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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.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The touching voice of autism: A communication App for iPhone, iPad, iTouch

2 March, 2011 4:59PM AEDT
By Rob Harris (Statewide Drive Victoria)

Lisa Domican's creative mind has given her daughter a most valuable gift - a voice.

The mother of two autistic children,
Grace and her mother Lisa Domican (picture from ABC Drive website)

who hails from Ballarat but now lives with her family in Ireland, has developed a picture-based application for smart phones and electronic tablets which help children with autism to communicate.

Ms Domican's son Liam was diagnosed in the Royal Brisbane Hospital in 2000, while Grace was diagnosed by a paediatrician in Ballarat in 2001, just before the family moved abroad.

The technology is tailored to meet the needs of individual children and helps them communicate through pictures on a touch screen.

Ms Domican, who last year was awarded a United Nations award at World Summit Award Mobile for e-Learning and education, named the application Grace app - in honour of her 11-year-old daughter.

"Grace was my research team and the other kids in her school also tested it," Ms Domican said.

"I didn't really have a clue what to do, but I was reading a blog about a developer who making about 5000 euros a week making games. I wrote to him and he said it sounded like a great thing and then we met."

Ms Domican said the application was made available through application stores last year and that she was planning to introduce the technology throughout autistic education around the world.

Grace app will be made available to download for free from April 1 to April 3 as a part of Autism Month.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

DailyFeats Launches; New Online and Mobile Platform to Reward People for Doing Good

A press release was emailed to me today about a new program called Daily Feats. This new program enables the user to keep track of and get rewarded by completing daily feats. The feats can be simple, like eating fruit and vegetables, to more complex, signing a petition for action on a human rights issue.

This program has potential to be used by occupational therapists working with clients in keeping track of goals. You can set your goal and then mark off daily achievement of that goal. The tracking of the goal can be seen in this program or it can also be fed to Facebook.

It is interesting to see a growing number of programs being developed that provide extrinsic rewards to the users. It makes me wonder about about the concept of personal causation and volition discussed in the occupational therapy model, MOHO. It makes me wonder about internal and external locus of control.

I am wondering, "Do these online programs help people who need praise and recognition by others?"

So here is the press release and link to the program "Daily Feats"

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - March 3, 2011) - DailyFeats, the online community that rewards and celebrates doing good, today launched its platform for sharing positive actions at Built on the principle that "doing good should be rewarding," DailyFeats offers a place for people to do positive actions (known as feats) that foster good health, improve financial security, reduce stress, strengthen communities, enrich connections with family and friends, and more. Members connect with one another locally and around the globe, finding the inspiration and resolve to be healthier and happier while also working toward real rewards.

A feat at DailyFeats is any action that creates good, such as eating whole grains or fruits and veggies; working out or taking the stairs; reading or doing creative projects; volunteering or mentoring; and many more. DailyFeats offers a growing collection of hundreds of feats to choose from, representing a broad range of positive priorities and lifestyles that encompasses the vast diversity of its members.

"DailyFeats is awesome, and it's helping me become a healthier person," said Juan-Ramon Jacobe of Los Angeles, an active member of DailyFeats. "I check in whenever I go out for a hike or bike ride, and lately, I've found myself hiking and cycling more and more, because I know I'm working toward a real reward."

DailyFeats members earn points whenever they do a feat; they earn additional points when their most inspiring or funny accomplishments receive "props" from other members. Points can then be redeemed for savings and rewards sponsored by national brands and local businesses throughout North America. DailyFeats, completely free for members to use, currently has more than 125,000 local rewards available nationwide that anyone can earn for doing good.

DailyFeats is powered by its pioneering rewards and loyalty model, affiliating its supporting organizations with feats that befit their missions. They include respected national brands such as and 1-800-FLOWERS.COM®, and nonprofits such as World Wildlife Fund, charity: water, the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, WELL WORLD and the Chopra Foundation, among others. Through DailyFeats, all of these organizations demonstrate a meaningful commitment to positive action.

"DailyFeats came to Monster with a refreshing, spirited and meaningful approach to our social engagement with job seekers that was hard to resist because it synchs up so well with both our mission and the desire to measure our impact," said Janet Swaysland, SVP Global Communications & Social Media at

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