20th June 2017 – COT conference round up 2017.

Gill from the OTalk team will lead a round up of all the goings on from this years Royal College of Occupational Therapists conference in Birmingham (June 19-20th 2017).

Also the Blog Squad for the conference will be adding blogs about various sessions, you will be able to find everything on the OTalk blog – enjoy reading.   Also please see here for online transcripts for the conference using the hash tag #COT2017

Post Chat

Online Transcript

The Numbers

1.030M Impressions
273 Tweets
42 Participants
218 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants


#OTalk Tuesday 21st March OT Interview Clinic


This week the plan is to engage in an OT interview clinic, if your looking to get your first OT post, your next job, or you think you have some good tips and hints to share with others,  please consider joining in Tuesday 21st on March 2017 at 8pm GMT.

Here are a few good blogs to read in preparation for Tuesdays chat,



Topics to think about ready for the chat

  1. Application – the do’s and don’ts
  2. Your social media profiles – what can future employers find out about you?
  3. Pre interview contact / visit what should i do?
  4. Preparation
  5. What to wear
  6. The questions
  7. Using feedback productively

Throughout the chat I’ll be posting my top ten tips for interviews.

Rachel @OT_rach

Tuesday 8th Nov 2016 – Politics and Health Care

As the US election is happening today, I thought we could explore if and how politics impacts on our practise as occupational therapist.


Questions to think about?

Q1 During an election period, what impacts on your decision to vote?

Q2 How do you keep up to date with politics and is it really that important?

Q3 Should occupational therapist engage in politics or remain neutral? And way?

Q4 In your career to date, has a political decision, affect you or your work?

Q5 How if at all do you think leaving the European Union, will affect the NHS?

Q6 How and if at all do you think today’s US election result will affect the U.K. and health care general?

Rachel Booth



The Numbers
1,241,080 Impressions
454 Tweets
39 Participants
363 Avg Tweets/Hour
12 Avg Tweets/Participant

#OTalk Participants

25th Oct 2016 – Impact of poor motor skills development on other areas of functioning.

This week’s #OTalk (25th October, 2016) will be hosted by members of Goldsmiths Action Lab, using the @GoldActionLab Twitter account.

Motor skills support every aspect of our daily life and, in early childhood, enable some of the first opportunities for a child to learn about their environment and to interact with others. Motor difficulties are characteristic of certain medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy. But they are also common in children that fall under the umbrella of ‘neurodevelopmental disorder’. A particular focus of our research interests is children with a diagnosis of developmental coordination disorder (DCD), which is often referred to as ‘dyspraxia’ in the UK. However, children with dyslexia or a language impairment, as well as those with an autism spectrum disorder, may also be differentially affected.

DCD is diagnosed on the basis of motor coordination difficulties and is thought to affect around 5-6%, which means that at least 1 child in a typical school classroom of 30 children would meet the criteria for DCD. Children with DCD are often referred for occupational therapy to help support motor skills training and increase functional outcomes. Certainly, difficulties with motor skill (including speed/accuracy of movements) and sequencing of motor actions will have repercussions on daily living skills (e.g., using cutlery, dressing) and in the classroom (e.g., handwriting). But, we believe, it is also important to be aware of how motor ability impacts on other aspects of development.

One strand of our research at the Goldsmiths Action Lab (http://www.goldactionlab.co.uk/) concerns how poor motor skill relates to social behaviour (for example, see Sumner, Leonard, & Hill, 2016). We find that children with motor difficulties also experience problems with developing peer relations. During this #OTalk we are keen to hear about the thoughts and experiences of practising and training OTs in relation to supporting and developing motor, and related, skills. We hope to stimulate conversations about how to support motor difficulties and what can be done to raise awareness of the impact of motor difficulties. The following questions are some points for discussion to get us started:

  1. Should we consider motor skill to be an important development skill? Why?
  2. What are your experiences of supporting children and/or adults with motor difficulties?
  3. How do you approach motor skills training: one approach fits all, or person-centered? Do you use a particular model?
  4. Have you observed how motor skill/difficulties impact on other aspects of development/functioning? In what way?
  5. How can we encourage teachers/parents to identify and support motor difficulties and their impact?


Note. Abbreviations for our Twitter talk: DCD = Developmental Coordination Disorder; ASD = autism spectrum disorder, although can be shortened to ‘autism’ to save characters!

