Thursday, 17 May 2012

Blog interest

There have been some really interesting blogs, which I have been keeping an eye on lately. These blogs are all related to occupational therapy and cover some really important and interesting topics.

The first blog is

This blog is by Karen who is an occupational therapist and works in California. There is one blog that I found most interesting and that is the “typing skills for children in OT”.  She has some really interesting and creative ideas check it out:

This blog looks at different apps for the iPad which are apporiate and worth while for children. It is great to have someone reviewing these apps and providing knowledge on them.

The next blog belongs to a classmate of mine, Amanda.
She has looked at wii fit games that can be used for people that experience TBI

This next blog is by Loren Shalaes who is a pediatric OT
Her blog on “when a child cant sit still” is very interesting.

Finally the last blog that intrigued me was Hannah’s:

She covered a really interesting video about a tetraplegic woman who used thought to control a robotic arm.I commented on this:

  1. Thanks for sharing the video on neuroscience and robotics Hannah. Absolutely fascinating! I can understand how this technology might work for people who have lost limbs, but for the lady in the video would the robotic arm be fitted to her wheelchair do you think?
  2. I am not sure if the technology is at the point where it can be mobile (due to the box attached to the chip sticking out her head). They think that this breakthrough may lead to the use of multiple chips in the body communicating with each other to initiate muscle movement, so that goes beyond just creating robotic limbs. But early days yet!
  3. What a fantastic video on the tetraplegic woman who used thought to control a robotic arm. It is amazing to think that this kind of technology has been developed. Do you have any more information on this?


.    Hannah S17 May 2012 20:44
Thats really awesome about getting to see a hip replacement surgery. Did it change how you viewed clients after coming out of those operations? as in did you have more of an understanding of why the felt the way the did/ what their functional abilities were?

Amy van der Heyden17 May 2012 21:02
Yes i was very lucky to have that opportunity. 

Yes, you are right Hannah it was interesting to learn how intrusive hip replacements can be. It really did give me a greater insight as to why their mobility would be so limited following the surgery.

Assistive technology 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 capabilities of individual with disabilities” (Cook & Hussey, 2000, pp.5).

This definition suggests that assistive technology can be many different types of technology and not just the latest electronic gismos we see on the television. For example a simply piece of equipment such as an easy reach is considered to be assistive technology. On the other hand assistive technology can also relate to advanced devices such as an iPad or communicative device.

New technologies such as the iPad are being readily adopted by people with disabilities, including those with complex communication needs. (AAC-RERC white paper, 2009). The iPad is a touch screen interface device, which is, used purely through the use of fingers interaction. It is a slick, thin tablet which is hand held. The iPad is 241.2mm X 185.7mmin length vs with a depth of 8.8mm and weight of 601g.  This is a very slim and lightweight device for the type of functions it is capable of providing. The cost for the basic iPad2 with 16GB you will be looking at paying $579 or $729 for the iPad3.

Retrieved from:

The iPad itself comes with basic applications on it such as a calendar, time and basic note taking capabilities. From here you are able to download any applications that are available on the apple app market that are suitable to your needs. This makes the iPad different from other devices because it is a platform from which you can design its purpose and function according to your own needs.

The iPad can be used in classrooms to increase the occupational engagement of the learner during the lesson. It is good for children because they can physically interact with the iPad which produces a longer attention span.
This video provides an example of children using this assistive technology in the classroom. They use it without the assistance of adults and are fully captivated by learning via the device.

The iPad is also very common for children who have disabilities and are unable to communicate verbally. The following video is a fantastic example of how this device can be used for children with communicative disabilities.

iPads are great tools to enhance learning and development however people with disabilities also need to play! The following video demonstrates people with muscular dystrophy controlling a remote control car through the use of an iPad.

This shows the diversity of the iPad and really emphasizes the point that if you can imagine it then you can make it happen. The iPad is only going to grew in its ability to tackle new and more extreme uses.

