Monday, 23 April 2012

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology as cited in Cook and Hussey (2000, p. 5) is “Any item, piece of equipment or product system whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized that is used to increase or improve functional capacities of individuals with disabilities”.

In interpretation of this definition is as follows:
Assistive technology is an intervention that uses some form of technology to assist a disabled person in being able to achieve their needs and meet the desired outcome, to enable the person to participate in everyday activity.
This definition covers all areas where assistive technology can be sort and is clear that there is only one outcome in using assistive technology - that is to improve or increase functional capacities and disabilities.

A trackball is a particular style of computer mouse that allows one to keep their hand and arm in one place, while manipulating a ball that moves the pointer.

The trackball mouse performs the same functions as a normal mouse, however instead of moving the entire mouse to position the cursor, a small solid ball is located directly on the top of the mouse which is used to navigate the cursor across the screen. This reduces the arm and wrist movement previously required to manoeuvre the normal mouse and prevents the user from having to reposition the mouse frequently. The track ball is a great way for people who experience any sort of tremor disability to be able to manoeuvre their way around the computer screen.  

Of the trackballs that we viewed, the approximate cost ranged from $135 - $500, they are relatively small in size depending on the make, mode and purpose it is required for but not usually too much bigger than ones entire hand size.

This you-tube clip shows a Quadriplegic typing on keyboard and using a trackball mouse. The trackball mouse enables him to use his whole hand over the mouse and use his arm strength to push the ball around the screen. This particular trackball has click buttons on either side of the ball to click specific things on the screen – the click button can be used as seen here or can be further developed the meet specific needs of the client.

This website is great for all answers frequently asked questions about trackballs. The site is set out clearly with questions and then answers; it covers a wide range of material including brands, models and recommended brands to purchase.

When relating back to occupational concepts a trackball mouse is a great way for preventing/discouraging occupational deprivation. Occupation deprivation is an “influence of external circumstances that prevents a person from acquiring, using, or enjoying occupation over an extended period of time“(Townsend & Wilcock, 2004). If we take for example the quadriplegic from the about clip, we know he enjoys using a computer. Without being able to use a mouse this man would be unable to use the computer, by substituting a normal mouse for a trackball mouse it gives this man back his ability to use the computer, therefor he is not occupationally deprived of using his computer and completing the desired tasks he may have previously completed.

Cook, A. M., & Hussey, S. M. (2000). Assistive technologies: principles and practice. St Louis: Mosby.
Townsend, E., & Wilcock A. A. (2004). Occupational justice and client – centred practice: A dialogue in progress. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(2), 75-87.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Linking to blogs of interest and exchanging comments

In this tutorial we were asked to search online for five blogs that related to OT practice, these were to be active blogs where discussion and comment was recent. Of these five blogs we were asked to link to one fellow students course blog.

To view the five blog feeds I made please view down the right of my page under "Blogs Feeds". Of these five blogs, comments were to be made on all. These comments can be viewed by clicking on the blog feed and viewing the comments for that particular blog page.

Of the five blogs I made a feed too, I recieved one comment back which was from my fellow student. Please view 'my comments' to see this comment.

Monday, 9 April 2012

The internet and online communities

My chosen topic of interest for this part of my blog is Autism, taken from a fieldwork placement in a paediatric clinic setting. I have chosen Autism as it is a topic of great interest to me, I also have many personal experiences involving children with Autism. According to Shriver (2011) “Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes problems with social interaction and communication. Symptoms usually start before age three and can cause delays or problems in many different skills that develop from infancy to adulthood”.

Below are the links for 3 online communities I have chosen:

The first online comminty I have choosen is an Auckland based company that specialises in counselling and psychotherapy. The intended purpose of this site is to teach readers what Autism is, how it is caused, and how it is diagnosed. A great feature about this site is that it helps the viewer in finding a therapist that is right for them. This site is interactive as it has a specified section for asking questions, however, I feel this could be confusing for some as all questions regarding the site are posted here. The site contributes by answering these questions within 48 hours of them being posted.

The Second site I look into was the Autism New Zealand website. The intended purpose of the site is again to teach readers about Autism and the supports that are out there but it also supports readers in finding support and information that this site may not offer. The site offers a national newsletter and personal stories where viewers can read and either write their own personal experience or comments on others experiences. This online community also offers options for readers to assist with fundraising for people with Autism and enable then to donate or become a member of Autism New Zealand. This site is not only aimed at parents but also children, as it has games for them to play.

The third site I have chosen, Altogether Autism, is a great site for keeping up to date with up and coming events that are happening around the country. Readers are able to subscribe to a monthly newsletter and request information that they require specific to the needs of themselves or the person with Autism. This site is interactive as it gives viewers the opportunity to ask questions that are then answered by the site. Also, this site offers opportunities for employment- it offers a section on job vacancies where one can apply online.

Majority of people who make access to these online communities are parents seeking advice and information about their child who has autism or parents that suspect there child has autism.The online communities chosen for this particular tutorial are all New Zealand sites. Trust worthy sites often encourage people to participate on these as they feel more comfortable in sharing information and know they are going to get a reply from those close to them.

These sites all relate to occupational justice. Occupational justice is similar to occupational deprivation but refers to factors that are internal or individual such as illness. These sites encourage people with autism to seek the help required and attain information needed to understand there disability so they can continue with current relationships and conditions for living.

