Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Tutorial Eight: Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology, what is it? Cook and Hussey (1995, p.5) define an assistive technology device 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". 

What is that in simpler terms? An assistive technology device is an item used to assist somebody in a task and make it easier for them to carry out. 

What does the first definition cover? According to Cook and Hussey (1995, p.6) it firstly includes "commercial, modified, and customized devices". Second, it emphasizes the "functional capabilities of individual with disabilities. Finally by looking at the individual it focuses on the importance of "treating each application of technology as a unique circumstance".

In other words it focuses on the device and the individual working together, and does not refer to individuals with disabilities by what they cannot do but focuses on improving what they can do.

Recently I was privileged to attend an assistive technology workshop for class, held by a representative from the wonderful Star Mobility (http://www.starmobility.co.nz/). Within this session we were presented with a number of marvelous assistive devices and were informed of their many practical uses. Even though I was interested by all of the items, I must exercise some restraint, and only speak about one of them in this post.

Today dear readers, I'm going to take you on a journey into the wonderful world of "TALKING TINS". That is right, you heard correctly, talking tins. No I am not in some magical Disney movie where kitchen appliances and food items can talk, this is real life. Hard to believe, I know, but by the end of this post, you shall be a believer.

These.....are talking tins.

This picture is from a very useful site http://www.talkingproducts.co.uk/talk_pod.htm

Talking tins are voice recording devices and can sit on cans via the magnet that is inserted inside. Individuals with a visual impairment can benefit most from these devices as at it can help them identify objects of a similar shape, by re-recording on the talking tin what food item it is. This can help them to remain more independent in the kitchen. Adapters are available to purchase that will enable these talking tins to be used on other house hold items such as cleaning bottles and containers. 

The price for the talking tins pictured above is approximately $35 each, but are usually sold in packs of three. A pack of three talking tins and associated accessories can be bought from Star Educational (http://www.star-educational.co.nz/view_details.php?detail=true&cat=21&subcat=&id=46) for $106. These featured talking tins are able to record up to 30 seconds of  multiple messages, that can be played back sequentially through the two record buttons and the play button. These talking tins are re-recordable, reusable and the batteries are easy to replace. The size of these talking tins is 77mm x 22mm and should be able to fit any standard store bought tin. They are also designed in a way that still enables the tins to be stacked on top of each other for storage purposes.
So as previously mentioned it can help people with visual deficits identify food and other household items, but it has also been suggested that this particular talking tin would be useful for someone with a short term memory deficit because of the sequential message playback, to help remind them of the things they need to do.
The following are some helpful links about talking tins.

This is a link to a PDF that outlines the use and features of a talking tin and instructions on how to record and change the batteries: http://www.talkingproducts.co.uk/pdf/talking_tins.pdf
Here is another helpful link from the same company (located in the UK): http://www.talkingproducts.co.uk/talking_tins_visual_impairment.htm
Here is a blog that is around the use of adaptive switches used for gaming; talking tins are mentioned at the bottom of the this blog: http://switchgaming.blogspot.com/2008_07_01_archive.html

This is a link to a company that has developed an activity book to allow users to get the most out of talking tins: http://www.sitech.co.nz/product_details/c/280/p/203

This website is extremely interesting. It discusses the possible applications of talking tins within a school environment and the benefits that can come from it: http://www.taglearning.com/taglearning/talking-tins-40-second-digital-clip-recording.html

This is a link to the only video I could find of talking tins being used on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUt0KBq0yP4


Cook, A. M., & Hussey, S. M. (1996). Assistive technologies: Principles and practice. USA: Mosby.

Tutorial Seven: Linking to Blogs of Interest and Exchanging Comments

For this tutorial I had to make a blog feed to 5 chosen blogs as can be seen at the top right of my blog.

We were also required to post comments on other blogs and thus I left a comment on the group video posted on Erin's blog (See my links list of OT student blogs). Below is some evidence of this.

I too have had comments on some of my postings, and if you don't believe me here is some evidence.

