Thursday, 17 May 2012

Online Communities - Music Therapy Groups

Music Therapy Groups

For this tutorial task I will outline three different music therapy groups and associations as a source of online communities that offer a networking service for people participating and facilitating music therapy groups. In the field of occupational therapy, therapists may use and/ or recommend websites or online groups to individuals so as they can communicate and network with these services, online groups and forums to further aid individuals in their discharge process.

Music Therapy New Zealand, The Music Club and Music and Movement Association are three online communities which people can use as a network provider to gain information about music therapy groups and to share knowledge.

Music Therapy New Zealand:

The Music Therapy New Zealand site helps people to explore the world of music therapy. It contains information regarding why music therapy is important, particularly for children and what forms of techniques they cover. This information is important for individuals both seeking this form of intervention for their children but also for those who are interested in the topic at hand.

As part of this site there is a 'frequently asked questions' in which people can easily access information they want to know. This is applicable for both therapists and people interested in the topic. This section covers many valid points people interested in Music Therapy want to know and also there is the opportunity for people to contribute if they find necessary.

This form of online community is a closed group in which one has to apply and request to join but once this has been achieved access to all parts of the website is available and contributions can be made. However due to this process it does not allow people to receive answers to their questions directly. This page also is limited in its navigation properties. Some elements are not easy to access or to find out where the appropriate information is.

However this sight does have its advantages in that you can acquire details of therapists and other music groups through the site with out having to be a member, giving people that unattached obligation if they require it.

This community can be accessed here:
Music Therapy New Zealand

The Music Club

The Music Club is another online community focusing of music groups with children. This site communicates with people in a less professional manor, allowing people to 'come and go' from the site as they please. This site is aimed to educate parents and careers about how music can assist children with disabilities.

There is selected sections in this site that allows individuals to find and access geographical communities associated with this group. It also like the Music Therapy New Zealand community has a question and answer section in which parents can receive feedback about specific therapies relating to their child's condition.

This community is more applicable for parents and careers as well as therapists. The terminology is less jargon like and is more centred to its client base. There is also great detailed pictures that show the therapy in practice. This is helpful to those wanting to participate in the music therapy group.
Some ethical issues would have to be considered with these photos as although this site is considered public one would need to ensure the photos were published with creative commons so that other members of music group communities could use them to illustrate the work of the group.

This site can be accessed here:
The Music Club

Music and Movement Association

Music and Movement Association particularly focuses on music groups in the early childhood sector and the benefits music has on young minds for example, growth in learning development and developig non-verbal communication.

This site acts as a networking system for other music groups, as it allows these smaller local music groups to access resources and advertise their service through this site. This is seen as a positive to the site as it allows individuals to readily access resources they require to enhance their music group sessions and optimize the child's learning.

This site offers communication systems through the means of there online blog, which various people can access and contribute to.

The site is furthermore segregated into appropriate links so that people can access the appropriate area that corresponds to their needs such as 'parent forum' or 'advertisements'.

Music and Movement have some fantastic ideas for young children so they can learn through music and offer some great game ideas and resources free from charge.

In order to access this site one does not have to be a member however joining the site allows you to receive regular updates and information about the site and other similar services.

This site can be accessed here:
Music and Movement Association

These three sites demonstrate the idea of occupational enrichment and occupational engagement.
Occupational enrichment is defined as the "enhanced environmental resources to enable optimal participation in occupations" (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010, p.420). Music groups help to optimize a child's participation in music discipline and helps to develop their skills to contribute to this area.
Occupational Engagement is defined as "full participation in occupation for the purposes of doing what one needs and wants to do, being, becoming who one desires to be and belonging through shared occupations in communities" (Christiansen & Townsend, 2010, p.420). Music groups help to shape children's identities and allows them to become part of a community they enjoy and to interact in a common language known as music.


Christiansen , C, H., & Townsend, E, A. (2010). Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living. (2nd. Ed.).Upper Saddler River, New Jersey: Pearson.

Occupational Engagement Slideshow

Slideshare Video

This slide show will focus on aspects of play. Play is an important part of our life, not only as a child but throughout our life stages.It is through play that we learn, discover and create our identities. Play is defined as an "occupation selected for amusement, recreation, diversion, sport or frolic" (Christiansen &Townsend, 2010, p. 422).

In this slide show I will look at how play reflects the theme of belonging, being, doing and becoming as part of being an occupational being. 
Play is an interesting aspect of life and whilst on my fieldwork placement i was able to look more closely at why we play, why it is important to do so and how we can use play as an important intervention in practice.
As I have stated above belonging, being, doing and becoming are all important aspects of being human. Wilcock (1998) states that people spend their lives almost constantly engaged in purposeful ‘doing’ also known as occupations and activities often free from obligation.
Wilcock (1998) also discusses the idea of being describes with words such as "existing, living, nature and essence" (p. 250). Also stated in this article is Maslow's (1968) interpretation of being, stating it is the “contemplation and enjoyment of the inner life” (as cited in Wilcock, 1998, p. 250). This idea looks at ones enjoyment they receive for being no one but them self. 

