Monday, 15 October 2012

Areas to record

Hello again everybody.
Its coming to the end of semester soon and i feel i have not understood fully the affect Sign language has in some people's lives.
I have decided to talk about each area that is outlined in my course information.
After reading this i hope you have a better understanding of Sign language and an overall picture of the contexts surrounding it.

To start of New Zealand sign Language is seen as one of the official languages of New Zealand. This is all outlined in the New Zealand sign language Act 2006.

So i feel that the purpose of sign language is for communication. It is used for necessity and also for meaning. Without the use of sign language the deaf community would have no way of communicating with each others and other members of society therefore would not have much meaning in their life as they would not be able to communicate what they are doing.
Sign language is used allover the world yet NZ sign language is different from American sign.

Sign language helps the deaf community with their identity. They can identify with each other and communicate with each other. 'Deaf identify with other Deaf people because of shared experiences – communication barriers, issues, different needs and goals. As a group of people who respond to things visually, Deaf customs include various forms of artistic expression, such as signed poetry, story-telling and visual arts.' (Deaf Aotearoa, n.d.)  This language also helps them to communicate therefore identify with a wider community. There are groups and clubs for those that use sign language. Through the use of sign users can express themselves just how others express themselves through verbal words.
I am not sure how i feel I identify with sign Language presently. I am not sure how often i will use it yet i feel that once i am in the work place and have trouble communicating with a client then i will use it appropriately. I think that once i have used it in the workplace then i will identify with it in some way.

The technical aspects to sign language are rather simple. You need hands to create the signs, and rescorces to learn from weather this be a peer, book, internet or DVD.
There is no cost involved unless you are buying a book or DVD.

The main environments that i think people learn sign in is a classroom environment, weather this be at school or night classes. Otherwise i feel it would be in their own home.

'For the ten percent of Deaf children who are born to Deaf parents, NZSL is their first language.  These children learn to sign from their parents; just as hearing, children learn spoken language from their hearing parents.
However, the majority of Deaf people (90 percent) are born to hearing parents and therefore do not acquire NZSL as their first language. While some hearing parents do teach their Deaf children NZSL, for the majority NZSL is learnt at a Deaf school and by interacting with other Deaf children and adults at Deaf education centres, clubs and other social or sports activities.' (Deaf Aotearoa, n.d.)
It would be different learning in a classroom environment compared to at home as you would be interacting with others. When learning by myself at home i have not had anybody i can communicate my learning with whereas in a classroom environment you would have others interesting in learning the same skill that you can communicate with.
'A central part of the culture are Deaf clubs, where Deaf get together to pursue common interests. Here friendships are made and renewed and even romance blossoms. Deaf clubs exist all over New Zealand and provide a space in which Deaf culture thrives.' (Deaf Aotearoa, n.d.)

Barriers and affordances. I feel as though i have faced many barriers when learning sign language but not many affordances. The main barrier i faced was time. Time is not something i have enough spare of. I would plan to learn some new signs but then something else would come up and need to be done. e.g finding a new flat. I think i may have been able to learn a lot more sign if i had set aside an hour a week and maybe gone to a class to learn therefore nothing else would be able to fill that time slot.

I would of liked to learn more sign in the time i had. i do know the alphabet so i can spell out words but it would be nice to have learn words. There is still so much to be learnt and to be able to communicate with someone else is a completely different story. I will always remeber the sign alphabet and i would love to enrol in a class once i am fully qualified to become an expert and then communicate with someone whose only language is sign.

K x

Deaf Aotearoa (n.d).  Facts about Deaf. Retrieved from

Friday, 28 September 2012


Hello again everyone.
Sorry it has taken me so long to write on my blog again but i have been extremely busy with classes.
Even tho i have been busy i have not been to busy to sign.

I printed off pictures of the letters in the NZ sign alphabet and put them on my wall, then whenever i went past i would sign a few letters.
I then increased the amount i was doing until i could do the whole alphabet.
I became so happy with myself and being able to remember the hand movements that i have been showing anybody that has a spare 2 minutes the whole sign alphabet.