The iPad being used to control a remote control car shows that it has really stepped on the toes of occupational deprivation.

The iPad is going to keep breaking occupational deprivation for people with disabilities and enable these people to ultimately, to an extent, not be disabled at all.


AAC-RERC white paper. (2009). Mobile devices & communication apps.
Retrieved from

Cook, A. M., & Hussey, S. M. (2000). Assistive technologies: Principles and practice. St Louis: Mosby

Hip replacement post operative precautions

In my first fieldwork placement as an occupational therapy student I was placed at a community physical setting at a hospital. The client base mainly involved people of he older generation however did cater from 20 years and up. During this placement I became very familiar with total hip replacements and providing occupational therapy services for pre operation precautions.

My supervisor and I visited many people at their homes before they went into surgery for their total hip replacement surgery. It was her job as the community occupational therapist to ensure the client had education on the postoperative limitations they would have.

One consideration she taught during these session was way in which you should get on and off the bed without flexing the hip joint to much. This video demonstrates the precautions needed to be considered when getting on and off the bed.

Also she educated them on getting on and off a chair as demonstrated in the video:

One other important education topic was going up and down stairs as demonstrated in this video:

My supervisor also supplied the client with tools to assist them during the recovery when clients are recovering they are unable to bend their hip joint less than 90 degrees as this might cause the hip to dislocate.

The most common piece of equipment given out was the easy reach. This video demonstrates this piece of equipment when pulling up pants: 

I was lucky enough to view a total hip replacement at the hospital. This was a fantastic experience and the procedure was very interesting to watch.

In this video you can see the basic over view of what happens in a total hip replacement procedure.

Occupation Deprivation

Our tutorial class this week focused on producing a 1 minute video that had to portray either occupational justice, occupational disruption, occupational transition or occupational deprivation.

Our group decided to portray occupational deprivation. Occupation deprivation is a state which people are precluded from opportunities to engage in occupations of meaning due to factors outside their control (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010). We started by planning what the video should contain and how it should be carried out. We used to storyboarding and scripting to figure out the ten frames we were allowed to use. After this we organized the equipment and were lucky enough to be able to use an electric wheel chair from the occupational therapy department. We also used a video camera to capture the film and iMovies to edit it and apply special effects.  We split up into groups and produced this final product….enjoy J


Christiansen, C.H., & Townsend, E.A. (2010). Occupational deprivation: Understanding limited participation. Introduction to occupation. The art and science of living. (2nd Ed), New Jersey, Pearson Education, Inc   

Beneath my feet

The occupation of taking walks on the beach is the focus of this blog post.

Growing up in New Zealand I have spent a lot of my time at the beach swimming, running, walking, boating and fishing. During my first year as an occupational therapy student I was lucky enough to have a fieldwork placement at IDEA services in Dunedin. Every Monday afternoon during my second semester I would attend outings with the clients at the service and would frequently drive down to the sea take walks on the beach.

Hammell (2004) explains that doing includes purposeful, goal-orientated activites. Walking on the beach is an occupation most commonly used to relax onseself.

Being is described is defined in Hammell (2004) as time taken to reflect, discover the self, meditate, savour the moment and appreciate nature. Walking on the beach is well known relaxing occupation. Many people find the feel of the sand under their feet and the sounds of the wave calming. In picture 11 you can see someone walking alone taking their time perhaps clearing their head and savoring the moment.

Belonging is used to describe the necessary contribution of social interactions, friendship and the sense of being included in occupational performance and life satisfaction  (Hammell, 2004). Pictures 9, 16,17,18 and 19 of my slideshow show people  romantically sharing the occupation of walking on the beach. Sharing this with another human being has been viewed as an desirable occupation that enhancing the sense of belonging and life satisfaction.   

This is the idea that people can envision future selves and possible lives and explore new opportunities (Hammell, 2004). Pictures 3 and 4 of my slideshow communicate this.

