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I am an Australian occupational therapist, educator and researcher. I have worked as an OT in mental health, vocational rehabilitation and a private surgical hospital. I am passionate using online technology to enhance the knowledge and growth of the occupational therapy profession. In my PhD research I am looking at the role of online technologies in information management and knowledge transfer in occupational therapy. Views expressed and stories shared on this blog are my opinion and do not represent views of my employer or professional registration body.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Adaptive Toys

We are working on a case study about an 18-month old boy who has hemiplegia and we are up to the part where the students present their plan to the "mom". Here are some links one our second year MScOT students shared with the class today. Brittany recommends Special Kids Zone and says "this site has the most amazing AT, toys, adapted everything, you name it, you can probably find it there!" and the next site is Cerebral Palsy toys and play aids, which has some really good information about CP and toys.

Thanks for sharing your new knowledge :-)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Salford University Occupational Therapy Education Blog: How do YOU engage in activity?

Salford University Occupational Therapy Education Blog: How do YOU engage in activity?

This post about students commenting on their leisure activities and how they achieve a sense of doing, being and becoming through these activities links very well with a post I also made about doing, being, becoming a blogger and belonging in a virtual community.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

TechnOT: Using a computer is an Activity of Daily Living (ADL)

It's refreshing to see that Verdonck and Ryan (2008) state that technology can be useful to improve both functional independence and occupational performance in every day OT practice by using mainstream technologies, including information and communication technologies such as the internet, computer software, portable devices and computer games, in their everyday interventions. This article ALSO used the CMOP to articulate how computer technology is impacting every aspect of our lives.
Another reason to get a copy of this article if you want a great glossary of terms for technology!

Verdonck, M. C., & Ryan, S. (2008). Mainstream technology as an occupational therapy tool: technophobe or technogeek? British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(6), 253-256.
TechnOT: Using a computer is an Activity of Daily Living (ADL)


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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Using a computer is an Activity of Daily Living (ADL)

Lane and Ziviani (1999) state that technology access become an increasingly important Activity of Daily Living however I am not certain that occupational therapists think terribly deeply about the significance of computer access in daily life. It's probably not even a standard question in an ADL assessment!

Using the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement (CMOP-E) we can identify how pervasive the computer has become in our lives and see that assessing how, where, when and why our clients use computers is Core OT business!


How do computers impact affect? Well, we all know the frustration of a computer "crashing" or forgetting how or where you saved a precious document and so on, but we also know the joy of conquering a new program, making our first slide show, or maybe the sense of connectedness through emailing a friend or joining an online community.

Cognitive: Computer use varies in its complexity, depending on the task you are doing. Many people find computers easier to use with guidance and practice, demonstrating that accessing a computer regularly facilitates ease of use. (See "affect" above for impact of cognitive level and computer program level being mis-matched!)

Physical: The ergonomics industry (and many OTs and PTs... and optometrists) have worked out that the physical impact of the computer has seen a boom in business. Not being able to touch type, over-using a mouse and staring too long at a screen are three typical sources of over-use injuries brought about by computer use.

Occupation The CMOP delineates occupation into three main areas; Productivity, Self-care and Leisure. This Taxonomy is a guide in breaking down areas of occupation. This Taxonomy can also be a source of frustration when we think about what to put under each productivity, self-care and leisure (e.g.: is cooking productivity, self-care or leisure!? Answer: depends what you're cooking!)

For this discussion we'll keep it simple... Computers have changed the world! Computers enable people to participate in productivity, self-care and leisure occupations that didn't exist 20 years ago. Computers store information (e.g.: work documents, recipes at home, photos, etc), connect people (e.g.: friends, family, support groups, work, social networking etc), provide entertainment (e.g.: games, social networking, buy tickets to a concert!), connect with databases and directories and so on.

Environment The CMOP names aspects of the environment as physical, institutional, cultural and social. All have been impacted by computers.

Our physical environments (built and natural) have changed since the advent of the computer. Computers have changed how we design and use our homes, people seek a place for their computer (or computers) that enables them to be online when they want and in a space they can spend extended periods. Wireless computer access has also meant that we can look up recipes while cooking in the kitchen, then take the computer to another room for another purpose.

