Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology, as defined by (2011) is “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities”

From this definition I would interpret that assistive technology is a tool or utensil used to make every day functioning tasks which able bodied would take for granted easier for the individual with a condition or disability. These tools or utensils may be enlarged colourful switches made from a squishy rubbery material, an electric wheelchair or an iPhone app which speaks what the individual who cannot speak wants to say.

NIST (2011). What is Assistive technology?.  Retrieved From:

Electric wheelchair – larger than your average wheelchair, but normally smaller wheels and sits more upright due to the motor on the bottom. Cost - $1000 upwards.

The electric wheelchair enables individuals with motor functioning abilities in their hands but not the rest of their body to move around independently. If the user doesn’t have motor functioning skills in their hands, they can tap their head to pads on either side of their head which will move the wheelchair for them.

This Youtube video provides an example of an INVACARE electric wheelchair and shows the design, the wheelchairs capabilities and various different aspects of the chair such as its variability. This relates to occupational transition as this wheelchair is allowing those who have previously been in wheelchairs which do not provide sufficient design features or functions to be able to access difficult terrain or move in the way that the electric wheelchair does. Therefore showing a transition from one chair to another which enhances the users’ abilities.

This blog (Orbit Medical) provides information regarding different types of electric wheelchairs. For example, portable electric wheelchairs, folding electric wheelchairs, mid-wheel electric wheelchairs, rear wheel electric wheelchairs and heavy duty electric wheelchairs. They also mention that they can help you get one of these wheelchairs and to contact them today. This relates to occupational justice as  many people including those with disabilities can access blogs and will be provided with information that others may be able to get from a shop or seminar, however those with disabilities may not have the means of accessing the shop or seminar, yet all are equally able to access the information through the internet, for example the blog provided below.

Linking to Blogs of Interest

This blog from September 2011 provides the individual with information regarding electric wheelchairs which I observed the use of in my first placement in an AT&R ward, where an individual which had had a motorcycle accident used an electric wheelchair as a means of transportation for a period of time.

This blog is a fellow class mates from the Dunedin campus – Aimee Foot-McKay. I have found that her blog has very interesting content, is nicely laid out, and is not too sore on the eye! – I like the design she has used.

This “wiihab – rehabilitative therapy using the wii by the “wii ot”” is a blog that focusses on rehabilitation using a WIII – a new technology which I thought was relevant as we have been learning about different forms of technology and how they will aid the individual.

I found this stroke survivor’s blog very interesting with heaps of cool stories and content regarding lots of stories about different individuals who have had strokes, survived and wished to share the story with the online community of bloggers.

This blog is purely based on kitchen assessments in neuro which I have observed in my first placement. I found it very interesting seeing other people in the OT practises view on the assessment.

Here is an example of some communication that I've had since commenting on a blog

Hi Aimee, great blog! love all those videos! I was just wandering are probus groups found in most towns/cities of New Zealand?

  1. Thanks Rachel :) Probus is a very large organisation withing New Zealand, there are often multiple Probus groups within the main cities. However, in smaller towns/village I believe that there is not the appropriate demand for Probus groups - there isn't one where I live in Akaroa.
  2. Thank you Aimee =]

And this is a link to the blog showing where I have commented and communicated with Aimee

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Inernet and Online Communities

The Stroke Foundation of New Zealand Inc.

The stroke foundations site is based on reducing risks and improving outcomes. The site is interactive as there are various different campaigns and lots of information on strokes provided on the page. The site is extremely interactive and has a section with “the latest news” and encourages the individual to find ‘STROKE’ support near you, and get resources from their website.
They encourage the individual to contribute to the foundation rather than the site, with requests such as donations, bequests, volunteering and fundraising.

A link to the site can be found here
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s site’s purpose is “reducing the burden of neurological disease.” This site was rather interactive as far as navigating through various different pages as part of the site, there were information pages, an A-Z of disorders as well as a News page. People are able to find program directors through the website to discuss possible research topics.
A link to the site can be found here
Stroke Training for Health and Social Care Staff is a “Stroke Training and Awareness Resources (STARs) project, commissioned by the Scottish Government to produce an e-learning resource which would enhance the educational opportunities for health and social care staff working with people affected by stroke.”
The site provides different modules which can be navigated through to ensure the learner is learning the module to whichever level is appropriate to them, for example, stroke core competencies, stroke advancing modules, stroke thrombolysis master class, and stroke for carers. The site allows the users to contribute to the FAQ’s – frequently asked questions.

A link to the site can be found here

People choose to contribute to particular communities due to feeling a sense of community, or a sense of worth. In other words, they are seeking some sense of belonging to a community, and an online community is a newer sort of community to belong to, where they may not need to have a particular appearance about them, as they might have to in the like of a face to face community. The information shared in an online community is reciprocal as both the designer of the site and the user can contribute to the information provided on the site.