There where some ethical considerations when choosing the images for this blog posting:

·      * Considered whether the photos were copywriter

·      * Asked permission from the people I took the photos of if they minded them being put on the internet.

·     * Considered whether the photos were inappropriate for the audience for this type of blog.


Picture 1: Body boarding
(unpublished, 2010)

Picture 2: Body boarding
(unpublished, 2010)

Picture 3: Exploring beach
(unpublished, 2009)

Picture 4: Exploring beach
(unpublished, 2009)

Picture 5: Reflecting
(unpublished, 2009)

Picture 6: Reflecting
(Unpublished, 2009)

Picture 7: Dog swimming
(Unpublished,  2008)

Picture 8: Family walk
(Unpublished, 2009)

Picture 9: Romantic walk

Picture 10: Boating

Picture 11: Thoughtful walk

Picture 13: Dog walking

Picture 14: Sunset

Picture 15: Family shared lunch

Picture 16: Bonding time

Picture 20: Family walk

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

Tute one: information technology

Hi, welcome, my name is Amy van der Heyden and I am currently in my second year of occupational therapy.

My first post is going to attempt tackling the huge topic of Information Technology and its Ethical issues.
So what is Information Technology?
Information Technology “defines an industry that uses computers, networking, software programming, and other equipment and processes to store, process, retrieve, transmit, and protect information.” (
Information technology is very dominant in today’s society and we have become increasing dependent on it over the last 50 years. Growing up as a generation Y’er, the “facebook generation”, information technology has been a big part of our up bringing. The computer and Internet alone have changed the way we shop, communicate, learn and essentially work. Technology and the accessibility of the Internet have undoubtedly spoilt our generation. In writing this blog I can confidently say that the majority of us would agree that we automatically searched this topic in Google and to the dismay of our lecturers, Wikipedia.
Worryingly, research conducted by the Journal Science shows that generation Y’s collective memory is falling by the wayside because of the way we carry out our academic work. According to researchers Dr Betsy Sparrow and Daniel Wegner (2005), knowing that information and facts are accessible whenever we need them online, makes us less likely to remember them. Our brains are simply learning that they don’t need to retain information in the same way our parents’ did. The debate here is whether this is pure laziness or resourcefulness and maximizing the function of the Internet.
I am a strong advocator for technology and believe that it is not making us more lazier but more efficient in they way we productively spend our time. Information technology (IT) tends to focus on making life easier and more productive.
The IT device I feel most comfortable using definitely has to be my laptop. Without my laptop (with internet access of course) I would be lost. I use my laptop to keep in contact with my friends through facebook, communicate with my family on skype, complete online class work on moodle, complete assessments through Microsoft office, shop for cloths, online banking and keep up with the latest music on youtube. As you can see I use this device for many purposeful occupations such as communicating with loved ones and productive work. Growing up using this device has made me very dependent on it and I would struggle to function effectively without it. Even so there are still times in my life when I wonder whether this device can sometimes cripple people’s social and physical functions. The accessibility and usability of the internet and computers prompts people to spend more time inside rather than socializing in the community.
Last year I completed my first fieldwork placement in a community physical setting at a hospital. This hospital had a computer system which stored all of past clients health records on. This system was effective and useful as it provided easy and fast access to client information. Without such a system the therapist would have to go through truckload filing to find the correct information. This IT system has improved the efficiently of the hospital.
In the future IT and IT devices are going to become a huge tool in the occupational therapy practice.  These systems and devices have already started making there way into this setting and as the industry grows so will range of ways in which we will be able to use them.
In occupational therapy IT can assist in simplifying everyday activities that some may be unable to do themselves. For example you are know able to order your groceries online as well as get the delivered. This would be an effective tool to use in practice for someone who is still independent at home but is having difficulties in mobility.
It s important to become familiar and keep up to date with the latest IT systems and devices because they will without a doubt change the way we function in the future.