Post Chat 

The Numbers
1,660,256 Impressions
672 Tweets
91 Participants
28 Avg Tweets/Hour
7 Avg Tweets/Participant

Online Transcript

#OTalk Participants

Tuesday 20th September – Celebrating OT with the OTshow and Jen Gash

There is so much great OT practice in the UK. This ranges from OT in statutory services, to OTs working in the 3rd sector, to independent OTs, to OTs breaking new ground in diverse areas and of course, support workers who keep it all running!   This OT twitter talk is for you – the grass roots practitioners whose great work may go undetected. Not all OTs are able to publish articles or research or present papers at conference or win large research grants, but that doesn’t mean their work should go unrecognised or disseminated.

Last year saw the inaugural OT Show Awards, launched at the show in November. The awards were a great success and this year we have added another category!  We want to you to nominate OT  people, services and innovations who you feel deserve some recognition. This year’s categories are

  • Outstanding Senior OT
  • Outstanding OT
  • Outstanding OTTI/OTA
  • Outstanding Innovation (product, service or tool)
  • Outstanding Innovator (person)

This OTalk on twitter will hopefully get your thoughts flowing about what makes great OT practice, what great things are going on inside our profession and how best we can share and celebrate our successes.  The questions for discussion tonight are:

1)            What do you feel is the best way to celebrate and share good OT practice in the UK? #OT #OT365 #occupationaltherapy

2)            What stops people sharing their ideas and different ways they practice? #OT #OT365 #occupationaltherapy

3)            If you needed an OT yourself, what would you like to see them do? #OT #OT365 #occupationaltherapy

4)            What makes OT practice, outstanding? #OT #OT365 #occupationaltherapy

5)            Do you know an OT/OTA, a service or innovation that deserves a big pat on the back? #OT #OT365 #occupationaltherapy

Post Chat Updates:

Online Transcript:

The Numbers

2,531,038 Impressions
822 Tweets
68 Participants

#OTalk Participants


Tues 30th Aug 2016 How OT’s Add Value to the Low Vision Team – with @LYBOT

This week Laura @LYBOT will host #OTALK

About 285 million people in the world have a visual impairment: 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision. Well over half of these individuals are over the age of 50. Approximately 90% of these individuals live in developing countries, where they may not have access to correction for refractive errors (e.g. glasses), eye health services, or OT. Leading causes of visual impairment are cataracts, refractive errors, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. (World Health Organization, 2014). Low vision can affect occupational performance in many areas, from community mobility, to physical exercise to chosen leisure activities (e.g. Schoessow, 2010; Rees, Saw, Lamoureux & Keeffe, 2007). Clearly this is a large community of people who could be served by OT’s, and who perhaps are already! During this week’s #OTalk we will dive into a conversation about how OT’s are contributing and can contribute to the team of people serving individuals who have a visual impairment. The following are some ideas to get us started. OT’s can help:
● Enhance occupational performance and support complex needs of individuals with multiple conditions
● Contribute to an assessment of visual function
● Assess cognition, motor skills, and positioning as they relate to device and compensatory strategy use (Schoessow, 2010; Kaldenberg, Markowitz, Markowitz & Markowitz 2006)
● Make environmental modifications (e.g. add contrast or improve lighting)
● Work with individuals to highlight and use their strengths
● Recommend and train individuals for the use of assistive devices with consideration of environmental, social and personal factors.

As OT’s concerned with the empowerment of individuals and communities, we feel it is important to address the terms we choose because words can make a big difference in shaping attitudes and shifting awareness. Person-first language is promoted within most North American organizations/communities, while terms such as ‘disabled person’, which emphasize the social model of disability (i.e. a person is disabled by the society) are favoured in other parts of the world. Many members of the blind community have chosen to favour ‘blind person’ as an identifier for individuals who have a range of visual impairments. I (Laura) personally prefer to refer to myself as a blind person, choosing this identity first language because it emphasizes that I consider blindness to be a valuable part of who I am. Some use impairment to describe the embodied experience and disability to describe the interactional experience wherein a person is in some way barred from participation; however, the terms impairment and disability have also been criticized for having overly negative connotations. Linguistic choices are important, controversial, ever evolving, and diverse. In our discussion we use the term ‘person with a visual impairment’ as a compromise between the social model (i.e. the disability is not within the person, as person ‘with’ a disability would suggest) and discourses regarding the importance of acknowledging the embodied experience of an impairment. During the discussion we may use other terms, as will individuals who join the conversation – you are encouraged to think about what terms you might choose and why.
● Following are few interesting links on the topic: a blog on Gotta Be OT, a blog by Cara Liebowitz, and a blog by Rachel Kassenbrock.

