January 28, 2012

Books for Occupational Therapists and OT Students
*Adapted from www.goodreads.com


­­­­Left Neglected 



January 23, 2012

Free Rehabilitation Screenings - Bryson City, NC

MedWest Health System is sponsoring the following free screenings in February at MedWest-Swain Rehabilitation Services on the MedWest-Swain campus in Bryson City, NC:

·Feb. 6: Balance screening by Robyn Duncan, PT, from 9-10 a.m.

·Feb. 15: Shoulder pain screening by Gabe Peterson, PT, from 2-3 p.m.

Sign up for a screening by calling (828) 488-4009 and find out more details about the screenings at www.medwesthealth.org.

January 21, 2012

End to the Autism Epidemic....?

The DSM has been revised many times in the past, but never has it stirred up much controversy than it has now, with the proposed change in the definition and diagnosis criteria for Autism.

The APA is currently completing work on the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which will be published in 2013. The DSM is the standard reference that healthcare providers use to diagnose mental and behavioral conditions. As such, it influences availability of treatments as well as insurance coverage.

Under the current definition, a person can qualify for an ASD diagnosis by exhibiting at least 6 of 12 behaviors that include deficits in social interaction, communication or repetitive behaviors. Under the proposed definition, the person would have to exhibit three deficits in social interaction and communication and at least two repetitive behaviors. The APA has also proposed that a new category be added to the DSM – Social Communication Disorder. This would allow for a diagnosis of disability in social communication without the presence of repetitive behavior.

What does this mean for Occupational therapists? How will this affect the services we provide? While it seems that the proposed change is rationalized by scientific trials, it is concerning the effects it will have on access to services for persons who suffer from autistic symptoms. If a child who is already diagnosed were to be reassessed using the new system and, if they did not qualify for an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) the second time around, could this affect their eligibility for future services? What if a child is improving through intensive therapies, but still needs the services, would he or she be able to retain them? Families are struggling to get services as it is and with this new system, it would be disheartening to learn that their child will no longer be entitled to receive occupational therapy and/or speech therapy, services that have proven time and again to make significant improvements in children and adults with autism. Evidence based research supports descriptions in the literature regarding the behavioral changes that children with autism can make when participating in intervention.

Likewise, “the scientific rationale behind the changes actually are quite solid. The different distinctions among the subtypes (Autism, PDD-NOS, Asperger Syndrome, and so on) don’t map onto different causes or different treatment approaches. For example, a very similar treatment approach would likely be used for (someone) who has Asperger syndrome, as would be used for a child with high functioning autism. The only distinction between Asperger syndrome and High Functioning Autism in the current system has to do with how much speech the child had by 3 years of age. It has been difficult for even expert clinicians to make reliable distinctions among the subtypes because these distinctions rely on people’s recollection of very early history. So, it does make sense to use a broad category – ASD. In addition, for each person, the doctor will need to describe the severity of symptoms, presence, and degree of intellectual and language disability, and other factors, such as presence of medical conditions (e.g. GI distress) and genetic etiology (e.g. fragile X). (http://blog.autismspeaks.org).

All in all, parents, caregivers and special education advocates must become knowledgeable about the proposed diagnostic revisions for Autism Spectrum Disorder and the possible effects on students receiving autism related services. Lee Anne Owens (www.specialeducationadvisor.com) suggests, “It is imperative that attention is given to the APA’s development of ASD secondary feature definitions and the specific qualifiers that will be attached to an autism diagnosis as well. Becoming informed and educated about these changes and additions is necessary in order to be your student’s best, most effective educational and medical advocate.” (www.specialeducationadvisor.com).
For more information of the proposed DSM 5 revision on ASD, please look at the links below:
·      http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/12-03%20Autism%20Spectrum%20Disorders%20-%20DSM5.pdf (News Release on Proposed Criteria for ASD)

http://blog.autismspeaks.org/2012/01/20/chat-dsm5/ (LIVE Chat with Geri Dawson, PhD & Lisa Goring. Analyzing DSM-5)

**Credit for references go to:
· Case-Smith, J., Bryan, T. (1999). The effects of occupational therapy with sensory integration emphasis on preschool-age children with autism. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 53(5): 489-97.
· www.specialeducationadvisor.com
· http://blog.autismspeaks.org

January 18, 2012

Fieldwork Survival Guide, as per AOTA

Prior to starting my Level II fieldwork I had looked through this manual and absorbed every tip and suggestion I possibly could. This helped me tremendously as I was prepared to take on any challenge provided by my supervisor. I made sure to research the site, diagnoses, interventions (with back-up plans), and appropriate assessments before my first day. 

Some things I would suggest you definitely brush up on:
-Transfer techniques
-Range of Motion and MMT
-Know how to write Progress Notes (SOAP notes)! and
-GOALS (SMART, RHUMBA, FEAST..whichever you've learned)

Most importantly, ASK QUESTIONS! Show your supervisor you care and are interested. INITIATE!

*For the AOTA Fieldwork Survival Guide, follow the link below.