These sites also prevent against occupation deprivation, they encourage people with autism to continue with daily occupations and acquire, use and enjoy daily occupations. The sites provide resources and contact information for support groups within the community.
Autism is a developmental disorder that disrupts a child’s ability to socially interact and communicate with others. When considering ethical issues that may arise in this community there are many, following are just a few.

Acceptance by others within the community, perceived at a lower level of ability that actually able.
Perceived as something that they are not, can be stereotyped by others, varying degrees of autism are not understood by all. Lower functioning individuals, may not have the capacity to understand normal rules or cultural norms, others may do things that are less than ethical, because they feel that the autistic person might not be able to advocate for themselves

Benefits of online communities allow people to access information in the comfort of their own home, at a speed that suits them. It allows them to have contact with others who have the same connections as them and gather resources from all over the world and from a variety of different sources.
Limitations with accessing these online communities include that of only being aimed at a specific target audience. The information sourced may not always be reliable as it is difficult to tell where and who the information is coming from. Some sites have to have specific software to enable some items to be viewed or accessed. Without this software one may not have access to all required information.


Shriver, E. K. (2001). National Iistitute of child health and human development. USA. 

Monday, 2 April 2012

Video Production Sessions 2

During my 1st fieldwork placement I worked at a paediatric community setting where I was involved in participating in a group activity for children with sensory issues. Please view the attached videos to gain an understanding of what this means and how it relates to Occupational Therapy.

This video identifies the 7 different senses (vision, hearing, sight, touch, smell, and two movement senses) and how they affect the individual. I thought this video was very simple and clear to understand and would be good to show children to help them gain an understanding. This related to my experience as it discusses school aged children and their co-ordination which were two things that we looked at. It also speaks briefly about how an Occupational Therapist can help a person with sensory issues.

This clip shows how specific occupational therapy interventions are used with children in a paediatric setting and how Occupational Therapy is beneficial to children with sensory issues. It looks at building self-confidence and patience one step at a time. This clip is relevant to many experience as it considers children with autism and ADHD which was the majority of children in our group.
Although this clip does not look at children it gives a good definition of what Occupational Therapy is, what therapeutic activities are and how different therapeutic activities can influence an individual. It looks at increasing functional performance, using play dough to improve fine motor skills including grasp and grip. Range of movement, hand-eye co-ordination, balance and flexibility are also considered.

This clip is of an Occupational Therapist who explains his role with children and the influence he has in working with them. He explains how his role is diverse in working in the school, community and clinic setting. I thought this was important as my supervisor on this particular placement was involved in all three of these areas. This Occupational Therapist works mostly with children with Downs Syndrome, Cerebral palsy, and Sensory Processing Disorders. He talks about using standardized testing to develop a treatment plan and then uses sensory integration with the children, along with social learning theories. He talks about the important communication between himself and other health professionals.

This short clip looks at Occupational Therapy in school and how important vision and motor skills are for children. It discusses that each child is different, each having their own needs. Social and functional issues are spoken about.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Video Production Sessions 1

During this tutorial we were asked to choose one concept that we were introduced to in Tutorial 1, our video production team chose Occupational Deprivation. Occupation Deprivation is described as an “Influence of external circumstances that prevents a person acquiring, using or enjoying occupation over an extended period of time” (Townsend & Wilcock, 2004).
We began with a story board of our chosen concept where a person would be deprived of completing occupations that were meaningful to them. We decided to use the quote “if you draw it for me, if you cut it for me, if you paint it for me, then all you are showing is that you can do it better than me”. We filmed one of our group members preforming all these occupations and then being pushed to the side by another to have it don’t for them – in turn depriving them of the occupation. It was important to produce a story board first to outline everyone’s role and ensure that all outcomes were achieved, and within the time frame allocated.

Reference: Townsend, E., & Wilcock A. A. (2004). Occupational justice and client – centred practice: A dialogue in progress. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(2), 75-87.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Blog Creation Tasks

In this tutorial we were given the assignment of setting up a blog page and uploading information from tutorial one and two.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Occupational Engagement, Doing, Being, Becomingg and Belonging

Cooking is an important aspect and occupation in which we are involved in on a daily basis on many levels, whether it is a basic meal at night with the family or a meal at a 5 star restaurant. Food, especially in the New Zealand’s culture plays a part in most social events and gatherings.
This second part of my blog looks at the Occupation of Cooking, I have chosen this because it is one of my favourite things to do, and I love to entertain guests using food and find the task very relaxing and therapeutic at the end of a long hard day.
In observation on a fieldwork placement I was lucky enough to be able to work with elderly stroke patients in teaching them how to perform the basic yet complex step by step task of cooking cheese scones.

The first ethical consideration I consider was gaining consent from the people who I took photos of and gained their permission to post the photos of them on my blog page. It is considered ethical to gain consent so people know that their information is being posted online for all to see.
The second ethical consideration I consider was that when I used a source from online I ensured I referenced where I got that resource from, using a web address or name of the website. It is important to acknowledge where you got the information from.
Thirdly, I ensured that I only took photos from trusted websites. Most of the photos I sourced online have come from photo galleries who are using them as example picture – the photo gallery would have gained consent from that person to post them online, making it an ok source to use.