In institutional environments such as the workplace, computers are the core tool used in nearly every industry, in towns and cities governments are paying for public spaces to be "connected" so that people can access their computers from almost anywhere. Our mountains have mobile towers on them and being able to access the internet using a mobile phone is fast becoming an expectation, not a dream!

Computers connected to the world wide web also enable access to new virtual communities. Virtual communities such as those in Facebook or MySpace create another social dimension for people to engage, socialize and learn from each other. Second Life is a rapidly growing community in the virtual world where you can walk and talk in the computer using an avatar to talk with other people. You can connect with special interest groups, get information on a range of topics, or simply "hang out" in a night club.

I think as OTs we need to keep in mind how to create safeguards to ensure that vulnerable people are not taken advantage of in all online communities.

Spirituality How does computer use relate to spirituality? Computers directly impact the users experience of purpose and meaning in their lives. Meaning and purpose is so often derived by the important roles we play and how we experience relationships with other people. Computers play a significant role in both these areas. Computers can enable us to achieve our potential in work and personal life. This is seen through the fact that so many people use a computer to effectively complete work tasks, to maintain links with and be involved in the lives of friends and family (email, Skype, MSN etc), to store precious memories in online photo albums, or to expand social horizons through social networking spaces or to manage personal problems in online support communities.

Engagement in the new text Enabling Occupation II (Townsend and Polatajko, 2007) 'E' was added to the model to depict 'engagement' in occupation.

Computers facilitate engagement in meaningful occupations in a range of environments. Therefore computer use is an important Activity of Daily Living and core OT business!

Lane, A., & Ziviani, J. (1999). Children's computer access: analysis of the visual-motor demands of software designed for children. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62(1), 19-25.

Townsend, E. A., & Polatajko, H. J. (2007). Enabling occupation II : advancing an occupational therapy vision for health, well-being & justice through occupation /Elizabeth A. Townsend & Helene J. Polatajko, primary authors. Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists.

Monday, October 13, 2008

TechnOT: Doing, being, becoming a blogger and belonging to a virtual community!

TechnOT: Doing, being, becoming a blogger and belonging to a virtual community!
I updated this blog entry tonight as I was reviewing the types of searches that got people to my blog. A vast number of the searches that landed people in my blog included words like: "what is doing being becoming". So I've added a bit more history on the model's development ahead of my story on doing, being becoming a blogger and belonging in a virtual world! I hope that this information is helpful!

New game gizmo uses mind control

Asher Moses, The Age Newspaper, Melbourne, Australia, May 7, 2008

An Australian company is gearing up to release a computer headset that allows people to control video games using only the power of their minds.

Emotiv Systems, founded by four Australian scientists in 2003, will release the $US299 ($315) EPOC headset on the US market this year.

Featuring 16 sensors that measure electrical impulses from the brain, the headset - which plugs into the PC's USB port - will enable games to register facial expressions, emotions and even cognitive thoughts, allowing players to perform in-game actions just by visualising them.

The headset works in a similar way to voice recognition, in that it must first be calibrated using Emotiv's software to recognise patterns in the user's electrical brain impulses, which are used to perform 30 preset actions.

What implications might this hardware and software have for people with communication disorders?

43 things... Is the COPM being challenged?

A website called 43 things asks you to name the things you'd like to do and asks others to tell how they did it!

Maybe OTs could use this site with clients to look at people's goals and discuss with their client how many people share this goal, read how others have achieved it and list their goal if it is not presently listed, to see what ideas they can get from people in this virtual community.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The future of knowledge transfer: Using Wikis in Physiotherapy education

OTBlogs Aggregator

There's a new OT Blog aggregator that pulls together all updates on OT Blogs so that you can keep tabs on them in just one site. I'd definitely recommend this as a site to have as an RSS feed to your own home page! This site was put together by Joan, a student at the U of A in Edmonton (she graduates in November 2009) . Well done Joan, this is great!

My slideshare uploads