Thursday, 17 May 2012

Online communities!

As I have previously mentioned, I was in the Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation (AT&R) ward at North Shore hospital in Auckland for my first placement last year. We dealt with patients over the age of 65years and many of which had experienced a stroke. There are numerous online communities that enable people of the same experiences to connect and converse about their struggles etc. The three main online communities that I came across are: The Stroke Foundation of New Zealand, Stroke Net and ehealth forum. To tell you a little bit about each of them…

The Stroke Foundation of New Zealand website provides help and support to those people that have suffered strokes. When I was navigating through the website, I noticed that there are countless sections to provide the person with contact information, resources, information on stroke, campaigns and many more. This website is useful in the sense that it allows anyone to access it and share their stories about their stroke experiences. This is beneficial for someone who wants to talk about their experience and get opinions from others who have been through the same strife. Although it appears to be a useful site, it doesn’t seem as interactive as I expected it to be. It seems like you have to register with them before you are able to comment on anything. Once they have registered and logged in, they will be able to browse the site and comment on other’s stories and share their own.

Stroke Net is an online community that allows people that have been affected by strokes to share their stories and read and comment on other’s stories too. You have to register, much like other online communities, in order to post comments, but this is free to do so. This site is very interactive as there are multiple links and services available, including a donation link so you can donate money towards a stroke fund, chat rooms for a variety of ages and special sessions in separate rooms, and a gallery. People are able to contribute by posting their stories or thoughts, and it allows you to comment on other’s postings too.

”A health community featuring member and doctor discussions ranging from a specific symptom to related conditions, treatment options, medication, side effects, diet, and emotional issues surrounding medical conditions.” This is what the eHealth forum provides as it is an online community allowing people to share their thoughts and stories, as well as ask questions which can be answered by doctors. This ensures that you will be receiving accurate information in the answers that are being received. You also have to register for this site, but once this has been completed, there are many topics in which you can post comments under. This site is easy to navigate around and is very interactive.

People choose to contribute to these communities because they want answers about what they’re going through or about what someone else is going through. These online communities may be more supportive and accessible compared to what is available to them in every-day life. They could be seeking information or simply just wanting someone to talk to about what experiences have occurred in their life. Information is generally shared both ways, as one person will share their story or ask a question, and someone else will comment on their story – as they may have been through something similar, or be answering their desired questions. These sites relate to the occupational concepts that we have learnt in class recently. One of the concepts that stroke relates to is occupational disruption, which is “temporary or transient, such as having the flu. Second, disruption results from factors or situations over which the individual has some control, such as moving to a new town or changing jobs” (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010, p.304). Strokes cause a disruption in people’s lives as they are forced to stop in their tracks for a while, which sets them back temporarily. Strokes also often tend to cause differences to the body including physical and cognitive differences. This can be quite distressing to the patient and therefore online communities are beneficial in this instance. Stroke patients feel like they’re alone in the situation, but once they find communities such as these, they realise there are a lot more people in the same boat as themselves which gives them a sense of hope and relief.

Another occupational concept that stroke patients go through is occupational transition which is defined as “a major change in the repertoire of a person in which one or several occupations change, disappear, and/or are replaced with others” (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010, p.212). Patients who experience stroke will go through an occupational transition in the sense that it was unexpected and unplanned, and it will most likely influence their daily living in a big way. Strokes affect the body both physically and emotionally, so talking about it over online communities will benefit those people affected largely. If a person experienced a stroke, they would want to know that there is somebody else out there that is going through the same transition, so online communities help these people by making them aware that they are not alone.

Unfortunately, ethical considerations will arise when dealing with sites like these. Many of the online communities require some information when making an account or registering, but there is always the option to keep ones identity anonymous.  This can cause the site to be abused by people being inappropriate, as those anonymous people have kept their identity hidden and therefore have a mind-set of ‘who cares, no one knows who I am’. Most sites have control over this now as there are generally options to ‘block’ or ‘report abuse’ (much like Facebook!) to those who are treating the site unfairly.

There are both benefits and limitations to be aware of that these communities provide relating to geographical communities. Online communities prove to be beneficial to a lot of people. Some of these benefits include being able to share personal stories and getting desired questions answered by others who may or may not have gone through the same experience, connecting with different people all over the world, and making your identity anonymous if you don’t want anyone knowing who you really are. There are also limitations to consider which are receiving incorrect information to your questions and becoming too involved with the online communities and therefore becoming isolated in reality.


