Thursday, 17 May 2012

Tutorial Eight: Assistive Technology

Assistive technology can be defined as “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 individuals with disabilities” (States Act, as cited in Cook & Hussey, 1995). I think that assistive technology is any type of technology that can assist an individual to participate and engage in occupation. 

There is a very wide range of assistive technologies out there in the world today, so I have chosen to talk about the iPad 2, as I think it is something that has been able to help many individuals who have disabilities. The Apple iPad is a very useful tool in practice for Occupational Therapists. It is quite reasonable, easy to store, and has many different functions and apps. 

Here is the link to the Apple iPad website for more information on size, cost and functions of the iPad

The Apple iPad 2 is a piece of technology, like a lap top but with only one half, that is very easily portable, can connect to wireless internet, and can have many apps that can allow individuals to do many different things. The Apple iPad 2 is 7.31 inches x 9.50 inches and 0.34 inches thick. It weighs approximately 601grams, and has a storage capacity of 16GB (Apple, 2012). It is very unique in the way that it can be tailored to suit your own use and what you will be using it for. Cost of the iPad 2 can range from around $500 - $800 (Apple, 2012). 

Here is the link to the Apple iPad website for more information on size, cost and functions of the iPad:

Some of its main functions and built in apps include: camera, email, use of internet (wireless), maps, face time, iBooks and many many more. From the basic apps you are then able to expand on these by getting any kind of apps you require. As an OT this can very much be beneficial to clients, as there are apps out there now that can enable non-verbal individuals to communicate. 

The AutismXpress is “designed to encourage people with autism to recognizes and express their emotions through its fun and easy to use interface.” (Apple, 2012). The link below will take you to the app store where you can see some screen shots of this app. 

Below is a video of what the iPad can help individuals achieve:

With more and more apps being developed all the time this is only increasing the use of the iPad for assistive technology purposes. In class we were able to use the iPad as a communicator to make a smoothie as we were supposed to be 'non-verbal' communicators. This was a very useful task as it gave us insight into what it would really be like to not be able to communicate verbally. It also gave me a great feeling to think that there is apps out there that provide peoples only means of communication for them. I am not great with technology myself so I don't know a whole lot about iPad's but I am beginning to learn more about them and I am looking forward to be able to use great assistive technologies such as the iPad in my future practice as an Occupational Therapist. 


Apple. (2012). iPad. Retrieved from: 

Cook, A. M., & Hussey, S. M. (1995). Assistive technologies: Principles and practice. Missouri: Mosby.

Tutorial Seven: Linking to Blogs of Interest and Exchanging Comments

For the purpose of this tutorial task I have searched blogging sites to find blogs that are of interest to me as an Occupational Therapy student.Such as Occupational Therapy Blogs.

An example of where I have commented and gotten feedback from another blog is shown below:


  1. Hi Sophie, I really like the videos that you posted about Autism. The "fixing" Autism was one of my favourites, I found it very inspiring. Would working with children with Autism be one of the things you would like to do in when you become an Occupational Therapist?
  2. Hi Brylee,
    Thanks for your feedback. Its my favourite video too. Must have taken that man a long time to make. Its a great way to make people aware of Autism. Yep I would love to work with children with Autism. I am looking forward to being full qualified so that I can research more about Autism and work closely with children with Autism and their families.

Tutorial Six: The Internet and Online Communities

For this post I am going to provide a brief description of three online communities that are out there for stroke victims. These are online communities that will help with support of stroke victims and their families.

The first online community is the Stroke Foundation New Zealand. It is a web site for individuals who have experienced a stroke to be able to go to and find out information, such as resources that could provide them with information about strokes. It also gives you information on how to contact them for help. The site is quite interactive as you can look at all the different information and pop up windows that they have to offer; however there are no interactive activities etc. People can contribute to the site as they have a ‘Help Us’ section where people can go and donate, fundraise, or volunteer. As I have already said the web site enables you to contact the stroke foundation for help, they have an info help line, and also ways to contact help in your region.

The second online community is a Stroke Care website by St George’s University of London. It is a website that gives you links to a number of other websites, all based on stroke. Including other online communities such as the Stroke Association. The site does not have any interactive activities but it is interactive in the way that you can just click on a link and it will take you straight to the website. You can contact the people who run the site by emailing them, but apart from that it is very much a one-way thing where they contribute but you don’t.