Belonging according to MacMillan Dictionary (2012) is "to feel happy and comfortable in a particular place or with a particular group of people."
Becoming is based on the idea of what we might become in the future but is dependent on the people around us, our values and what we are doing in the future. Unlike the others, becoming has the ability for potential growth as our life progresses (Wilcock, 1998).

As you follow through the slides you will see various pictures of types of play and how they reflect the theme being, becoming, belonging and doing. Slide 1 looks at play in the old days. Slide 2 styles of games children can play. Slide 3 looks at a family playing a board game. Slide 4 looks at social interaction in a social situation. Slide 5 is considers play at all ages. Slide 6 is a photo of children playing a ball game. Slide 7 studies play at a young age. Slide 8 looks at electronic forms of play. Slide 9 looks at interactions with others. Slide 10 looks at playing sports and being part of a team. Slide 11 demonstrates recreational fun. Slide 12 looks at exploring through play. Slide 13 discovers play at a young age and social interaction. Slide 14 and 15 looks at a child exploring life by playing with food. Slide 16 studies the importance of understanding family concepts. Slide 17 and 18 playing and discovering music. Slide 19 and Slide 20 look at the growth of an individual through playing sports.

There were some ethical considerations that i had to take into account when creating the PowerPoint on play. Firstly, some of the photos taken were my own photos and therefore i had to relieve consent from those in the photos in order to publish them. The other photos which were taken from the internet database were published with creative commons which means that anyone can use the photo so there were no breaches of copyright laws. When looking at pictures to use I had to ensure they were from reputable websites so they were authentic photos and were published on the internet for other people to use rather than private photos from networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.


Christiansen , C, H., & Townsend, E, A. (2010). Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living. (2nd. Ed.).Upper Saddler River, New Jersey: Pearson.

McMillan Dictionary. (2012). Belonging definitions. 

Maslow, A. (1968).Towards a psychology of being (2nd ed.). In  Wilcock, A.A. (1998b).  Reflections on doing, being and becoming.  Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, 248-256. 

Wilcock, A.A. (1998b).  Reflections on doing, being and becoming.  Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, 248-256.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Equine Therapy

My first placement as part of my Occupational Therapy degree was in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit. The service focused on helping children and youth with various mental health issues and offered services such social skills groups, various adventure therapy expeditions and one on one treatment. The unit also ran a equine therapy course in conjunction with the local Riding for the Disabled for young children whom had anxiety issues, autism, obsessive compulsive disorder ,  and were struggling with social interaction. Whilst on placement I was lucky enough to be part of this initiative and see first hand how this intervention really changed the lives of these young children.

Not sure what the Riding for the Disabled is? Take a look at this youtube clip!
The Riding for the Disabled is now a worldwide association with similar objectives; helping individuals from all walks of life through the means of equine therapy. It gives a general over view as to how the Riding for the Disabled aids individuals in improving their functioning abilities. It allows them to have a sense of freedom and enjoyment while at the same time playing a huge part in improving their functioning ability.

Horses. The thought for some people is quite daunting, as initially all that springs to mind is a large broad animal with the potential to take control at any point. But there is just so much more to this creature than meets the eyes. This animal has senses that second to none. Not only are they trusting, sensitive and loyal but they also have all the attributes to be a best friend. This is where they become a powerful intervention technique.

This next video shows the powerful journey a horse can take you on..the journey of self discovery. For many young ones this is the most important journey they will ever endure.
It also shows where horse have taken us and where they will continue to take us in future.

The program ran for approximately eight weeks and within this time the children not only learnt fundamental skills of grooming, saddling and riding a horse but they learn't to trust and to be at one with the horse.

Some fundamental skills of what the children learnt is demonstrated in this video. This gives an insight as to the expectations of the children when working with the horses and the information and techniques they were required to learn whilst participating in the program.

While participating in this program I saw children bloom! Children with anxiety were now bold and bright youngsters standing proudly beside their horse. For other children the strong bonds they formed with the horses led to them having a new friendship and helped them to learn to trust and develop their skills as a team.
This video looks at an equine therapy program in McAlister, USA. The children in this video have similar needs to those that I worked with on placement. This video also shows the changes seen in the children and the different interventions used to help the child's functional ability improve. As you will see in this video the children have formed bonds with the horses and how these horses bring a new light to therapy and intervention techniques.