Christiansen, C. H., & Townsend, E. A. (2010). An introduction to occupation: The art and
               science of living (2nd ed.). United States of America: Pearson Education Inc.

Assistive Technology!

Cook and Hussey (1995) state that assistive technology is “any item, piece of equipment or product system whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customised that is used to increase or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities” (p.5). If I were to interpret this, I would describe assistive technology to be an object or item that is used by individuals with a decrease in function. Assistive technology aids this individual by allowing them to complete a given task. Some examples of assistive technologies include the Apple iPad, powered wheelchairs, smack-the-switch and talking photo albums.

During the week that we focussed on assistive technology, we had a gentleman come to Otago Polytechnic to discuss what assistive technology is and how they use it in their setting. The guest speaker is an occupational therapist that works at a school in Wellington for students with intellectual disabilities. He brought a lot of assistive technology devices along with him for us to try out and I was amazed with what it could all do. The main piece of equipment I was introduced to and played around with, was the iPad. iPads are smaller than a lap top but bigger than an iPhone – approximately 7.3” x 9.5”. They vary in price according to how many GB it has but the range starts from around $700 up to $1228 (Appl store, 2012). The website provided will outline details of the iPad including the size, cost and functions:

When I was using the iPad in class, I could see that it would increase the occupational engagement of the user in many ways. There are loads of apps that work on reading, writing, communication, matching, drawing and all sorts of other things that would be beneficial to those individuals who struggle with these. In class, we were split into groups and by using several different technologies (including the iPad) we were able to make a smoothie without any of us talking to each other. The iPad’s job in this scenario was the source of communication. Another example of an iPad being used for communication is by these people with intellectual disabilities:

After doing a little bit of research I was able to find a few more videos of iPads used in occupational therapy. This video here illustrates that iPads can aid children who have Autism and Cerebral Palsy by learning motor functions, how to write and usiing the iPad to communicate with others.

iPads aren't only used to communicate in occupational therapy.  This next video shows a little boy who has autism, using the iPad to do handwritting:


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

New iPad - Buy the New iPad with Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Cellular - White or Black - Apple Store (New Zealand). (n.d.). Official Apple Store - Buy the new iPad, Apple TV, iPhone, Mac Computers and Notebooks, iPod and More - Apple Store (U.S.). Retrieved May 17, 2012, from

Linking to blogs of interest!

Nicole to Ashley:

Hi Ashley,
I really enjoyed your doing, being, becoming and belonging post. It mentions that you did various art and craft activities at your placement. I was wondering what kind of activities you and the students participated in?


Hi Nicole,

Thanks! Yes I was on a placement at a school for students with intellectual disabilities. The main art and craft activity that the students and I engaged in was a textured card game. We helped the students glue different textured materials onto cardboard squares, and when they were dry we helped them to identify similar textures. The students really loved being involved, it was a great exercise.

Ashley to Nicole:

Hi Nicole,
I really enjoyed reading your post on IT and ethical considerations. I see that you use IT on a day-to-day basis, what IT device would you say that you use most often?


Hi Ashley,
I would use my phone the most often by far as it is portable, a good source of communication and also has the internet.
Thankyou for your comment!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Video Production - Strokes.

Last year on my first fieldwork placement I was working alongside my supervisor in the Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation (AT&R) ward in the North Shore hospital in Auckland. This ward admitted elderly patients over the age of 65 years and many of which had experienced a decrease in their activities of daily living due to having a stroke. "Strokes, or brain attack, results from an interruption in the blood flow to the brain, either because a blood vessel is blocked or because of ruptures.The consequence is an inadequate supply of oxygen and nutrients to this vital organ. Even a brief disruption of this blood flow can lead to brain damage" (Atchison & Dirette, 2012, p.128).
Below are 5 videos that explain, demonstrate or provide personal experiences of the occurrence of a stroke:

This video covers the signs one should look for if they are uncertain that someone is having a stroke. It mentions 'FAST' which stands for Face, Arms, Speech and Time. It is important to be aware of the signs of a stroke, because it could save someones life.

The difference between Ischemic and Hemorrhagic strokes are identified in this video. Diagrams are drawn throughout to demonstrate what occurs in the blood vessels in the brain which eventually brings on a stroke.

This video discusses the link between migraines and strokes. The doctors in this video explain some of the statistics that are involved with this link and how to lower the risk of having a stroke such as quitting smoking and avoiding any extra estrogen. 

