Showing posts from September, 2006

more on transparency: CSE meetings, second opinion and fair use

Another CSE meeting recently, another issue with transparency. Professionals can sometimes disagree, which is bound to happen because children's performance is subject to variability. When test performance varies across different tests that are supposed to measure the same construct both professionals should be open and concerned enough to try to explore and understand the difference between test scores. I have never had a problem releasing raw test data to occupational therapy colleagues. I understand that there are issues with randomly releasing test materials and manuals to the general public, but most people agree that in the case of 'second opinions' it is not objectionable for a professional to release raw data to another similarly credentialed professional upon request and upon consent from the family. The materials pass directly between professionals, and should never involve parents, lawyers, etc. unless there is some court order to do so. Today a (non-OT) profes

occupation in action

So much of what we read about in our occupational therapy journals has to do with models of medical illness. Disability models are traditional practice for health care professionals. Therapists feel 'comfortable' when working within these systems. In 1985 I took an undergraduate Community Health course. At that time the concept of community health was in its infancy and we were just seeing the beginnings of a move away from inpatient and institutional care. I recall that the course gave me the idea that one day we would not be in hospitals, developmental centers, and large state institutions for the chronically ill. We have made some progress since that time, but I often wonder why more OTs are not in private practice or doing more work in the community. OTs still prefer the safety nets of institutions and agencies. Practice is decidedly more community based than when I first graduated: there is a lot more home care - both for infants and adults. More services are provided in

Things I think about on tough days

This is a story about a little boy from Africa. His parents recently immigrated to the U.S. and he was only a little over a year old. L. contracted a bacterial infection, leading to a cold, leading to a systemic infection, all of which landed him in the pediatric intensive care unit. It was a one in a million complication actually. Kids get bacterial infections all the time. The parents take them to doctors who prescribe medication, and modern medicine has taught us to expect that the infection will go away. Every once in a while the medicines don't work. The bacterial strain multiplies, is immune to the medication, or who knows what. So L. was hospitalized and lying in the PICU as the infection ravaged his little body. I believe at this early stage that the doctors did everything they could possibly do. The infection was particularly virulent though and his heart began to fail. And then his kidneys began to fail. In order to properly deliver medications he had arterial lines in


I have spent some time thinking about the concept of transparency lately. This is one example of how it has come up recently - I like to have parents sit in on my evaluations. I find that most children are not distracted by their parents at all. Very rarely I will have to ask a parent not to coach if we are doing a standardized test, but this is very uncommon. Having parents sit in on evaluations allows them to see what is being done and it enables them to be better advocates for their children. Parents who have seen occupational therapy evaluations are better able to discuss a child's needs at a CSE or CPSE meeting. Also, having a parent 'right there' allows me to interact with them as contextual behavioral issues come up and it also allows me to observe the nature of the parent-child interactions. The one exception to this rule is that I generally don't like to have parents present in the room if I am doing the SIPT. I can't tell you how many parents have fallen a