Showing posts from November, 2006

physical agent modalities and competency in occupational therapy

It will be interesting to see how far and wide this issue travels - I expect that my answer will make some people angry and other people very happy - but either way I view this as a question that comes along that is just too good for me to ignore -

Today I was asked for my opinion on the following question:

"I am a COTA and I have attended a couple of workshops on Anadyne Therapy. It is an infrared treatment modality used to treat patients with peripheral neuropathy. Treatment will initially consist of a pre-sensory test (Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments), treatment with the Anadyne and fine motor exercises. The question is: Does an OTR have to do the initial evaluation which would be the pre-sensory test prior to the treament? I am able to conduct the test and the treatment but I don't know if legally I can."

Here is my response:

According to the NY State Board of Regents, occupational therapy assistants as a rule have not demonstrated competence to perform evaluations, so th…

The Day I Saved Andy’s Life

I am not in a life-saving profession - at least not in the traditional medical interpretation of life-saving. I was never really interested in wielding that kind of power, although in many ways I think that I have learned that traditional life-saving power is easily reducible to a little chemistry, a little anatomy, a little slight of hand and technical know-how. Little else.

This is not meant to downplay that technical expertise though. Actually I am humbled by those who perform such acts on a daily basis.

I saved someone's life once. That is what I have been told anyway. I like to tell this story because the moral is that sometimes you might be in a position to make a difference, even if you did not put yourself in that position, and even if you had no intention of making a difference. I think that is important information to have tucked away for reference purposes.

One day my phone rang and it was my buddy John. John was an itinerant therapist in the truest sense of…

Why I am not writing entries for a while.

...because street-level occupational therapists sometimes need a break.

child passenger safety

I don't typically pass around web sites that I think people should go visit although I have done so lately. I hope that when people see that I am referring a web site that it is not the equivalence of junk mail or spam. I would only send you somewhere that I really think you need to visit.

I got involved in child passenger safety sometime in the late 90s. I was forced there out of necessity and parent demand - a parent whose child had a spica cast chastised the hospital I was working in because there was no appropriate restraint to send her child home in. I am thankful to that parent to this day; I am not sure if she is aware of the changes that were made because of her concerns.

I educated myself on the issue and learned that a nationwide education campaign resulted in increased use of child restraint devices in automobiles but many children are still restrained improperly (Glassbrenner, 2003). National studies demonstrate that the misuse rate of child restraint devices in automobi…

Clinical problem solving in occupational therapy and the need to eliminate special case thinking

Lots and lots of questions these days and I am doing my best to answer them...

What I would like to try here is to throw my problem solving methodology to the winds and perhaps if someone finds this useful there will be fewer questions in the world. Is that likely?

There is a difference between a primary problem and a secondary behavioral attribute but people constantly confuse the two. So when someone says, "My child won't pay attention," or "One kid on my caseload won't eat any solid foods" they will often look for a direct and concrete answer to their 'problem' and completely misunderstand what the 'problem' really is. Let's take one example and walk through it.

First of all, if you have a clinical/presenting problem, place it in a circle at the top of the page and then make 5 circles underneath it. Five is a random number, but these circles will represent the POSSIBLE causes of the problem in the circle above:



Pediatric encopresis and occupational therapy

Today I had contact with three families who were all dealing with problems relating to encopresis. Encopresis can be essentially defined as a lack of fecal continence and it is a huge problem for families. I have to admit that there was no training in my occupational therapy curriculum relating to encopresis, although occupational therapists spend a lot of time talking about helping people with self care activities of daily living. I suppose that my educational programs assumed that intervention ends when a child can let their pants down and sit on the potty?

The lack of any mention of pediatric encopresis in the occupational therapy literature certainly doesn't stop occupational therapists from weighing in on this subject when it comes to giving parents advice. I read an evaluation once where a therapist talked about a child's constipation and encopresis being related to a craving for deep pressure stimulation, and it was a reflection of poor sensory processing. The recommende…

Smiles from Nicholas

I knew a boy named Nicholas, and I don't think that it needs to be confidential any longer. Nicholas had cerebral palsy and I was randomly chosen to be his occupational therapist. That's the way referral patterns go sometimes - and it just amazes me - because on any given day as an occupational therapist you just don't know what your life might be thrown toward.

I am not going to attempt to re-tell Nicholas' story because his parents have already documented it far better than I ever could.

I would like to ask everyone to go visit their web site and Foundation Smiles from Nicholas.

I learned a lot from Nicholas and his family So although there were tears, there was laughter more. And although there was pain, there was joy more. And when things seemed bleakest, they lived.

I have been thinking about them a lot and I don't know how a world can right itself after the death of a child, but I trust that it will in one way or another (with a a little help from above of course…