Thursday, 17 May 2012

Tutorial Eight: Assistive Technology

Assistive technology can be defined as the use of any mechanical item, equipment or product that can be modified, customised or purchased commercially or privately to improve and increase a disabled individual’s functional abilities (Sabata, Shamberg & Williams, 2008).

From my interpretation of the above statement I gather that assistive technology (this could be any form of device), be it technology, standard fixtures or dress aids can be used on completion of an occupation by someone with an impairment. As the world around us today is accepting and adapting to the needs of those suffering from a disability, assistive technology is becoming more and more prominent in todays society.

Earlier this month I was introduced to a piece of equipment that intrigued me. This piece of assistive technology is a ‘Pal Pad’ it has the same function as a switch, in fact it can be described as a ‘flat switch’.

-Size and dimensions: The Pal Pad comes in three different sizes. The Mini Pal Pad is 5cm x 5cm (2” x 2 “), the Small Pal Pad measures 6cm x 10cm (2.5 × 4”) and the Large Pal Pad measures 11.5cm x 15cm (4.5” x 6”), making it one of the largest adaptive switches available. The Pad is available in four colours, red, green, yellow and blue.

It only requires 34g of force to activate Pal Pad switches. They can be operated with the slightest touch whether from directly above or at a shallow angle. Pal Pads can be plugged into communication aids, battery operated devices or computer interfaces.
Pal Pads are flat switches, approximately 1/4 of a centimeter thick, yet are very rigid and durable. They are designed to be tolerant of rough usage. Pal Pads come with a foam rubber backing you can attach to the back to minimise slipping.
-Cost: According to STAR Mobility & Disability Centre the large Pal Pad is priced at $124
-Function: The main function of the Pal Pad switch is to turn on and off any piece of equipment. This type of switch would be ideal for those users who are distracted by audible clicks or those who require a very low profile switch and can exert very little pressure. The Pal Pad can also be used as a means to teach someone that if you touch here (the top of the pad) then this will turn on/off.
-When I first saw the Pal Pad it was connected to a child’s toy. It was a dinosaur and when you touched the pad the dinosaur walked. The Pal Pad would be good for a child with fine motor dysfunction. This would give them the opportunity to engage in play just like those children without impairments do.
-Examples of assistive switches in use.  

 Pal Pad

 Above is a example of a adapted switch. It is not the Pal Pad switch but it does the same thing. 


Sabata, D. B., Shamberg, S. & Williams, M. (2008). Optimising access to home, community and work environments. In M. V. Radomski & C. A. Trombly Latham (Eds.), Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (6th ed.), (pp. 952-973). Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Tutorial Five: Video Production Session

Below is the story of Aiden and the treatment he received to relieve the pressure from his brain caused by the port wine birth mark.

Retrieved from - is a video of a little girl called Alice. She suffers from Sturge-Weber Syndrome. The video just talks about how this disorder has affected her occupational performance.
Lola was born with Sturge-Weber Syndrome. This is her story.
 Below are a few women talking about how they have lives with sturge- weber syndrome.
Retrieved from -
 Above is a little bit of information on port wine stains, and about another womens journey through the process.

Tutorial Four: Video Production Session

Occupational Depravation
In our classes we were assigned groups to work in to make a 1-minute long video on occupation depravation. My group consisted of Grace, Tracey, Sally and myself. We all worked very well together and completed the video to an acceptable standard. Our aim was to portray the meaning of occupational depravation.
Occupational Depravation can be defined as ‘the influence of external circumstances that prevent a person from acquiring, using or enjoying occupations,’ (Townsend, E. & Wilcock, A. 2004)

We decided to aim our video around a vertically challenged individual and the limitation that they may have. Our video was shot in a kitchen at the WINTEC hub. We gave the vertically challenged person (grace) a occupation to fulfill (making a cup of tea). In order for us to identify the vast difficulty the Grace had we decided to get a very tall person (Ben) to do the task beside her.
In planning for this video we used a story board to draw all the scenes. This gave us the opportunity to see where best to use the different camera techniques. We used a range of different camera angles, such as zooming, panning, mid-shot, long-shot and close ups.

I hope you enjoy the video. Thank you  :) 

Tutorial Two:Occupation Engagement, Doing, Being, Becoming and Belonging

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Tutorial Two:Occupation Engagement, Doing, Being, Becoming and Belonging.