I then got to thinking do i know the alphabet only because i know which movements come after each other?

So i started to sign words. It began by looking for words on signs etc and spelling them out and now if somebody says a short sentence that stays in my head i can sign this.
I admit this was difficult at first as i was not used to signing the letters out of order but now it is easyier.
I find i am still a bit slow but am definatly faster than before.

I am going to work on spending up my letters next.
I also think i may learn a few sentances, maybe things such as 'how are you?' and 'My name is'
Any suggestions i am open to hear.

Thanks for reading

K x

Monday, 10 September 2012

New Semester, New occupation!

Hey guys,
so i am back, semester 2 of second year already.
This semester we have a class called PIO2 where we have to learn a new occupation that we have never done before.
This got me thinking, i didn't want to try a new occupation that i didnt think would in some way help me in the future or that i would not enjoy.
Whilst on placement 2 our longitudinal placement i was at a school, some of the children there were unable to communicate verbally so used sign language to get across what they needed.

This form of communication excited me so i decided after that placement that i would like to learn to communicate through sign. Unfortunately i never got around to this so when i heard about learning a new occupation i jumped at the idea of starting sign language.

I automatically had ideas streaming through my head. I have decided to use this blog to keep a record of how i am progressing and might even video a few things to prove to you all that i know how to sign. Sometimes you need to see it to believe it :)

How am i going to learn sign language?
My flat mate knows some sign language so she has kindly offered to help me learn this new occupation. I am also going to use the good old internet and you tube videos to help embed the actions in me brain. 

So far i have gone onto the Deaf Aotearoa website and have learnt 3 words that i feel may be helpful one day. This website provided me with a youtube link tyo the words which helped me understand the actions.

The words are



The next challenge i will be setting myself is to learn the New Zealand sign language alphabet. I feel that once i have mastered this i can then spell out words.

Will keep you all posted on how i am progressing.

Kate x

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Assistive Technology. Talking Tins.

Hello again,
This weeks task has been around assistive technology. During one of our classes this week we had Trev from Star mobility in Hamilton come and talk to us about devices that can help people with their occupations and tasks.

So what are assistive devices you may ask? they are defined by Cook and Hussey ( 2000) as 'Any item, piece of equipment or product system whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized that is used to increase or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.'

In my terms.. Assistive technology is anything that may help a person with a task or occupation and therefore make it easier.

When Trev came into visit us he brought with him switches of all shapes and sizes, keyboards with larger visual buttons, electronic talking photo albums and much more. The piece of equipment I found the most interesting and useful for a large part of the population was Talking Tins.

Talking Tins allow you to record your voice and then play it back whenever the button is pushed. This device can be used to attach to the top of food containers and the name of the food programmed in, the use of this could benefit those with visual impairments. I also feel that the use of these tins could help a number of other disabilities. They could be used with children that have learning or speech difficulties. The programmed in words could be something they need to learn and remember or the name of an object that they need to understand what it is. This device could also benefit the older population and those with memory loss. they could program in the jobs or tasks they need to do. For example a caretaker who may forget what he has to do once he leaves the shed and get to his destination could program in his jobs then push the tin when he forgets.

This piece of equipment helps people to increase in their occupations by allowing them to either understand objects or help with memory.

This is a Talking Tin...

This picture was retrieved from
This website is of Star Mobility, Trev and his team in Hamilton New Zealand.

Talking tins are the size of a tin or jar and light. This is a good size to fit in pockets or easily in the palm of hands.

On Trev's website they sell Talking Tins for  $59.90 for a 3 pack.
the tins can be brought as yellow ones with a single ten second message and the red ones can have sequential message of 30 seconds,

This YouTube video gives you a short and sweet overview of Talking tins and their applications.

This next video shows how Talking Tins can be used in the education sector.