This one from a fellow student and blogger:

And this one from my lecturer:

Monday, 9 May 2011

Tutorial Six: The Internet and Online Communities

Building on from the previous posts here are some hyperlinks to three relevant online communities:

Care Cure Community:

Alzheimer's Association Online Community:  

CampbellTeaching (YouTube):

A brief description of each community:

Care Cure Community is on online forum specifically to do with spinal cord injuries. They have a number of forums that the public can contribute to that cover a number of subjects within the cares and cures for a person with a SCI. SCI nurses contribute to these forums to answer the questions from the public and provide information to people about the best care to give if you are caring for a person with a SCI and also the latest in the research for a cure. The public are also able to ask questions, answer questions, or share and discuss a relevant piece of information. Within the cares category is a forum set up specifically focusing on pressure areas. 

How interactive is this site? This site is very interactive with many people asking questions, answering questions and sharing relevant and helpful information.
How can people contribute? People can contribute by starting or participating in a discussion thread. Members who join are able to ask any question relevant to the thread topic, leaving other members and the medical members to answer the questions and provide advice.
What do they contribute?  As mentioned they can contribute questions and answers, links to relevant information and share personal experiences of either having or caring for someone who has a pressure sore.
Example of the topics being discussed: This is an example of an online member who suffers from a SCI. The members introduces their current experience of a developing pressure sore and asks for some clarification as to what to do. The post is answered by a SCI nurse that is a moderator for the forum.

Excerpt from http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?t=82229

Alzheimer's Association Online Community is also a public online forum that specifically focuses on topics related to Alzheimer's disease. Within this, a caregivers forum has been established and a specific thread of pressure ulcer's. This is a place where caregivers can ask questions, answer questions, share information or share their personal experiences of pressure ulcer's developing on individuals with Alzheimer's.

How interactive is this site? This site is also very active with members of the forum making regular posts that consist of questions, answers, information, links to relevant articles and sites and relevant personal experiences.
How can people contribute? Members can contribute by posting on a current discussion or by starting a new discussion or poll. They have the ability to make and reply to posts and share relevant information.
What do they contribute? As mentioned many provide links to relevant websites, articles, experiences with caring for pressure sores, relevant experiences, and asking questions for others to answer.

Campbell Teaching (YouTube) is an individual who posts educational videos on YouTube; many of which have a medical theme. Campbell has posted a number of videos regarding pressure sores giving an in depth look at how they develop and the different stages and types. One of his videos in particular has accumulated a number of comments on the online community of YouTube, some with general comments and others with question to which he has responded. 

How interactive is this site? This site is interactive in that members can post and reply to comments, rate the video and have the ability to like and dislike the comments that are posted. Members also have the ability to subscribe the the YouTube channel of the person that has posted the video in order to "follow" them and any further videos that are posted.
How can people contribute? People contribute by sharing their opinions in the form of comments and ratings. They also contribute through their comments by starting discussions with other video views and even the poster of the video.
What do they contribute? In this specific case, many people have commented on how helpful and informative the video has been for them. There are also a number of members leaving relevant questions much like the previous forums discussed, in the hope that someone will give them an answer. Generally members do answer questions of other members with relevant helpful information, such as how to find a relevant pressure relieving cushion to improve their condition. Members also share their personal opinions, both positive and negative.
Example of topics being discussed: 
The following example is one of a viewer leaving a an excerpt of her personal situation and the problem she is facing in terms of caring for an individual with a pressure sore. Her question is answered by the person who created and posted the video.

Why do people contribute to these online communities? 
Online communities are similar to any communities in the sense that being a member of such a community gives you a sense of place and belonging; that you are not alone. By seeking answers from others with a similar experience or knowledge it provides it's members with the support that they may not be getting elsewhere. The information shared in these examples of online communities, the information shared is intended to be reciprocal; a give and take form of communication. Members respond to each others needs thus providing that communal support.  

Of course like many other things I have discussed on previous blogs, these online communities post a number of ethical issues. It can open members up to be vulnerable when they share such personal experiences in such a publicly accessible space; that perhaps some individual might try and take advantage of them. Also some of the information shared is only based on experience and is not based on legitimate professional medical advice. There is also no means of proving members are who  they say they are, such as "medical professionals" that contribute "free medical advice" to the forums.