I have chosen to do cooking as my occupation. My fieldwork one placement influenced my decision to base my power point on this occupation. I fell that cooking is a large part of our day-to-day lives, when we eat a proper meal we have the ability to function to our full capacity. I felt that cooking fitted in well with the theme of this weeks post, Doing, Being, Belonging and Becoming. During fieldwork I was involved in facilitating a cooking group.
Here I was able to see clients actively
-Doing this occupation.
-Being- re-discovering past experiences and savoring the moment.
-Belonging in a group, everyone being included in the occupation.
-Becoming- achieving goals, being able to finish cooking that meal.

Below are definitions of four terms that are important in completing an occupation.
Doing- The concept of doing includes purposeful, goal-orientated activities. Need/opportunity to keep busy, envision future time engaged in valued activities. In the power point presented above the first five photos are of individuals doing a purposeful occupation. They have started out with a goal to prepare a meal and here they are fulfilling that need.
­Being- Time taken to reflect, discover the self, savor the moment and to enjoy being with special people, simply experiencing life. Pictures six to eleven in the power point are demonstrating being. People cooking in a group situation.
Belonging- The necessary contribution of social interaction, mutual support and friendship, the sense of being included. Slides 13-17 are people cooking together, bonding and having a meal together.
Becoming- People can envision future selves and possible lives, explore new opportunities and harbor ideas about who or what they want to become. In the last few slide there are pictures of food showing the first stage of cooking, later a meal being eaten- the end product. People eating, exploring new foods, new ideas and occupations.

In order for me to be able to post all the pictures in the power point above there were certain ethical issues that I had to consider.
1.     For the original picture that I have taken I had to get permission from each person in the picture. I had to tell them why I needed the picture and that I was going to post it on the Internet. I was only allowed to post them if they allowed me to do so.
2.     With the online pictures I had to make sure that I was authorized to use them.
3.     Evidence of each source. A reference to where I got each picture.


Hagedorn, R. (2000). Tools of practise in occupational therapy. A structured approach to core skills and processes. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
Wilcock, A.A. (1998b).  Reflections on doing, being becoming.  Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, 248-256.

Tutorial One: Information Technology and Ethical Issues

Tutorial One: Information Technology and Ethical Issues

Welcome to Participation in Occupation One blog. I have created this blog as a requirement for the course I am studying, Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. I am currently in stage two. This course is facilitated through Otago Polytechnic and Waikato Institute of Technology.  Participation in Occupation One looks at the links between human occupation and technology and how mainstream technology can be used as an Occupational Therapy tool.

This posting will focus on Information Technology (IT) and the Ethical issues surrounding IT use. As stated in the Shorter Oxford English dictionary (2002) Information Technology is defined as ‘Technology that deals with the storage, processing and dissemination of information especially using computers.’ From my understanding Information Technology may includes computers, digital cameras, mobile phones, printers, external hard drives, televisions and Internet.

     As a student I feel it is essential to be familiar with the different forms of information technology. Technology is become more common in society; this may be due to the easy access of IT equipment. On a typical day I would wake up to my alarm clock, check my phone, check my emails, head off to school, while at school go on the computer, use my phone, draw money from the ATM, (all this technology use within three hours). This has just become ‘normal’ in today’s society.

As I am apart of the Y generation, I have grown up with technology all around me. Therefore I find the use of IT devices and systems a part of me. I use it everyday and very familiar with all kinds of technological devices. I am comfortable using them and would continue using. I use technology as my main source of communication. If I went into the desert I would be lost without cell phone or Internet reception.

Information Technology can be used to engage in purposeful occupation through the use of power point for presentations in the workplace. Internet to organise appointments, money transfers. Therapists may use videos to help engage clients.

Whilst on my fieldwork placements I saw a range of different pieces of IT being used. The other health professionals were using computers to keep record of client reports. The speech language therapist uses a lot of electronic speech devices for help communicate with clients. According to Stanford education Issues that may come with this are “when technology is injected into a setting, the roles and responsibilities of those in that setting change. What might have been obvious ways to assess responsibility in a less technologically supported environment become obscured when the human-technology balance is recalibrated with the introduction of new technology. In such cases the new responsibilities and relationships need to be identified and articulated so that people know what their new roles entails and the necessary requisites for performing it.”
Below is a clip of how information technology can be of assistance to occupational therapists.

In order for occupational therapist to use IT in their practice there are some ethical considerations that can arise through capturing, sharing and transferring information via devices and systems. This could be whether or not you are using your own work, copy right laws are important in transferring and capturing. A large factor in this industry would be privacy, so taking pictures of clients and showing the public. This can not be done without any permission. A large number of practices now have a no picture policy. Another example of this would be Google Earth, when they take the pictures of the street they have to be aware of people’s privacy. They aren’t allowed to take pictures within residence fences.

Shorter oxford English dictionary: On historical principles. (2002). Auckland: Oxford Press

Retrieved February 14, 2007,