Now moving on to how these devices can help out with occupational Deprivation and transition.
Occupational deprivation is 'a prolonged preclusion from engagement in occupations of necessity or meaning due to factors outside the control of an individual such as through geographical isolation,incarceration or disability.' (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010). Talking tins can help with occupational deprivation in a way that lets people preform their occupations. For example eating/ prepareing a meal, those that are vision impaired may have felt unable to do this occupation as they could not see what food they were getting out of the containers. With talking tins they can now hear what food is in the containers and complete the occupation.
Occupation transition is 'Circumstances creating a change in the nature or type of occupational engagement pursued by or available to an individual. such transitions may be the result of choice, changes in physical or mental status, life transitions, geographical change, geopolitical strife, or other factors'. Talking Tins can help in this area also. For someone who has acquired short term memory loss being asked to do a task and then going to do a task can be hard as their short term memory does not remember what was asked. this transition would be frustrating for a person who's memory was once fine. Take a farmer for instance. He may have been farming his whole life and always know what needed to be done. If he acquires short term memory loss he may forget what he has to do by the time he gets to the back paddock. with a talking tin he could programme in a message so that when he gets to the back paddock he can push the button, listen to the message and complete the occupation.

Hope this has got you all thinking about assistive devices and that there may just be one out there that could help you.

K x

Christiansen, C.H. & Townsend, E.A. (2010). Introduction to Occupation; the Art and Science of Living. (2nd. ed.) Upper Saddle River, New Jersey : Pearson
 Cook, A.M., & Hussey, S.M. (2000). Assistive technologies: principles and practice. St Louis: Mosby

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Internet and online communities

This weeks task is to find three online communities that relate to a topic of interest from our fieldwork experience. My fieldwork experience was with clients that have arthritis. In this post i am going to focus on communities that may help clients that have arthritis in their hands. When looking at communities i have tried to find some that clients can post to and ask questions relating to occupations that are effected by their arthritis.

Arthritis Foundation

This website has everything anyone would need once they find out they have arthritis. There is new about research and anything outstanding to do with arthritis, forums and discussions you can join and just general information about any type of arthritis.
I think that once you look through all the pages of this site (and there are heaps) that it will talk about occupational justice, disruption, transition and deprivation.
Take a look.

On this page there is a section called community. You can join for free and share information and ideas, help others and make friends who are going through the same ordeal.
This community page is very interactive and you can set up your own blog, upload a photo and tell your story.

This site would have to be the best one i found. Once you look into it a bit further you would be able to join groups that suit you and help you get what you need.

Grown ups
The first online community i have found is called 'Grown Ups'.
Have a look.

This is a New Zealand site that connects people from all over the country. people can post to the forums or become a member and chat to others.
This site is made for adults over the age of 50 and talks about a wide range of medical conditions. The intended purpose of the site is to connect and inform the population about any medical conditions or problems they may be experiencing. The site is very interactive and provides articles and discussion forums for the public to read. People can contribute after they have joined the site by posting to the forums and discussions and talking to other people that may be in the same boat. People contribute with their own experiences and advice for others.

The information shared on this site is helpful to those in the population that suffer from arthritis as it talks about how you can help prevent symptoms and how to help with the pain and lack of movement. There are a couple of discussions talking about occupations such as knitting and how these occupations have been effected by having arthritis in the hands. People have posted about tricks they have come across when doing these activities that help to aid them and make occupations a bit easier.
this site looks at occupational disruption and deprivation. many people talk about a time in their lives when they couldn't do certain occupations and others talk of occupations they cannot do at all due to arthritis in hands.

Playing guitar and arthritis

So this website i have found is slightly different. When looking at occupations that people do some people enjoy to play musical instruments and this is a big part of their well-being.
This website looks at a number of things all around a certain type of guitar. there is news articles and disscussions but the one discussion i found interesting was called 'Older players & sore arthritic hands'.

Have a look.

This online community is much like the one above where as it is people posting about issues they are having and remidies they have for arthritis in hands. This page is slightly different however as it is centered around guitar playing and is for all ages not just over 50. People can contribute with whatever they feel may help others or just their own experiences. Just like the above site this one also talks about occupational deprivation and disruption.

There may be a few ethical issues that arise from communities such as these. Things like lack of identity and accountability. Would you really know who anybody was or if they were safe to talk to in a community like this. And who is overall responsible for what content is put in the discussion forums. is it all shown or is there some kind of filter?
Some of the benefits of online communities such as these is that it brings people together who may not be able to under certain circumstances join a group in their town. It allows people to contact others who may have similar problems and help them seek answers. For some people making friends and knowing they are not alone is a large part of online communities. Another benefit may be that people make friends with other in other parts of the country and could go visit these people.
Some of the limitations of online communities is that people may not be getting to spend any time with other people as they are online. They lack the face to face contact that is important in socializing and can occur in traditional geographical communities. 

K x

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Hand Therapy. Video production part two.

This weeks task has been to : Find five different sources of online video content that help explain, demonstrate, or provide personal experiences of your topic.These videos had to relate to one of our fieldwork experiences.

On my very first placement i was placed in a rehabilitation center for patients with severe arthritis and other chronic diseases.
One of the most interesting experiences i had during this placement was taking part in the hand therapy class. This class helped patients with stretches for range of movement and muscles strengthening exercises for their wrist and hands. There were a number of these classes where the patients were showed a different tool and or stretches, the patients joined in the classes and completed the exercises with the OT.
The patients had an overall positive attitude after this particular class as the exercises were something that could help them manage their hands and continue with at home. 

One of the first hand therapy sessions was to show patients the type of equipment they could purchase to take home that would assist in stretching and strengthening. This first video is a short one showing Therapeutic putty and a couple of stretches that can be done using it. There are a large number of exercises that can be done using the putty which comes in different resistances. 

This second video has the same concept as the therapeutic Putty using similar exercises but are completed with a ball instead. 

Another interesting exercise idea for hands that i was showed on fieldwork was the use of American Sign Language alphabet. Each letter creates a different shape with the hand and stretches the muscles and joints in different ways. 
This video is a fun little song showing the letters and the hand shapes of the alphabet. 

This next video is a lady showing hand exercises but in a way that makes you feel like you are watching a yoga or pilates clip.  Its slightly longer than the other clips but worth a watch. I have to admit i joined in and copied her when i watched this clip. 

There are a number of other ways to stretch and strengthen the hand such as useing husehold items but unfortunatly i could not find any videos of these.
The last video i did find and found interesting is of a man that has had a hand transplant and this is him during a therapy session. you can see he does not have full range back in his joint yet but that the transplant has been a sucess. 

 I feel that hand therapy is an important part of an OT's role as the hands are a main part in taking part in a large amount of occupations. If we all can understand a little bit about how hand therapy works and how people can be effected if they cannot use their hands then it may be easier for us to help our clients in the long run.

Hope you enjoy these videos guys.

K. x

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Occupational Disruption. Video production part one.

This weeks task was to create a 1minute video about a chosen topic. The topics we had to chose from were:
  • Occupational Justice
  • Occupational Disruption
  • Occupational Transition
  • Occupational Deprivation
My group consisted of Craig, Eliane, Shannon and Myself. As a team we decided to work on the topic of Occupational Disruption.

Occupational Disruption is described by Christansen and Townsend (2010) as  'A transient or temporary condition of being restricted from participation in necessary or meaningful occupations, such as that caused by illness, temporary relocation, or temporary unemployment'.

Because we are students who like to think outside the box we decided not to use ourselves in this video production but add life to Shannon's old barbie dolls. 
This idea did not go down to well with Craig the only male in our group but he came around once we explained the plot.

In this movie Barbie loves to dance, but then one night as she is walking home she gets run over by a drunk driver and loses her leg.
Barbie is so upset in hospital (you can even see her tears) that she will never be able to dance again. This is when Barbie OT comes into the picture and shows her that she could get a prosthetic leg.
This delights Barbie and before you know it she is out dancing with her friends once again.

Our team worked very well together, taking turns at being barbie whilst Craig videoed the entire sequence. The filming was a lot of fun and lots of laughs. Eliane then did amazing film editing and she came up with our final video.

Hope you enjoy.

K. x

Christiansen, C. H., & Townsend, E. A. (2010). Introduction to occupation: the art and science of living (2nd ed.). New Jersey, USA: Pearson Education Inc