(www.aota.org, 2006).

Useful OT Resources, and more..

Includes clinical factsheets and information on scholarships, research and the Occupational Therapy Journal of Research.

a free database of systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials relevant to occupational therapy and evidence-based practice.

US biweekly news magazine for Occupational Therapists

Assessment tools to provide an initial estimate of cognitive function

Features training, therapists listing and other resources on Sensory Integration.

Canadian site run by CAOT mainly for non-OTs, but with some articles giving an overview of the profession and careers information.

New site with original content including case studies, etc.

The main AMPS site, including a listserv, FAQ, software and references.

Includes a dedicated OT portal with useful links to a variety of resources including evidence based medicine, anatomy, medical textbooks and much more.

Includes case studies and message board (USA)

Includes case studies, research reviews and critical reviews. 

Part of the Campaign for Greener Healthcare. 

One-stop-shop for OTs responding to the occupational needs of refugees. Information, inspiration, community, opportunities to participate and more.

"The purpose of the Clearinghouse is to maintain a library of published and unpublished materials and to disseminate information related to the Model of Human Occupation" Includes link to MOHO listserv.

Anon-profit making organisation that specialises in the treatment of cerebral palsy and acquired neurological conditions.

Comprehensive and detailed description of an Occupational Therapy smoking cessation programme.

A listing of US OT educational programmes.


Provides leadership and support for a comprehensive program of research related to the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities.

CDC′s Mission is to collaborate to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health – through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats. http://www.cdc.gov/

Providing National and World Leadership to Prevent Workplace Illnesses and Injuries

The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

The mission of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) is to promote the health of babies, children and adults and enhance the potential for full, productive living.

Includes an introduction to Occupational Science, resources and references.

Includes searchable library of interdisciplinary articles on occupation, with references and abstracts.

Searchable by author, title and abstract. Abstracts available but full text only for subscribers.

Charities consortium of users of Prosthetics, Orthotics, Wheelchairs, and Environmental Controls.

Previously known as Medical Devices Agency. Government body to regulate medical devices -- includes safety reports and hazard notices online.

"The Centre for Accessible Environments is committed to the provision of buildings and places which are accessible to all users, including disabled and older people, and to the enhancement of quality in design. It is a technical information training and consultancy resource for the construction industry, providers of goods and services, the care professions and disabled people."

Masses of information about independent living equipment, including factsheets and links to equipment suppliers. Independent, impartial and reliable.

Abledata (USA)
Database of assistive technology. Includes useful fact sheets that may assist you in problem solving. Similar to Disabled Living Foundation.

General ergonomics-related information.

Skeletal Muscles of the Human Body.

Macabre but informative site on anatomy. MRI scans of human corpses.  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/visible/visible_human.html

University of Washington 

LD Online Learning Disabilities site

US site giving general cancer related information.

Arthiritis Foundation:
The Arthiritis Foundation is the national not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for those affected by arthritis. Founded in 1948, the Arthritis Foundation is the only national voluntary health agency seeking the causes, cures, preventions, and treatments for the more than 100 forms of arthritis.

Accessible design resources. (US site)

Accessible design resources. (US site)

January 17, 2012

Now, what is Occupational Therapy, really?

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.” ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi
Most people are familiar with the abbreviation of "OT", but what is occupational therapy really? I’ve heard people answer, “Well, it goes hand-in-hand with Physical Therapy” or “We work with children with Autism.” Most Occupational Therapists stumble upon words trying to explain their profession. Yes, we work with children on the spectrum. Yes, our work is characteristic to that of the scope of Physical Therapy. But what sets Occupational Therapy apart from Physical Therapy is that the core of occupational therapy as a profession is held together by the concept of occupation; Occupation, or any activity, which is meaningful, or necessary, to an individual to live a full, independent life. It is an Occupational Therapy mantra that occupation can facilitate the restoration of function. Henceforth, OTs use "functional" activities to achieve the best patient outcome. As per the American Occupational Therapy Association, “Occupational Therapy allows patients to carry out the job of living” (www.aota.org, 2006). It addresses the physical, cognitive, psychosocial, sensory, and other aspects of performance in a variety of contexts to support engagement in everyday life activities that affect health, well-being, and quality of life” (AOTA, 2004a). In short, OTs help the patient optimize their independence and ability to accomplish daily activities after an injury has occurred by focusing on their life skills and functional abilities.
This still may not be so concise when trying to explain what OTs really do. Alas, this blog. As a second year occupational therapy student, I have encountered many paraprofessionals who are not familiar with occupational therapy philosophy or intervention. Occupational therapy has been historically disempowered due to ambiguity of the public’s understanding of our services and our value. Through this blog, I aim to advocate for the profession by bringing to light the expansive scope of Occupational Therapy and to promote widespread understanding of it’s value to society’s health and wellness.
*For more info please read,  “What is Occupational Therapy?” According to the American Occupational Therapy Association. http://www.aota.org/Consumers.aspx