This story is about David Dow and how aphasia has affected him whilst growing up. Aphasia is "difficulty with expressive and/or receptive language" (Atchison & Dirette, 2010, p.348). 

This last video demonstrates an upper limb exercise which has been made into a game. This will allow the client to get their affected upper limbs moving aroung again. They will also enjoy what they're doing and feel a sense of achievement if they 'pass the level'.


Atchison, Ben J., and Diane K. Dirette. Conditions in Occupational Therapy: Effect on Occupational Performance. 4th ed. USA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012. Print.

Film Production Part One.

Whiteford (2000) defines occupational deprivation as “a state of prolonged preclusion from engagement in occupations of necessity and/or meaning due to factors which stand outside of the control of the individual” (p.201, cited in Christiansen & Townsend, 2010, p.305).

Our class was required to make a short film which focussed either on occupational justice, occupational disruption, occupational transition, or occupational deprivation. We were split into smaller groups to create this short film and our group decided to emphasize on occupational deprivation. Our film highlights the effects of occupational deprivation by illustrating how frustrating it can be regarding an individual in a wheelchair trying to access different areas around the Otago Polytechnic. When planning, we decided to demonstrate this by filming scenes concerning the access into toilets, access out of the building in the case of a fire emergency, access into a building with a lack of ramps, and access in the library. We edited what we had filmed into a black and white silent film to emphasize the extremities of occupational deprivation.


Christiansen, C. H., & Townsend, E. A. (2010). Occupational Deprivation: Understanding Limited Participation. Introduction to Occupation: The Art and Science of Living (2nd ed., p. 305). New Jersey: Pearson.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Occupational Engagement, Doing, Being, Becoming and Belonging.

My chosen occupation is art and craft. This occupation was focussed mainly in my fieldwork two placement at Sara Cohen – a school for students with special learning needs. Art can be defined as “the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance” (, 2012). Craft is the “skill in doing or making something, as in the arts; proficiency” (Answers, 2012). I chose this occupation because the students at Sara Cohen enjoyed engaging in it and I was involved by planning an arts and craft activity for the students to carry out.
Doing, being, belonging and becoming are all important when engaging in meaningful occupation. Wilcock (1998) states that doing is part of engaging in purposeful activities that bring a sense of self-worth, being is taking the time to reflect and appreciate, belonging is having social interaction and a sense of inclusion, and finally becoming is imaging a future of who or what we wish to become. Each of the images presented in my slideshow represent these concepts discussed above. Below is what each image refers to:
Image 1: The creation of a daisy chain.
Image 2: Hand-made cushions.
Image 3: The Mona Lisa.
Image 4: Mask made for a masquerade School Ball.
Image 5: Aborigine painting.
Image 6: Face paint for the Rugby World Cup 2011.
Image 7: Origami swans.
Image 8: Hand painting of an eagle.
Image 9: Body paint/art performance.
Image 10: Weaved flax flower.
Image 11: Scrapbooking.
Image 12: Neck tattoo.
Image 13: Winter snowman.
Image 14: Nail art.
Image 15: Fantasy sketching.
Image 16: Food art – carved apple butterfly.
Image 17: Soccer team magnets.
Image 18: Coffee creation.
Image 19: Graffiti art.
Image 20: Popsicle stick money box.
While putting my slideshow together, I was well aware of the ethical considerations. For those images that I found off the internet, I have referenced them correctly as the items are not my personal work. I found a few quotes to demonstrate what my occupation was and these were also referenced in the slideshow. Lastly, I used several of my own images so therefore there are no ethical implications regarding them as it was my personal photography.


Art. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2012, from

Craft. (n.d.). Answers. Retrieved April 28, 2012, from

Wilcock, A.A. (1998).  Reflections on doing, being becoming.  Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, 248-256.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Information Technology and Ethical Issues.

Humans have been using technology for a long time and it is forever improving over the years. Although there are often problems that arise with technology, there are many benefits of information technology to occupational therapy clients now days, therefore “occupational therapists can, and should, capitalise on the opportunities offered by mainstream technology and, while not exhaustive, it focusses on some therapeutic applications” (Verdonck and Ryan, 2008). 
In my first posting I will describe the definition of information technology and further discuss how this relates to our society and occupational therapy practice.

Information communications technology (ICT) “refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications. It is similar to Information technology (IT), but focusses primarily on communication technologies. This includes the internet, wireless networks, cell phones and other communication mediums” (, 2010). To me, this illustrates that ICT enables us to produce, develop and store information through technology. It is also another means of communicating with others through technology whether it is blogging, through Skype or texting.