However the benefits of having such online communities is that it has a way of reaching a specific group of people from many walks of life, in many places of the world, finds a common link between them all and provides them with an opportunity to communicate. For individuals who suffer from or care for those who suffer from pressure areas/sores, it can be very difficult to find people with the same experience in real life, let alone people that want to talk about it openly. The internet has a way of giving people the confidence of having a voice and speaking up, partly because of the anonymity of the user names where faces cannot be put to names. 

Apart from these benefits, online communities such as these can lack certain things that traditional communities can provide. Traditional communities provide true relationships and support, on a much more personal level. It gives the community a face. Many more things can be communicated on a face to face level such as body language, emotions, change in voice and tone that can not be communicated over the internet. Somehow I do not think that emoticons will ever be taken seriously :(  

So really it all depends on what a person is individually seeking; sometimes an online community is all you need, and sometimes it may not offer you enough. However when seeking for online support keep a watchful eye on the information being shared.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Tutorial Five: Video Production Sessions

YouTube; the marvelous world of YouTube! Oh how glorious and magnificant it is! But how marvelous is it? What does it offer the world that it did not already have?

Karch (n.d.) describes YouTube as a "popular video hosting and sharing service". It allows users to upload and view videos, and is accessible to people all over the world. Users can also comment and rate the videos and subscribe to specific user channels, so they will be notified when another video is posted by that person.

Since being founded in 2005, YouTube has just exploded on an international scale! In May 2010 YouTube exceeded 2 billion views a day. Amazing! Who needs to pay for advertising when you have that level of traffic?

What does YouTube have to do with this post? Everything. Today I would like to paint you a mental picture using different online videos in order to demonstrate a topic of interest from one of my fieldwork placements. So allow me to start with the background.

It was my first ever Occupational Therapy placement; I was stationed in community intellectual disability. In terms of my personal knowledge and experience at that point, it was extremely limited in regards to both Occupational Therapy and intellectual disability. As my time on fieldwork progressed many new areas of knowledge were presented to me; one in particular was pressure areas (that develop into pressure sores or pressure ulcers) and pressure risk assessments. In fact I was so interested that I accepted the opportunity to complete a project comparing pressure risk assessments and their relevance to our client group and present it to a number of OTs. You could say I felt a little bit of pressure, however this pressure wasn't physical, but psychological. This is how I developed an interest in pressure areas.

As mentioned our client group was made up of individuals that had some form of an intellectual disability, however many of them also had accompanying physical disabilities as well, and were wheelchair bound.

Due to the fact that many of the clients were non verbal they were unable to tell carer's and family when they were in pain or uncomfortable and they were unable to move themselves to relieve that pressure; some clients were also unable to feel pain. Thus it became the duty of the carer's and family to be diligent in providing the necessary cares to prevent pressure areas. My supervisors job was to educate carer's on pressure areas and also identify the pressure risks that an individual client may have through assessments, the possible causes of developing pressure areas and apply appropriate solutions either in the form of skills training or the application of equipment.

The following are videos that are extremely relevant to this topic:

This is a great video that provides an overview of what pressure ulcers are, how they develop and how to prevent them through various types of equipment. This is the type of information that I witnessed my supervising OT sharing with client's, carer's and family members as a way to help them understand what to look out for and why.

This is a video made by two nursing students who are doing a teaching project on pressure ulcers. In this video (part one of two) the students explain to a patient a brief description of pressure ulcers - what they are and the four stages in which they develop. Information that is also relevant for an OT to use during education sessions.

In part two, these same students show and explain simple tips in how to prevent pressure ulcers. This information is helpful for Occupational Therapists, as it will give you extra insight in to what patients are susceptible to pressure areas and the ways in which they may be prevented. This information may also help during any education sessions for carers or family to help improve patients cares.

This video gives an insight to the type of mattress that an Occupational Therapist may prescribe for a client who is at high risk of developing pressure areas. It provides a great diagram as to how the mattress works to prevent pressure areas by using alternating air to shift the distribution of weight to different cells in the mattress and to help circulate blood flow. I was fortunate enough to see a number of alternating air mattresses during my fieldwork placement and to hear the benefits that they have had for the client's.