“Occupational deprivation is a relatively new term which describes a state in which people are precluded from opportunities to engage in occupations of meaning due to factors outside their control. As we face the new millennium,

it seems likely that, due to widespread social and economic change as well as increasing civil unrest, occupational deprivation will be experienced by increasing numbers of people globally.” (Whiteford, G., 2000, p.200)

This relates to the sites that I have chosen as the clients using the site may feel some sort of deprivation from their local community due to them having a stroke or caring for someone which has had a stroke in which case they are gathering information form the website rather than visiting a local community which can help them

Occupational Justice refers to the idea that any human being is able to partake in occupational performance as much as any other human being. This relates to my sites that I have chosen as all of the individuals should have been effected by a stroke at some point by it being either a family member who has had one, they may have had one themselves or they may just be researching it, however, regardless of what extent it has affected them they are all equally as able in the online world to access the same information as each other.

In the online communities which I have been looking at, the potential ethical issues which will need to be accounted include factors such as reposting images from someone’s blog or page without consent, using people’s names without consent, not knowing exactly who the people that are blogging are as they may have a different name to what they say they are using. It can also be hard to tell whether or not the source is reliable.

Benefits of these online communities can include aspects such as complimenting real life communities, and they can provide connections instantly over a large geographical distance. Limitations can include delusional reliance on virtual communities, and a digital divide regarding who has access to what sites.

Whiteford, G. (2000). The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63(5), 200204

Monday, 14 May 2012

5 Videos

A chosen topic of interest drawn from my fieldwork experience is gardening as a therapeutic activity or just to fill in time.

This Video from YouTube focusses on Horticulture as Therapy. It talks about the joy as well as the pain relief it can bring to clients who may use it.

YouTube provides this video headed “Therapeutic Gardening helps residents with Dementia” this video shows how some dementia residents use gardening as therapy as it helps them to concentrate on one thing.


This video focuses on therapeutic gardening in general for various different patients who may need it.

This particular video shows a tool used within arthritic therapeutic gardening which involves a mechanism used to make carrying a pot plant easier for arthritic patients by lightening the load.

The final video that I will provide is about a sensory garden constructed by a man who designed it so that people with disabilities could use it in order to learn skills or just for enjoyment. This Video is the most relevant to my experience as I worked in a garden with Intellectually Disabled Adults who gardened all day.

Youtube. (2010). Arthritis Therapeutic Gardening Tip.mp4. Retrieved From:  
Youtube. (2010). Therapeutic Garden Tip.mp4. Retrieved From:
Youtube. (2009). Horticulture as Therapy. Retrieved from:
Youtube. (2009). Therapeutic Gardening Helps Residents with Dementia.  Retrieved From:
Youtube. (2009). Sensory Community Garden. Retrieved From:

Film Production

Occupational Transitions Through Education

This is the film that was thought up, shot, and edited by myself, along with Madison Chilton, Jennifer Hooker, Victoria Lindsay, Sarah Hewerdine and Charlotte Milne. We shot and edited this film over a 2 hour period, which we had planned out beforehand. The film was indenting to show the occupational transitions of someone who was going through the various transitions of education. For example, you will see in the film a short clip of a scenario followed by a still image which explains what part of the occupational transition the actress is at. We were instructed to construct a film that went for one minute.

 The occupation that I have chosen to include in my image presentation is the event of afternoon tea, focussing mainly on the tea making and coming together of a group of individuals over the afternoon tea session. On my first placement, having afternoon tea was a moment where the able bodied patients in the ward would meet together in the TV lounge for a cup of tea and some biscuits. Some would chat among each other; others would watch the television, and some remained silent in their own thoughts. In my second placement, afternoon tea was something that seemed to happen without question, and though each member of the service may have had a different way in which they prefer their tea, it was a ritual in which everybody took part in. It’s important to the service users because they were able to have a relaxing period (after a hard day of gardening and chopping wood) just chatting among one another before they went home, and some of them did not meet again for a few days. This section of reading from The Taking of Tea a Common Phenomenon “drinking tea is a habitual, normal and everyday thing to do” provides a good example of just how natural it is for these service users and patients of the ward to come together at the afternoon tea sessions and share a cuppa, a biscuit and some good company.

The following definitions are grasped from Hammell (2004). “The concept of doing includes purposeful, goal-orientated activities.”

“Being has been defined as time taken to reflect, be introspective or meditative, (re)discover the self, savour the moment, appreciate nature, art or music in a contemplative manner and to enjoy being with special people.”

“Belonging is described as the necessary contribution of social interaction, mutual support and friendship, and the sense of being included, to occupational performance and life satisfaction.”

“Becoming describes the idea that people can envision future selves and possible lives, explore new opportunities and harbour ideas about who or what they wish to become over the course of their biographies and how their lives might be experiences as worthwhile.”