The third online community is the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This site gives you information first of all of what a stroke is, how common it is etc. It then gives you information on the effects and stroke can have and the rehabilitation process that occurs after having a stroke. This online community also gives you links to other resources that may be useful to you. There is also a lot more added information on this site, but not all of it is specific to stroke. The purpose of this site is to provide you with information on the condition of a stroke. As far as I can tell there is not really any way that you yourself can contribute to the site, it is more them contributing to the site for your purposes.

When being a part of an online community there are always ethical issues to consider and that may arise. Informed consent and copyright are two of the main ethical issues that come to mind when I think of online communities. As anyone is able to discuss things via the Internet and web pages it is important that they have gained informed consent from the person in which they are sharing information about. With my online communities I found, not just anyone could post anything on the pages. Each of the web sites had other ways that you could contact the people running the website and say what you wanted to say. Also the information that is on the website has been copyrighted. So that makes it important when using information that is taken straight from the website that it is properly referenced. This will hopefully stop most of the copyright ethical issues that may arise.

The benefits of these online communities include:
·      A lot of knowledge provided around stroke, what it is, what are the symptoms of stroke etc.
·      Extra links provided that will give you further information or support the information that site is giving you.
·      Means to contact the people who run the site with comments.
·      Also being able to contact the Stroke Foundation for help.

The limitations of there online communities include:
·      People who don’t have access to a computer will not be able to take part in these online communities.
·      People who are not very good with technology or don’t know how to navigate their way around websites may struggle to use these online communities.
·      There is a lack of interactive activities on these websites, a lot of just reading information and calling/contacting for help if you need to. 

Tutorial Five: Video Production Sessions

Stroke is topic within the Occupational Therapy practice area and is a topic of interest for me. I have worked with a few clients on my first fieldwork experience that have had strokes and I found this to be very interesting and helped widen my knowledge about strokes. I am really looking forward to working with individuals who have suffered from a stroke in future placements or future practice. Below I have chosen five videos about Stroke that I found very interesting. I chose 5 very different videos so that those reading could expand their knowledge base about Stroke and gain a better understanding. These videos will help to explain what a stroke is, some of the effects of a stroke, and some symptoms of a stroke. They will also show a victim who has gone through an intense rehabilitation to recover from her stroke, and shows us some amazing technology that will allow stroke victims to do things they previously couldn’t. 

This first video is an animation that provides a brief overview of what a stroke is, and what is be happening in the brain when a stroke occurs.

This second video is about some of the effects that may come from having a stroke.

The next video outlines some of the symptoms that could occur when having a stroke.

This next video is about an individual who has suffered from a stroke, and recovered.

This last video is about stroke victims who are paralyzed being able to move a robotic arm with only their thoughts.


Youtube. (2012). Stroke animation video. Retrieved from:

Youtube. (2012). Effects of stroke (stroke recovery #1). Retrieved from:

Youtube. (2012). Signs and symptoms of a stroke. Retrieved from:

Youtube. (2012). Recovery from a stroke: Valerie’s story. Retrieved from:

Youtube. (2012). Stroke victims move robot arm with thoughts. Retrieved from:

Tutorial Four: Video Production Session

Video: ‘Occupational Transition to Dunedin’

The task that we had to complete was to produce a one-minute video on occupational justice, occupational disruption, occupational transition or occupational deprivation. Our group chose to do occupational transition. We all thought that it would be a good idea as it is quite a significant transition in all of our lives. We also all thought we had quite similar transitions from our hometowns to Dunedin. Apart from me, since Dunedin is my hometown, so I didn’t have to make much of a move. Although I have gone flatting since I have been studying and this has been quite a transition for me. We discussed ideas about how we could show our stories of coming to Dunedin. And came up with the idea of using the theme ‘occupational transition’ to show the different transitions we all experienced. We decided that we would have one shot of each of us holding two pieces of paper (one under the other), the first piece would say what we used to be like or experience in our home town, this would then be dropped and the second one would be reviled to say something that represents us now as students in Dunedin. Before we started filming we were able to draw up a storyboard of how the shots of the video would go. This then aided us when it came to the filming of the video.

Occupational Transition is where we as humans change and make new transitions through various life stages. Christiansen & Townsend (2011) define occupational transitions as “Circumstances creating a change in the nature or type of occupational engagement pursued by or available to an individual. Such transitions may be the result of choice, changes in physical or mental status, life transitions, geographical change, geopolitical strife, or other factors. (p.421). So as you can see, the transition of going from high school into tertiary studies, moving from your home town to the place you are going to study, falls right within the definition of ‘occupational transition’.

Christiansen, C. H. & Townsend, E. A. (2011). Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc