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Showing posts from December, 2008

Empirical vs. innate knowledge in sensory integration

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I received an email from the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation about today's NY Times article discussing the process of how disorders are included in the DSM.

The email expressed excitement that awareness of sensory processing disorder was growing. I think that awareness of any problems that children have that can impact their ability to function is good - but I remain unconvinced that we are anywhere near ready for DSM inclusion of sensory processing disorder, if such a unitary disorder even exists. I have blogged about this topic before here.

As the title of this entry suggests, my primary sticking point is the problem of empiricism vs. innatism. Empirical analysis suggests a process where there is NO prior knowledge and everything learned is written upon the 'blank slate' of consciousness. One could argue that the seedwork of sensory integration research completed by Ayres was the closest that we may come to a truly empirical approach to the issue of sensory inte…

Assistants, aides, and the importance of certification

We have been advertising for physical therapist assistants recently, and I have been a little shocked at the high volume of calls we received from non-licensed people who believe they are qualified for the position. It is quite common to hear callers state "Well I worked as a physical therapist assistant and am not licensed but I am qualified for your position." I have never received similar calls when we advertise for occupational therapist assistants.

New York State regulations that govern PT practice on this issue are quite clear. They state:

New York State law restricts the practice of physical therapy to licensed physical therapists or certified physical therapist assistants. Individuals who are not licensed or certified may not provide physical therapy services. Aides may perform non-patient related activities such as secretarial, clerical and housekeeping tasks. Additionally, aides may act as an extra set of hands for the physical therapist or physical therapist assi…

HIPAA and FERPA: The opinion of a street level OT

I am not a lawyer, so stop reading my opinion and go talk to one if you are having a real problem. Please.

But here is my OPINION that I want to rant about:

Everyone needs to go and read the recently published Joint Guidance on the Application of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Helath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to Student Health Records.

This is the most recent guidance document in a string of legal opinions and guidance documents that have been kicked around since HIPAA came into effect and schools were left trying to figure out what it meant. The bottom line problem is that we have created a system in the United States where a public health program (Medicaid) morphed into a broad funding stream for a variety of educational programs. The original stated purpose of Medicaid was for medically based interventions (and thus its common designation as a 'health insurance' system of sorts) - except that now it also pays…