What is Happening
Following are profiles demonstrating how OT’s are contributing to the empowerment of people who have visual impairments – they are drawn from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists’ OT in Low Vision Rehabilitation Network.

A Clinical Example

Melissa de Wit OT Reg. (Ont.) is working in stroke and geriatric in-patient rehabilitation. She is part of a passionate interdisciplinary in-patient team and collaborates with an optometrist in functional assessment and treatment of visual impairments resulting from acquired brain injury, including visual midline shift, visual neglect, impaired visual memory, visual field cuts, diplopia, and cranial nerve palsies. She has participated in several international specialized courses associated with assessment and treatment for visual processing disorders, neuro-visual postural therapy and prism therapy. Melissa is certified in Neuro-Developmental Treatment and is an authorizer for mobility aids in Ontario, Canada. She also has a passion for therapeutic horseback riding and is certified with the American Hippotherapy Association. Other occupational pursuits Melissa enjoys include being a proud mother, playing soccer, horseback riding, reading and gardening.

A Research/Clinical Example
Dr. Tanya Packer is a professor of Occupational Therapy at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She has been heavily involved in low vision rehabilitation research around the world. In Australia, Tanya contributed to research on, among many other topics, the psychological and emotional aspects of vision loss. She was also involved in research on self-management programs for people with vision loss , which were associated with improvements in occupational participation and well-being. A notable self-management program that Tanya co-developed in Australia, called Living Safe, has, with her efforts, been implemented at CNIB in Halifax. Living Safe teaches self-defence skills to people with a visual impairment. It aims to increase confidence in home and community environments. A CNIB article showcasing positive reviews of the program can be found here . Currently, in addition to her research work, Tanya serves on the National Board for CNIB and works closely with Dalhousie students who complete fieldwork placements at CNIB.

Conclusion & Invitation
From promoting research and evidence-based practice, to using their holistic OT perspective to empower individuals in removing barriers to participation, OT’s have a strong role to play within vision rehab. We gave only a couple of examples of how OT’s are contributing, and invite you to share more when you join us on August 30th 2016 at 12 noon Pacific Daylight Time (click here for a time-zone conversion).  We will discuss questions such as:
● How can OT uniquely contribute to the interdisciplinary team in vision rehab?
● How can we prove the value of OT in vision rehab?
● What experience of working with people with visual impairments have you had?

Note 1: As the OT in Low Vision Rehabilitation Network develops we are working on articles, workshops, and presentations to discuss the role of OT in this area. The transcript from this #OTalk may be used to contribute to a greater understanding of the global story. Any ideas or tweets used will be anonymous. If you do not wish to have any of your tweets or a particular tweet used, please let us know. The research ethics board at the University of British Columbia has been consulted and it was concluded that ethical approval for this was unnecessary.
Note 2: Thank you to Ellen Johnson, Kathleen Sullivan, and Minnie Teng for their assistance putting this blog together.

Kaldenberg, J., Markowitz, M., Markowitz, R. E., & Markowitz, S. N. (2011). The multi-disciplinary nature of low vision rehabilitation- A case report. Work, 39(1), 63-66.

Schoessow, K. (2010) Shifting from compensation to participation: a model for occupational therapy in low vision. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73(4), 160-169.

Rees, G., Saw, C. L., Lamoureux, E. L., & Keeffe, J. E. (2007). Self-management programs for adults with low vision: needs and challenges. Patient education and counseling, 69(1), 39-46.