My chosen images in my slideshow each represent aspects of sharing afternoon tea, for example:

Image one – berry and custard tarts and a cup and saucer – fancy afternoon tea

Image two – white tea and biscuits

Image three – Various different types of tea

Image four – Various different types of teapots

Image five – my kettle at home

Image six – a range of teabags that we have at home

Image seven – Green tea, cleansing for the body

Image eight – getting ready to make a cup of tea at home, teabag in mug and a yummy biscuit of mine

Image nine – my flatmate drinking her raspberry tea

Image ten – green tea

Image eleven – tea in a clear mug

Image twelve – white tea and a biscuit

Image thirteen – a snazzy sandwich and cup of tea

Image fourteen – different treats to have with a cup of tea, biscotti or homemade cookies

Image fifteen – an assortment of fancy afternoon tea treats with a teapot and cup and saucer

Image sixteen – A group of people gathering for a casual afternoon tea

Image seventeen – A group of people gathering for a fancy afternoon tea party

Image eighteen – Another group of people gathering for a fancy afternoon tea party

Image nineteen – The mad hatters tea party

Reference for doing, being, belonging and becoming definitions:

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

All of the images that I have sourced are from the internet however 5 of the photos (slides 5 to 9) are original images of my own. The images that I have chosen have been referenced regarding APA.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Information Technology

For my first blog posting I will be focussing on Information Technology and Ethical Issues.
Information and Communication Technology is described by (2012) as an “entire industry” However, Information technology is commonly seen as storing, processing, protecting transmitting and retrieving information, all through computers and software. For me, Information Technology takes me back to my year 11 year of high school where the Computer Skills class from year 10 changed to this huge world of organising information technologically which I had never seen or heard of before, two aspects I strongly remember were using databases mainly for storing peoples information such as name, age, address and payment details. Another was spread sheets which were used mainly for payment details as well as including graphs and recording a business’s financial data.

Information Technology as described above is prevalent in various aspects of our society. Most, if not all businesses or companies that work with people should have some sort of database for recording clients’ information in relation to contact details, past investments or purchases and other necessary information.
This is a YouTube clip labelled “Future Vision of Information Technology and our Lifestyle.” I am not entirely sure how realistic this is but I thought it looked pretty cool. One of the comments below the video reads “I believe the advanced technology will improve the "economic" aspects of life for many people around the world, as well as the healthcare systems. However, societies also need to be well-prepared to address a lot of other social problems that will come along as a result of advanced technology, and also the potential use of this technology to easily kill people etc.” Some social problems that may come due to these technological advances could include the fact that only those who can afford these futuristic technological devices will be the ones using it, and those in other socio-economic levels around the world will most likely remain in their poor state.  Tutor2U states the following points
·         A good way to think about ICT is to consider all the uses of digital technology that already exist to help individuals, businesses and organisations use information.
·         ICT covers any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form. For example, personal computers, digital television, email, robots.
·         So ICT is concerned with the storage, retrieval, manipulation, transmission or receipt of digital data. Importantly, it is also concerned with the way these different uses can work with each other.
These points give examples of what use Information Technology as well as Communications have in our everyday lives.

As far as Information Technology goes in my life, I am happy to use some sort of Information Technology given it’s designed for a reasonable use, not something too far-fetched or idiotic. I use IT to engage in some purposeful occupation, for example, a spread sheet or a table to keep track of information important to me. My limit to my use of IT is invisible, I am willing to give things a try, and figure out whichever option may work best for me.

As far as my first placements are concerned, IT was not a huge factor. Most if not all information about clients was stored on paper and in files, however, other areas of Occupational Therapy that I have not yet experienced may well be able to make great use of IT.

“Occupational Therapists need to embrace the use of mainstream technology in their quest to ensure that therapy remains current and meaningful to their clients. Technology can be useful to improve both functional independence and occupational performance.” Verdonck & Ryan (2008)

Science (2006) states that “There is evidence to suggest that health professionals are reluctant to accept and utilise information and communication technologies (ICT) and concern is growing within health informatics research that this is contributing to the lag in adoption and utilisation of ICT across the health sector.” 

I can envisage IT use within Occupational therapy becoming important to a certain extent. Perhaps it will be a good tool to use in order to enhance current treatment, as shown in the following image from Verdonck & Ryan (2008) where various sites are used for improving occupational Performance.
If our goal as Occupational Therapists is to enable occupation, the understanding and use of IT will help us in our practise and daily lives to a certain extent. I do not believe it will make a huge difference to the world of Occupational therapy, and treating clients; however that is only due to the experiences that I have had. I do agree that in areas of Occupational Therapy (other than an A.T&R ward) may need to use IT in order to improve systems or to get the full potential out of the therapy. Various online sites may be used to buy equipment, gather data needed, communicate with others in the same position as the client or perhaps even using a reminder on a mobile phone as a treatment intervention. Verdonck & Ryan (2008)

Ethical implications such as confidentiality could easily arise from information being captured, transferred and shared through IT devices within the Occupational Therapy scheme. Nobody knows who may see what is put online or sent in an email as there are continuously viruses floating around the internet.

References (2012). Information Technology – Definition and History.            Retrieved From :   (2006). ICT and OTs: A model of information and     communication technology acceptance and utilisation by occupational         therapists. Retrieved From:  

Tutor2U. (2012). What is ICT? Retrieved From:

Verdonck, V-C., & Ryan, S. (2006). Mainstream Technology as an   Occupational Therapy Tool: Technophobe or Technogeek? British    Journal of Occupational Therapy 71(6) Retrieved From:              eading_2011/Week_One_Readings.pdf

YouTube. (2011). Future Vision of Information Technology & Our Life Style.  Retrieved From: