Friday, 4 May 2012

Linking to blogs of interest and exchanging comments

For this blog I have posted five links that I have found particularly interesting and are relevant to Occupational Therapy practice. The topics of interest I have chosen include ABC Therapeutics, Belong - OT, Stroke Recover Blog and Wiihab- Rehabilitative Therapy using the Wii, as well as personal blogs that all relate to OT practice across time. I have communicated with these blogs to ask questions, view other peoples opinions and share my experiences.

One blog that I have had communication with is Sarah Hewerdine's blog: 

Sarah, I found this blog to be of interest. I found reading through and looking at the videos of people who have experienced a stroke really fascinating and feel it has given me more of an insight in to what the two main types of strokes are and how a stroke impacts on a persons life. Do you know if there is a stroke rehabilitation unit in Dunedin?

Hi Victoria, I'm glad you liked it :). From some quick research into your question I've found that the Dunedin Hospital has an Acute Stroke Unit (ASU) which provides therapeutic intervention into those patients who have had a stroke. There are also a few elderly rest homes around Dunedin who have stroke rehabilitation in their 'areas of expertise'.

Monday, 30 April 2012

The internet and online communities

One area of OT practice that appealed to me was Depression.  For this tutorial I will outline three different online communities that offer support, networking for people with a mental illness in the form of Depression.  Occupational therapist's working in practice may recommend websites or online support groups for people who suffer from this illness.  The purpose of online sites are  for individuals to write about their experiences, challenges, emotions that happen in their daily life who are suffering from illnesses. The three online communities that I have found for Depression are the following:  Aware, The Low Down and Depression Understood. All provide an insight in to what depression is, how each site is interactive with users and what features sites have to offer users.

The first site is Aware: Depression support, information, education. This site is designed for youth and adults with depression. It provides information on what depression is, offers online support groups, this works as it gives users a safe space where they can talk through their specific conditions, learn coping skills from others and explore the options available to them. Each session opens at a specified time, is facilitated by a trained Aware facilitator and is attended by up to 10 users of the service, sessions last approx 90 minutes.  Other supports that Aware offers are face to face depression support groups, email support service and a helpline that is available for 365 days of the year. Provides service for individuals who are experiencing mild to moderate depression, as well as friends/ family who are concerned for the loved one. This site is very easy to navigate your way through as how can we help is broken in to three subheadings: Support, information and education, with what the site has to offer listed below each heading. 

The Low down is a site that is designed specifically for youth with depression, to understand what they are experiencing and different ways/ strategies to cope with their condition. This site provides information about depression, contains a chat service and a knowledge forum, self tests and music to encourage user interaction. The user has a choice of five navigators to help guide the user through the site. The navigator vary from TV presenters to singers. When selecting a navigator the user has the option of having audio or non audio. On clicking on a navigator the user is introduced to the site and is given an insight onto their navigators  experience with depression, and users can contribute through the use of a chat tool bar. 

Depression Understood, offers many ways in which like minded people can communicate with each other and offer peer support to one another if people are feeling low, depressed, anxious or experiencing moods. This website is easy to navigate your way around and access all the services offered. This website offers many ways for a person to communicate your feelings to others via a website. There is also the opportunity to talk to others via the live depression chat rooms which are open 24/7, the depression forum where they can leave messages for others to respond to, and they could even start writing their own blog. If the individual is more artistic inclined they can express their artwork using the media gallery. This website accommodates for all individuals as people have their own way of expressing themselves. On this website people can learn more about a specific health concern as there are articles available, communicating to others can offer a person an insight into why they feel as they do, and discover possible ways to change their life.
In my opinion people choose to contribute to these different online communities to feel like they are not alone in their situation as it provides them with a chance to reach out to others who understand what they are going though, and ask questions knowing that will be answered truthfully, from an helpful source. Online sites for individuals are rapidly increasing as many sites are anonymous and therefore questions may be easier to ask online than face to face with a health professional. Online sites offer individuals a place to express feelings in an environment, that others can not judge them.
Information on these sites can be shared one way if information is presented in a way that the user cannot interact only read information and not voice their opinions or ask questions. This is more so common for sites where information is arranged in a way that is educational and informative, however does not provide any form of interaction. Discussion and chat forums are great as the user can contribute their opinions or experiences and will receive feedback. 

All these online communities address the concept of occupational justice Christiansen & Townsend (2010) refers to the resources that are available for one to satisfy personal needs and citizenship through occupation. It is through the use of these interactive sites that allows for users to express their feelings, needs and queries through discussion, online chat forums or helplines where they will be offered support and advice from others. Another concept that relates to these communities is occupational transition according to Christiansen & Townsend (2010) can be defined as a major change in the occupational repertoire of a person in which one or several occupations change or are replaced with others. An individual experiencing depression their life will have been turned upside down and unsure what to do and how to get through their day. Through the use of these sites it provides them with ways to cope, manage and get through depression. These sites also are aimed to help provide tips and mechanisms as an effective tool to encourage positive participation in occupations that are of interest to the user and to improve their mental health. 

Online communities have a number of benefits, however there may be ethical considerations to take into account when using and posting in the online communities. For websites such as the ones I have discussed some require users to make an account in order to post and be active. This is great in the sense that these sites are anonymous and the users name or personal details are not shown for other users to see as this is essential in ensuring users safety and provides security for users. There are negative aspects and ethical issues around online communities these include, individuals who decide to abuse the purpose of the online sites by posting inappropriate messages or irrelevant information that may be considered offensive to others. That is not the case as these sites are designed to monitor users and if any complaints or reports have arisen members can block them and this could result in their membership privileges being removed so they can no longer access the site.

I believe online communities are great as they are anonymous so you will not be judged on anything you post. They provide useful information and can be easily accessed anywhere in the world at just the click of a button. Within the online communities it gives you the option if you would like to join and become a regular and become active within the website, or you can just observe and take all the information in it really depends on the individual and that's the great thing about them they accommodate for all users. However in saying they are great they do have their downfalls as I mentioned before around inappropriate and irrelevant content shared could be untrustworthy or invalid.  For people using the sites there is the feeling of becoming too reliant on the online sites that an individual begins to isolate themselves from real life interactions and gets caught up in their own online world.

Christiansen, C.H., & Townsend, E.A. (2010). Introduction to occupation: The art and
        science of living (2nd ed.). New Jersey, Upper Saddle River. USA: Pearson
        Education, Inc.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Video Production Part Two

Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation

My fieldwork one placement was in Brain Injury Rehabilitation. The first few days on placement I was overwhelmed at the seriousness of some of the clients brain injuries, but over time I adjusted and learnt alot about each condition as no two brain injuries were the same. The main two reasons clients were transferred to the rehabilitation unit was either for serious strokes or car crashes. The ages varied from 18 years to 80 years. Occupational therapists work alongside with physiotherapists, speech language therapists, clinical psychologists and nurses to help clients with their rehabilitation, the ultimate goal that all the therapists aim for is getting the client back to independence.
I have selected some videos from youtube that will help explain and demonstrate what interventions occupational therapists to help clients with the rehabilitation process.

Online videos are a useful source of information to help explain and demonstrate personal experiences had by different people whom have had a traumatic brain injury and the occupational transitions. These video resources provide an insight of what it is like for people to go through a traumatic brain injury and as a result impacted on a person's life.

The first video is about the basic facts of a traumatic brain injury, facts about the common causes of a brain injury, the symptoms and how it completely changes a persons life and how emotionally difficult it is for the patient. This is a useful video as it gives people an insight in to what traumatic brain injury is. I found this video to be very educational and interesting as on my placement I learnt alot about traumatic brain injury and how it impacts on a persons life and their family.

This video I have chosen is about Adam's story as he relearns to walk and talk again after suffering a severe traumatic brain injury. Adam was in a car accident, the doctors said his initial prognosis was inoperable as the brain damage was severe and nothing could be done. The clip shows interventions that the MDT have used to get Adam back to walking and talking.

This video is about Lyn, prior to her injury she was an active public figure in her community and lead a busy life. Lyn had a car crash and the injuries were severe, doctors unsure if she would survive and was in a coma for six weeks. Having a traumatic brain injury affects a person physically and mentally. The person has to re learn to walk, talk, read, focus, short term memory affected as their life has changed completely. Having a great support network is key for recovery.

This video is about Helen, prior to her injury loved running, entertaining and cooking for people. Her life changed once she had a traumatic brain injury whilst hiking. Discusses the importance of an occupational therapist helping a person get back to life and giving back their independence. This video shows some snippets of some of the interventions O.T's use on TBI patients.
This video reminded me of some of the activities I witnessed on placement that the O.T would use for a patients recovery.

This video is a day in the life of George, he discusses and brings awareness to people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries and how society perceives them. Friends will either stay and support or will disappear and can lead to isolation for the person. Life skills are re developed for example a trip to the supermarket, the person learns to scan products and use skills that the occupational therapist would have taught the person, as this has a huge impact on their life.
Watching this clip is identical to one of the sessions my supervisor and I did which involved walking to the supermarket and purchasing some items with a client. I found it really interesting to observe the client to how they would act, initiate and respond to tasks.

References: (2008). Basic facts about traumatic Brain Injury. Retrieved 20th April 2012 from: (2010). Adam's Story: Walking & Talking after a Traumatic Brain Injury. Retrieved 20th April 2012 from: (2009). Brain Injury Patient finds life after crash at national rehabilitation hospital. Retrieved 20th April 2012 from: (2010). Occupational therapy and Brain Injury - Helen's Story. Retrieved 20th April 2012 from: (2010). My New Life- Part 2. Retrieved 20th April 2012 from :

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Video Production Part One


This one minute film has a theme of life transitions centered around the different life stages through out a persons life. These included kindergarten, primary school, high school, university, work force and retirement.

The production crew consisted of Madison, Rachel, Sarah, Jen, Charlotte and myself. In class time we were given two hours to complete both filming and editing the film. The task had been set in a tutorial two weeks prior to filming, groups were formed and the planning stages began. For planning our group had broken each life transition down, this gave us a great starting point and we quickly sketched out what scenes we would be shooting to portray life transitions. All group members help contribute with the props needed. The location of the film was on the Otago Polytechnic grounds. The actual shoot went smoothly, however we had a little technical glitch when transferring the footage to the computer to begin editing as in the process it deleted two of the earlier scenes shot, but it was no issue for us to go back and re film it. Maddy and Charlotte did a great job of editing the film and an excellent result at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and learnt much about video production as this was my first exposure to this media. I would like to thank my group and James for helping with the editing!. 

See the attached film...

Assistive Technology

Assistive or Adaptive Technology commonly refers to "products, devices or equipment, whether acquired commercially, modified or customized, that are used to maintain, increase or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities"(Rehab tool, 2012). My understanding of assistive technology are the products used which enable people with disabilities to achieve communication, education, work and daily living tasks. According to Rehab Tool, 2012 assistive technology devices can improve anything from physical or mental functioning to help improve a person's capacity to learn and enhance independence and the quality of a person's life.

One piece of assistive technology that Dave talked about in the tutorial was the 'talking photo album'. When I first saw this I was intrigued as to how this would work and be of benefit to a person with a disability. I will briefly describe what the 'talking photo album' is. The size of the photo album is A5, but opens up to an A4 size and costs around $50.00 from Jaycar. The function of the photo album was to document any significant things the service user did from school that day and week with a pre recorded message which they take home. It's designed as a good way for teachers and parents to communicate between school and home. It works by the service user pressing a button on each page and speaking in to a small voice recorder to record a message and on that page they would have a photo as visual evidence of what the service user did that day. The photo album has up to 100 minutes of recording and contains 20 doubled sided pages with built in speakers.

I have posted a video below to describe ways in which people can use and benefit from the talking photo album. This equipment relates to occupational justice, according to (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010) occupational justice means that we look at diverse occupational needs, strengths and potential of individuals and groups, while at the same time considering issues of rights, fairness, empowerment and enablement of occupational opportunities. This photo diary is occupational justice as it provides meaningful opportunities for disabled people to have social interaction with others.

Here is a youtube clip of the 'talking photo album' and the benefits.

Christiansen, C.H., & Townsend, E.A. (2010). Introduction to occupation: The art and
        science of living (2nd ed.). New Jersey, Upper Saddle River. USA: Pearson
        Education, Inc.
Rehab tool. (2012). What is assistive technology. Retrieved from
YouTube. (2012). Talking photo album. Retrieved from http:

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Occupational Engagement

This powerpoint had to link people playing games through doing, being, belonging and becoming in an occupation. I thought it would be a good idea to introduce my chosen occupation which is Games. My fieldwork two placement was in a facility where service users had mental and physical disabilities. Whilst on my placement I participated and organised games for the service users at the facility. Some examples of the games I organised were the parachute game, housie, a series of ball and co-ordination games. With these games I would try to motivate and involve all the service users by getting them participating and socialising with other service users and enjoying themselves.

One concept is doing which includes "purposeful, goal orientated activities, doing has been the traditional pre occupation of occupational therapy" (Hammell, 2004, p. 301). In my powerpoint I have used images which represent this concept are 3, 4, 13 and 16. Many people find games purposeful, meaningful and people set out goals they want to achieve whilst playing them. Many find games fun, challenging, enjoyable and being valued by your peers, well I personally do. Games also express meaning through 'doing' and you can explore new opportunities.

The next concept is Being this is "time taken to reflect be introspective or meditative" (Hammell, 2004, p. 301). Being can also take place in the form of arts, music, nature and being valued by people. Images I have chosen represent this concept are 1, 5, 11 and 12. People love feeling involved and participating in activities. Being is also a time for people to reflect and be themselves as they experience life by getting amongst the games and have fun.

The next concept is Become this is "envisioning a future self, who or what a person wishes to become through development of self and learning" (Hammell, 2004, p. 302). Images that I have chosen that represent this concept well are 4, 9, 10, 13 and 19. People engage themselves in various activities in this case games so they can gain new experiences, learn new skills and discover more about themselves.

The last concept I will discuss is Belonging this is "social interaction, mutual support and friendship, sense of being included to occupational performance and life satisfaction" (Hammell, 2004, p. 302). Images that I have used to represent this concept include 1, 5, 6, 8, 14, 15 and 18. I personally believe that belonging is the most important concept as through interaction with other people you learn and develop new skills, friendships, memories and you have a great time. Also brings people together and opportunities given.

The ethical considerations I have made in relation to the images I have chosen include, I have gained informed consent from all people pictured in my images. I have referenced any online sources that I have used and have remained fully confidential to the mental health setting I had placement as I have provided no names or places. Another issue is the limited control over who sees and uses photographs once they have been placed on the internet. This raises concerning issues who do we have responsibility to and who is accountable. 


Hammell, K. (2004). Dimensions of meaning in the occupations of daily life. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 300 - 302.