And last but not least, here is a video of a Physical Therapist explaining the important steps to go through when selecting a pressure relieving wheelchair cushion for a client. Personally I think this information is extremely relevant to Occupational Therapy, as this is one of the areas that an OT can come across often, depending on the setting.

As the first video explained that equipment to prevent pressure areas is needed in all areas of life; wheelchair cushioning is one of those important areas to address as it is where a client will spend a great deal of their day sitting; just as a mattress is where a client spends a great deal of the night sleeping. This video explains the important features to look out for and why.

During fieldwork, I meet with a client that had had a lot of difficulty finding the right cushion, and had to trial a number of them to get it right, as they were extremely susceptible to pressure areas. My supervising OT explained the difficulty they had had and the physical and emotion relief they experienced when they had finally found the one that worked best.


Karch, M. (n.d.). Youtube explained - overview of the google video sharing tool. Retrieved April 28, 2011, from http://google.about.com/od/moreaboutgoogleaps/p/youtubeprofile.htm

YouTube (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2011, from youtube.com

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Tutorial Four: Video Production Sessions

it's As eAsy As Abc

This is An Awesome video we mAde in clAss, bAsed on A letter of the AlphAbet.
Bet you cAn't guess whAt letter it is!

It wAs filmed in the spAce of 15 minutes. Absolutely AmAzing!

Absolutely no plAnning wAs done prior to filming; we decided to wing it in order provide ourselves An opportunity to exercise our Artistic Abilities. We hAd only briefly touched on filming techniques prior to this video being mAde, however the content spouted purely from the fountAin of spontAneity. Of course, editing of thAt mAterial wAs done in order to get the finAl product.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A chamomile flower

A chamomile flower by they_may_have_joy
A chamomile flower, a photo by they_may_have_joy on Flickr.

A purple flower

A purple flower by they_may_have_joy
A purple flower, a photo by they_may_have_joy on Flickr.

A bunch of flowers

A bunch of flowers by they_may_have_joy
A bunch of flowers, a photo by they_may_have_joy on Flickr.

A feijoa flower

A flower by they_may_have_joy
A flower, a photo by they_may_have_joy on Flickr.

Grapes from my garden

This is one of five images that I am going to post to demonstrate my own personal use of digital images.

Tutorial Two: Digital Imaging

In this post we will be discussing digital imaging by briefly looking at a number of aspects from the storage of digital images to their uses in Occupational Therapy.

One thing that the technological world offers us is the variety in which we can store information; the storage of digital imaging is included in this.

In the process of creating and storing a digital image, technology is with us every step of the way. You can create a digital image using a digital camera. From there you may choose to use a usb cord to transfer it to the computer, take out the memory card and put it into a card reader or you may even send the image wirelessly to another device using blue tooth. If you transfer it to a computer, you may  need to use specific software for the device you are using in order to transfer it safely to the computers hard drive.. Usually the software allows you to change the format in which the image is saved; one of the most popular and commonly used formats at the moment is JPEG (Joint Photo Experts Group). From there one may choose to edit the image using photo editing software such as Photoshop, in order to make your photo that much more of a masterpiece. From there, it is really up to you as to what you choose to do with that photo. The photo could be electronically stored, placed in a slideshow, printed and scrapbooked, transferred to another device or even posted on the internet.

There are many way in which digital images can be used to provide information; one which we have already touched on is the internet. Under the vast umbrella of the World Wide Web there are many ways in which digital images are used in this way. Here are three such examples:

1) Flickr ( http://www.flickr.com/ )

Flickr is an online website that specialises in storing peoples photos and provide a way for users to manage, organize and showcase their photos or videos. Web users create an account and upload their chosen photos. These photos could range from the scenery of the country side pictures from your family holiday. Users have the option of making their photos accessable to the public or limit the access to their friends and family only.

2) Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/ )

Facebook is similar to flickr in the respect that photos and video can be uploaded and displayed on a users account and access to them can be limited. However facebook does not soley focus on photos and videos, but is a social networking site. Generally the photos a user posts to their account is usually something that they feel is important to have on their social forum. Users can tag other people in their photos and leave comments on their photos as a means of making social links and sharing information from their lives to other people.

Google images is a side branch to the google search engine. What it does is it gathers as many digital images it can from as many websites as possible and collates them with in the topic of your search.


Let's discuss the following statement in relation to digital camera technology. Here goes....

"A new technology is rarely superior to an old one in every feature"

What a statement! Where should I begin? I have to say that I am on the side of the affirmative; I absolutely agree with this statement. Why? Well allow me to elaborate. Lets look at film cameras and compare them to digital cameras by looking at their pro's and con's.

I will admit I do not know a great deal about film cameras but let me share that which I do know. I know that film cameras produce very good picture quality if done correctly. In general I believe that they were easier to use without all the millions of features that today's cameras seem to have. People were more likely take less shots due to the limitations of the film and the cost of developing. It was not possible to develop the photos from home unless you had a dark room which means traveling to a photoshop. Although taking less shots can be seen as a good thing, as you were more likely to develop and cherish them rather than keep them stored on the film. A negative was also that you didn't know what kind of shot you were going to get. None of this scroll and delete nonsense that we have today. With digital cameras, the picture resolution depends on what type of camera you have and how much money you were willing to fork out for it. You can have anything from 3mp to 18mp these days. Digital cameras are fast becoming more accessible (referring to social justice), and can be used in conjunction with a number of other technological devices, such as phones, iPods, even in a pen! Which goes on to say that digital cameras can come in a number of shapes and sizes and can be extremely compact yet functional. Zoom is rather compromised in regards to digital cameras and generally pales in comparison to its predecessor. Once again zoom depends the type of digital camera you have. To get decent zoom (optical) that does not compromise the quality of the picture (like the common digital zoom does) one must pay a decent amount of money for it. Storage of photos can be rather tricky business. The number of photos can depend on the size of your cameras memory card, which can be beneficial if you are a snap happy person and love taking photos. On the other hand we must not forget that a memory card is technology and can be know to fail from time to time wiping most, if not all of your precious photos. Digital cameras come with a number of functions, some can even record video and audio which its predecessor could not do. You can view and delete what photos you do not want and you can download, edit and print the photos all in the comfort of your own home, as long as you have the right gear. 

So if we use this quick comparison we can see that while the modern technological choice is digital cameras, they do not completely surpass their predecessor; the film camera.

I believe that technology will never be completely superior to an old one in every feature, simply because all new concepts are conceived from the old. It is how this technological race was started in the first place; humans looking to improve aspects of current concepts. To make a new technology completely superior to the old, in my mind means changing the concept all together; the concept of which is the unity between the new and the old, it is the shared purpose that they each have. Technology is made to fill a need. That need never changes but rather the way in which we fulfill that need does. We can only improve on those current adaptive concepts in order to better fulfill our needs today and in the future. 

Image capturing these days is much more user friendly and accessible then it used to be back in the day; no more standing still for minutes on end just for one photograph! Along with this it is also much easier to distribute these images as well. This is where our familiar enemy "ethical issues" comes along to ruin a good thing. I have already touched on ethical issues regarding digital images and their distribution as I spoke about photos being posted on the internet by Google Earth and the issue of "intellectual property". If this does not sound familiar I suggest you go back and read the post "Tutorial One: Information Technology and the Ethical Issues" to refresh your memory. 

The use of digital images being implemented in OT was also mentioned in my previous post but here is an excerpt: Within OT "cameras are being used as a way of displaying the effectiveness of the use of prescribed equipment and are a means for providing baseline and evaluation information". They can also be used as a means of intervention such as taking a photo of familiar objects in order to cue an individual with limited memory or other cognitive (brain) functions, to carry out daily activities. I can honestly say that I have seen all of these examples in use and their effectiveness within this field whilst I was on my first placement.

