Showing posts from October, 2010

Book Review: Tuck Me In!

I received an email from a children's author asking me to take a look at a book he recently co-authored. The book is Tuck Me In! by Dean Hacohen and Sherry Scharschmidt. Dean was hearing some feedback from parents that the book was nice for toddlers who were developing fine motor skills and he was interested in my feedback. He was kind enough to have his publisher forward me a review copy.

I was interested in Dean's book because I am interested in habits and rituals. I spend a lot of time thinking about algorithms that can be programmed to simulate dynamic adaptability in generating non-automated responses to unpredictable environmental stimuli. I think about this stuff a lot because of the typical behavior of toddlers and the clinical behavior of people with autistic spectrum disorders. I sometimes think someone might ask me to be a software consultant for unmanned Mars missions so that is always another reason to keep my thinking sharp. You never know.

Anyway, typically…

Occupational Therapy Assistants in NY State: A SUPER PROFESSION

Background fact:
occupational therapy assistant (OTA) means someone who has not passed a NBCOT certification examination or who has not renewed their certification. NY State allows these people to practice.

certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) means someone who HAS passed a NBCOT certification examination and who HAS renewed their certification. NY State does not require this for occupational therapy assistants.


The recent NYS Department of Health ruling on qualified professionals to provide OT in NYS schools originally stated that one qualification for practice was:

A certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA) “under the direction of” such a qualified licensed and registered occupational therapist, acting within his or her scope of practice under New York State Law.

This sent quite a few people into a panic because there are many OTAs in NY practicing without ever haven taken the NBCOT examination. After someone takes and passes the NBCOT…

Soap opera in NY: As the autism insurance bill turns...

I received an interesting mass emailing from Autism Speaks today, which is an advocacy group that is currently supporting passage of the autism insurance bill in NY State. I paused because the email contained the following:

"Please stay tuned over the coming hours. The health plans are still working hard to ensure a veto. We need to work together to let the Governor know that we expect him to provide principled leadership and sign S.7000B into law this week."

I found this a little confusing because every other autism advocacy group that I know of in NY is opposing this bill, as are the NYS OT Association and the NYS Speech and Language Therapy Association. The concerns are that no other conditions require such a high standard for 'evidence based practice' as this bill and that this may be used to actually decrease what insurance companies have to reimburse. I don't know anyone that is against the concept of evidence based interventions, but it would be unfair to…

Sensory integration: More evidence that OTs have lost control of the narrative

There are quite a few opinion pieces in this blog about the state of sensory integration as a model for occupational therapy - the reader is particularly referred here and here for quick background if needed.

Continued evidence that occupational therapists have lost control of the 'sensory integration' narrative can be found in the October 2010 Scientific American Article by Nancy Shute entitled "Desperation drives parents to dubious autism treatments."

Sensory integration therapy is described in the article as ranging from "wrapping children in blankets or placing them in a hug machine to having them play with scented clay..." They also note in the article that this intervention costs families up to $200 per hour or $6000 per year. Sensory integration is listed in a chart as Temptations: Dubious Therapies.

These kinds of articles always seem to generate responses from people who disagree from them, but before anyone responds I think this is a good opportuni…