Information and communications technology is growing fast and is very popular within our society. Firstly, cell phones. Approximately 20 years ago, it wasn’t very common to own a cell phone and even if you did come across someone that did own one, they would only use it to call others, as texting wasn’t available until the early to mid 90’s. Texting is still very common but it seems as though we are getting lazier as the years go by. With all of these new cell phones that are becoming available to us such as Apple iPhones and the Samsung Galaxy, the technology is upgrading too. Two of the more recent applications that have become available to us are ‘Swype’ text and ‘Voice to text’. Below is a video clip of what ‘Voice to text’ is and how it works.

ICT is not only a part of our everyday lives, but also among many celebrities’ and famous people all over the world. One person that has been recently announced to many of us is Joseph Kony. He has been abducting children to turn them into child sex slaves and soldiers since 1986 and the campaign wants to make him known to the world and eventually have him arrested. A short film was made and released on 5th March this year and by 30th March, the video had over 86 million views. This video was also posted onto facebook so potentially; all Facebook users would watch the video as well. This illustrates how much technology catches our attention and how it influences many people’s day to day lives. A link to the short film is below:

Other celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Esmee Denters have made themselves known to the world by posting videos on YouTube and being lucky enough to be found and signed by large records. It just goes to show what IT can really do to you, whether it is getting a few comments and views on a silly video of you and your friends, or becoming one of the biggest pop stars at present. Below is a link to Bieber’s video which caught a lot of attention several years back:

 I am fairly confident in using information technology but I must say that I wouldn't be the person to call in a technology crisis. I don’t own all the latest gadgets but I find myself using IT almost every day, particularly my laptop and cell phone. I use my laptop for searching information on the internet, completing work for my course on Moodle and keeping in contact with my friends and family over Facebook and Skype. Also, I generally use my cell phone to contact others and occasionally some photography. I therefore use IT to engage in many purposeful occupations including leisure, studying and socialising. Having all of these new technologies being available to us now, it definitely expands my use of IT because I’m always curious as to what it does and if it’s any better than what I’m currently using e.g. an iPhone or iPad. If IT wasn't part of my life at present I would find it very difficult and frustrating to engage in meaningful occupations.

In my fieldwork one placement, IT was used widely throughout the hospital for various reasons. One of the main uses for IT being used by occupational therapists was keeping a record of the clients’ notes and both sharing and accessing information from other health professionals. There could potentially be some major issues around the use of IT for purposes such as this as the clients’ information and notes could perhaps vanish in an instant if there were any technical difficulties that occurred with the computers.
“Technology can be used in occupational therapy in two ways. The first application is to improve a person’s functional independence, and the second is as a therapeutic tool to improve occupational performance and its related components (Petty, 2003 as cited in Verdonck and Ryan, 2008). Occupational therapists use IT as a tool of practice at present so I can only imagine that as technology improves, the use of it will become more common. Below is a video that demonstrates the use of technology as a tool of practice in occupational therapy:

A great understanding and use of IT will help us practicing occupational therapists in the future because we will be dealing with clients of various functional abilities. Us as Occupational therapists in the future need to move with the time and keep up to date with any improvements in technologies because it will be our ability to select a particular technology that best meets the client’s therapeutic needs.

There are always ethical implications that arise from capturing, sharing and transferring of information and images through devices such as cell phones and the internet. A couple of these are copyright and informed consent. Although systems such as the internet provides us with a wide variety of information and images, it is important to get the authors consent and reference the particular item rather than portraying that the item is yours. Likewise, it is also important to gain informed consent from the person involved before capturing, sharing and transferring the information/image for others to view.


ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) Definition. (n.d.). The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary. Retrieved April 25, 2012, from

KONY 2012 - YouTube . (n.d.).YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. . Retrieved April 27, 2012, from

Tapped-In: Voice-to-Text iPhone Apps - YouTube . (n.d.). YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. . Retrieved April 27, 2012, from

Technology and Occupational Therapy - YouTube . (n.d.). YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. . Retrieved April 27, 2012, from

Verdonck, M., & Ryan, S. (2008). Mainstream Technology as an Occupational Therapy Tool: Technophobe or Technogeek?.British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(6), 1.

With You - Chris Brown Cover - Justin singing - YouTube . (n.d.).YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. . Retrieved April 27, 2012, from