So my dear readers, that brings me to the end of today's discussion. Just as a passing note let me leave you with a final thought; whilst it is easy to snap and distribute a photo, it is just as easy to tread on an ethical mine field.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Tutorial One: Information Technology and the Ethical Issues

In my first ever post, I wish to briefly explore the world of Information Technology, which has become our world, and the ethical issues it poses to society as it is becoming rapidly accessible to society.

Before we dive into the deep end, we first need to know what information technology (commonly referred to as "IT") is.

The Penguin English Dictionary (Allen, 2004) defines Information Technology as "the use of computers, telecommunications, e.t.c, in electronic processing, storing, retrieving, and sending information."

What does that mean in everyday English? IT is the use of various technologies to communicate, gather and process information.

 In what ways is this form of technology common in our society?In what ways isn't it? I believe modern society is grossly dependent on the use of IT; for many it has become their lifeline to the outside world. In most instances, it is at the point where an individual cannot go through one day without the use of at least one form of IT. Telephones, texting, emails, online chatting, facebook, downloading, uploading, blogging; are all examples of some of the most common, everyday things we do. With all of these things easily accessible to an individual, one now scarcely needs to leave their house if they so choose; even grocery shopping can be done online and delivered to your doorstep. Here's a link that shows just how common IT is becoming: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yY7MyAg3mQI

My experience with IT hasn't been anything over the top; but then again, who can define over the top. I feel more than comfortable using online shopping, email, instant messaging, music downloads, Internet television and videos, social networking sites and travel booking. Although I may feel comfortable using these things, it does not mean that I am overly confident. I like to think that I am manage-ably comfortable in regards to using these forms of IT. What does that mean? It means that I know what I need to know and that's all I need to know; anything more will overwhelm me, anything less, I will not be able to function properly; in other words, the basics. There is a technological race in an effort to advance our lives, and yet people are struggling because they cannot keep up with the pace. One must be what I call technologically fit in order to adapt. Perhaps my tendency to know the basics is a method or an instinct that I use for my own technological survival; I know just enough to get me through.

Joining the technological race is the profession of Occupational Therapy (OT) as they begin to integrate modern technologies into practice. Primary hard copies of client notes are a thing of the past with most practices digitizing clinical notes, and using hard copies as back up. Cameras are being used as a way of displaying the effectiveness of the use of prescribed equipment and are a means for providing baseline and evaluation information. One article published, reports the use of Nintendo Wii's being used for rehabilitation in wards (Verdonck & Ryan, 2008) (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_6805/is_6_71/ai_n31909080/).

Of course with a positive always comes a negative. With the introduction of new technology in practice a number of ethical issues have worked their way in as well and threaten to eat holes in OT practice. Yes I said it ethical issues - one of the major things that the health industry attempt to eradicate. What issues could there possibly be? Major issues such as client confidentiality and the security of files and private information. In the old days, hard copies had to be kept under lock and key, but with many client files being digitized and stored online, it opens up a whole new area of security threats. There is also the threat of reliability in terms of technology being there for you when you need it. Unfortunately technology is like a friend that you love, but you can't trust. Sometimes things go well but most times it lets you down. Computer viruses, power failure, out dated and unrecognized storage formats a but a few things that can go wrong.

But in spite of all these, OT still stands to benefit from the implementation of IT into practice. The digitising of client notes and records makes it easier for the OT to access and update the files where necessary. Research is also made easier with access to relevant online data bases and article and magical things called search engines. Perhaps in the future OT will be armed with devices such as iPhones, iPads and android capable cell phones and devices that use specially developed applications that compliment OT practice. These devices are capable of storing hundreds of apps and a great number of data on their internal hard drives, as well as access the Internet via their wireless network finders. Applications such as medical dictionaries, assessments, articles and direct links to data bases. Applications could even designed for direct use by clients as a means of rehabilitation, just as the Wii is currently being implemented (see http://www.oppapers.com/essays/Technology-And-Occupational-Therapy/491163).

In order for such technological changes to be implemented, a great understanding of IT will be needed to help OT's in practice as well as our daily lives. For example it is nice to know how to use basic computer applications but it is equally important to know what to do when the computer freezes. If we did not know how to overcome technical difficulties, we stand to limit the productive potential that using the technology offers us.

