply in that setting.  The OT's would ask the patients to try activities like washing or brushing their hair and teeth.  Or encourage the patient to cut up their food with a built up fork and knife.  

Another part of OT was to educate patients on the signs of stroke, as the sooner a patient gets help the better the outcome for the person suffering a stroke.  Here is an advertisement campaign used in Australia to raise awareness of the signs of stroke.

This last video is about a man who suffered a stroke and the process he is going through for rehabilitation.  This video is an indication of what therapy can do to facilitate function and independence.

Tutorial 4: Video Production Sessions

This tutorial involved getting into groups of four and coming up with an idea to film in relation to occupational justice, occupational disruption, occupational transition, or occupational deprivation.  We chose occupational transition.  

Occupational transition is defined as:  circumstances creating a change in the nature or type of occupational engagement pursued by, or available to an individual.  Such transitions may be the result of choice, changes in physical or mental status, life transitions, geographical strife or other factors.

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

During our group planning session, we came up with the idea of a corporate individual making the big change of going back to study and student life.  Our film was aimed at demonstrating the changes that would possibly take place for this individual.

We created a table of what each scene would look like, what props we would need and who was providing the props.  

Our end product was this short film created by myself, Di, Lorraine and Jane.

Tutorial 3: Blog Creation

This tutorial involved setting up my blog.  I had to create a page design and start posting tutorial one and two.

This youtube video is an introduction to what OT is about.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Tutorial 2: Occupational Engagement, Doing, Being, Becoming, Belonging.

School Work:  Handwriting

During one of my practicum experiences, I had the oppurtunity to work with children in the classroom.  The OT put a huge focus on meaningful occupations, for example jungle gym play and arts in craft and how this can influence handwriting.  The children were developing fine motor skills, strentgh and co-ordination in a way that was interesting and fun without even knowing!

During school age education, children's occupations include learning academic skills such as literacy, which includes reading and writing.  Such skills are necessary to be able to process and communicate information (Case-Smith & O'Brien, 2010).  Handwriting is more than a motor skill, but a component of it is the ability to have the appropriate amount of strength, co-ordination and fine motor movements to be able to write legibly with ease and comfort.
Here is my slideshare of photos and images to represent my experience of their development:

Case-Smith, J., & O'Brien, J. C. (2010). Occupational therapy for children. (6th ed.). Elsivier.