World Health Organization. (2014). Visual impairment and blindness: Fact sheet N°282. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/

Post Chat Updates

The Numbers

1,203,676 Impressions
379 Tweets
31 Participants

#OTalk Participants

Online Transcript 

PDF of Transcript #OTalk – 30 August 2016

26th July 2016 Medical Tourism and Occupational Therapy

This week @Sweet_Hiral will be hosting #Otalk

Medical Tourism is booming these days. People are willing to get medical services from best possible care facilities/organizations but lower prices. The definition suggests, “As the cost of healthcare began to rise in industrialized countries, particularly in the United States, the face of medical tourism began to change to include individuals seeking affordable and timely alternatives to surgery or treatment in their home countries” (Bennie, 2014) and such needs created the idea of the Medical Tourism. According to Kher (2006), “Medical services in India are particularly affordable, with prices as low as 10% of those in the United States” (as cited by Horowitz, Rosensweig, & Jones, 2007, p. 2).

As cited by Howard Bye, the reasons for changing health care trend for medical tourism is:

“(1) to receive specific medical treatments not found in their countries;
(2) to obtain more immediate surgery or other medical care;
(3) to receive lower-cost dental and medical services;
(4) to get treatment not covered by their health insurance;
(5) to purchase cheaper prescription drugs; and
(6) to shop for medical procedures not approved by regulatory bodies in their home countries, such as the Food and Drug Administration” (as cited by Bennie, 2014, p. 584).

I found an interesting article that suggested a few facts on why the medical tourism is being utilized more among people from developed countries like the United Kingdom and the United States.

Bennie (2014, p. 585) suggested following four groups of clients who prefer medical tourism for health care services.
• Some are from countries that ration health care, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, and are looking to avoid long waiting lists for treatment in their country of origin.
• Underinsured Americans, including U.S. retirees who do not yet qualify for Medicare
• A third group is composed of middle-class Americans seeking cosmetic surgery that is not covered by their insurance, or that is cheaper than their insurance deductibles
• The final group is the affluent upper-class of developing countries, which seeks medical care in the United States or other developed countries to receive a higher quality of attention than the patient-tourist would win at home.

I wanted to discuss the scope of medical tourism in the occupational therapy field. The occupational therapy service charges are also becoming expensive. In some countries people get treatments daily and in some countries the treatments are restricted to once or twice a week as per the medical insurance policy coverage. That means, services are pretty expensive and not everyone is willing to afford daily and consistent therapy. At such point, I believe, medical tourism is a great option for specific conditions for example, learning activities of daily living or getting trained on how to modify your home environment etc. The qualified occupational therapist would help client to gain recovery within budget even if they count tourism-flight fare and stays. For example, these days many developing countries are providing fascinating medical tourism packages that includes therapy charges with their long term stay.

There is always a thought when you think about getting treatment with minimal prices. But, I believe that is a myth. Today, health care education and organization standards have been raised to international qualification levels. So when developed countries are welcoming medical tourism, they do not risk those standards to get any legal or ethical negative aftereffects. The series would be of similar assessment scale standards, procedures, and equipments to get a name in the OT-tourism field. I believe, the OT tourism would serve the purpose of providing OT care services to the population that never thought could afford it in the same country.

Following questions in this OTalk session will be discussed:

1. What is the client-therapist ratio in your country of work? Are those equivalent to the necessary standards from the governing organization or it is less than what is needed? (For example, one therapist needed per 50 population).
2. Do you think Occupational therapists should know each other globally to develop medical aka OT-Tourism?
3. Have you ever sent any client to some other occupational therapist in another country?
4. Do you think the therapeutic service charges should be similar globally to avoid such tourism ? or you think that it is a great opportunity for clients to get therapy procedures in a budget friendly manner?
5. Have you thought about enhancing your OT-contacts globally for the medical tourism purpose for your client? Sometimes patients from another country visit your country, and at the time of ‘good-byes,’ such contact lists could help you become a global therapist if you could guide/refer them to continue similar therapy in their country.
6. Are there any threats you feel with OT-tourism?
7. Do you know any facility that runs OT-Tourism?
8. Share your Final thoughts


Bennie, R. (2014). Medical tourism: A look at how medical Outsourcing can reshape
health care. Retrieved from

Horowitz, M. D., Rosensweig, J. A., & Jones, C. A. (2007). Medical Tourism: Globalization
of the Healthcare Marketplace. Medscape General Medicine, 9(4), 33.

Post Chat Updates

The Numbers

1,145,441 Impressions
351 Tweets
25 Participants

#OTalk Participants

Online Transcript from HealthCare HashTags. 

PDF of Transcript: #OTalk – 26th July 2016