But what happens when everyone around you is capturing sharing and transferring information, including yourself? Once again we look at the ethical issues that can arise from this. In today's society it is the norm to capture photos and videos of documenting what you did on the weekend and to post them on the Internet via a social networking site or photo sharing website. Often these photos are posted online without much consideration as to who else is in the photo and whether they want their face plastered on the Internet. A similar example is the publication of google maps, which takes landscape and street view pictures of different places on the planet and published them for public access on the Internet. However as people sift through the many images they are beginning to find that many of the pictures contain people going about their everyday lives unaware that their picture is being taken and used on a global scale. Many people have complained that their privacy has been invaded and are calling for the images to be removed (see http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/013780.html). Many argue that the person that takes the photo is the rightful owner of the image and has control as to what they do with it; on the other hand it has been argued that people have the right to privacy. The question is, who is right? Another ethical issue is that of the sharing of information and one's own thoughts via a social networking site or a blog. Although the information may come from one's own original thinking, it is very easy now for others to steal or copy your ideas and claim them as their own. How does one prove that they were the original creator?

It is in situations such as these where a term known as "intellectual property" begins to get thrown around as a means to settle such arguments. What is intellectual property? Domain Name Handbook (2003) defines intellectual property as "industrial property and copyrights, chiefly in literary,  musical, artistic, photographic and audio visual works. Intellectual property is afforded protection from imitation, infringement and dilution according to numerous international treaties, and federal statutes" (see http://www.domainhandbook.com/gloss.html ). In english this basically says that there are laws in place to protect your intellectual property, which could be a number of original individual ideas or creations, from being used, stolen, or copied.Within OT practice, much emphasis is used in referencing where the used material has come from in order to avoid the risk of not recognising the information's rightful owner and creator.

Another term that is thrown into the technological argument is social justice. Dictionary.com (2011) defines social justice as "the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within a society" (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/social+justice). I understand that to mean that everyone deserves to have equal access to opportunities and receive their fair share of those things with society has to offer. Within OT this is extremely important, as an OT comes in to contact with many different clients, in a number of situations, but no matter how varied the client or the situation, ALL clients are entitled to receive fair treatment and equal access to equipment and assistance, just as the last client was.

Last but not least, comes a term known as informed consent. About.com (explains that "informed consent is a legal procedure to ensure that a patient or client knows all of the risks and costs involved in a treatment. The elements of informed consents include informing the client of the nature of the treatment, possible alternative treatments, and the potential risks and benefits of the treatment" (see http://psychology.about.com/od/iindex/g/def_informedcon.htm ). Which in other words means that a client should only give consent on the grounds that they have been fully informed about what is going to happen. This concept is extremely important in the health profession, and therefore it is no surprise that it is relevant to OT practice. Basically this is put in place as a way to protect the client from agreeing to something they did not fully understand, and it encourages the OT to fully inform the client before any treatment or modification goes ahead. With the presence of informed consent, many legal arguments can be held at bay as the treatment process in relation to the client has been conducted in a very professional manner.

In closing, I want to say that all of the matters discussed today highlight the characteristics of the society most of us are apart of. Whilst keeping up with the technological race helps us to stay on top of things, we must make sure that we don't allow the many changes to run us in to the ground with an overload of information. Remember you don't have to win the race, you just have to set a comfortable pace in order to remain in the race. So make sure you have your running shoes on, because I doubt the finish line is anywhere near.


About.com (2011). Informed consent. Retrieved March 17, from http://psychology.about.com /od/iindex/g/def_informedcon.htm
Allen, R. (consultant editor). (2004). The penguin english dicitonary. London: Penguin Books
Dictionary.com  (2011). Social Justice. Retrieved March 17, from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/social+justice
Domain Name Handbook. (2003). Intellectual property. Retrieved March 17, from http://www.domainhandbook.com/gloss.html
Verdonck, M. C., & Ryan, S. (2008). Mainstream technology as an occupational therapy tool: Technophobe or technogeek. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71 (6).