There are some truly amazing stories that eventuate from equine therapy and on my placement I was privileged enough to be a part of these stories! Equine therapy is such a powerful tool and is continuing to grow as an intervention technique in many services around the world! It is a type of intervention that can cover so many areas and can help with so many individuals to overcome their boundaries. This next clip shares with us a story of a young boy with autism. The boys parents and many health professionals struggled to find effective interventions for him and were having trouble communicating with the young boy. Then came along Betty...

This is just a small insight into the world of equine therapy but i hope it has given you a taste as to how great and how powerful this form of therapy is.


YouTube. (2012). How to groom your horse. Retrieved on April 28, 2012 from

YouTube. (2012). Horses and psychology connection. Retrieved on April 28, 2012 from

YouTube. (2012). Horseback riding is proving to be great therapy for special needs kids.
Retrieved on April 28, 2012 from

YouTube. (2012). Community association for riding for the disabled (CARD)
Retrieved on April 28, 2012 from

YouTube. (2012). Autism therapy on horseback, the horse boy, CNN Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks with Rupert Isaacson. Retrieved on April, 28, 2012 from

Friday, 27 April 2012

Blogs of Interest

For the purpose of this tutorial task I have searched blogging sites to find blogs that are of interest to me as an Occupational Therapy student. Some of these that I have attached in my blog feed include OT specific blogs, a blog looking at children's activities and a blog about wii technology as an intervention and also a fellow student's blog.

This is an example of a blog i have had communication with:
Rachel McCoy Participation in Occupation 1

This is an example of our communication:
Louise27 April 2012 20:45
Hi Rachel!
Interesting post! These sites appear to be good outreaches for people with depression. Whilst on fieldwork experience did you direct people to these communities after discharge or as part of intervention?

Rachel McCoy2 May 2012 18:29
Hi Louise,
I didn't have this particular experience myself but this would be definitley something that I would consider in a future mental health setting (especially with adolescents).
Thank you for your interest

Occupational Transition Movie

As part of one of our tutorial tasks, we are asked to construct a short film demonstrating an occupational concept. We choose the idea of occupational transition.

As humans we are constantly changing, developing and transiting through our life stages.This is known as occupational transition and can be further defined as "circumstances creating a change in the nature or type of engagement pursued by or available to an individual." (Christiansen & Townsend, 2011, p.421). Transitions happen throughout our lives whether it be moving house, going to school, starting a new job and many more.

As students, occupational transition has become a large part of our lives. We must learn to adapt to changes in study patterns, a new home away from home and transit into new responsibilities that come with this stage of life. As you will also see this transition has affected us in different ways as we are all individuals and experience transitions through life in different ways. So sit back and enjoy.


Christiansen, C. H. & Townsend, E. A. (2011). Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is becoming more prominent in today's society as the world evolves and changes and our need for technology to assist us in our daily lives increases.

Assistive technology is defined 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” (States Act, as cited in Cook & Hussey, 1995). I perceive Assistive Technology as any form of technology which has been adapted to help increase participation in activities. These may include wheelchairs, communication devices such as iPads, adaptive cutlery, walkers and the list goes on! 

Although there are many forms of Assistive Technology one particular item that I have become rather intrigued about is powered wheelchairs! During our recent Assistive Technology lecture with Dave Speden from Kimi Ora school, a school for children with high needs, in Wellington we were introduced to power chairs and given an insight into how important these are for children in particular.

It was incredible to see how much independence could be given by a piece of equipment and how there are so many gadgets that help aid this independence to give individuals the quality of life they deserve.

Power chairs...well where to begin! There are so many different types available each with modifications to best match the individuals needs.

They vary in sizes, drive types, control types, specialty control configurations and seating systems (Allied Medical, 2012). When considering looking into a powered wheelchair one must consider some of the following questions so the power chair best suits the individual and therefore allows them maximum independence. Some questions include

Allied Medical (2012) states that there are three main types of chairs available; rear wheel drive, mid wheel drive and front wheel drive. A rear wheel drive is a more traditional configuration with the drive wheels behind the backrest of the chair. This type of chair is commonly used with those who have unstable hand functioning and can sometimes be larger and have a larger turning circle (the space in which the chair needs to turn on itself in a complete circle). "A mid-wheel drive and a front-wheel drive have their drive wheels further forward, which allows the power chair to be extremely maneuverable and an ability to turn in a much smaller space than a rear-wheel-drive might require." 

As I said earlier there are so many options of what kind of power chairs you can get!
Check out this websites as examples of the large variety.
Allied Medical

This video is also another example of the range of power chairs available:

Chairs also come with many other gadgets such as blue-toothing capabilities, seating systems, special controllers and so much more!

And the cost you may ask? Well that varies depending on what kind of modifications the chair has and what form of drive it is. Also depending on availability of the chair prices may vary also.

These chairs are amazing in how they help individuals to accomplish their goals. Dave Speden (as mentioned above) spoke about how the use of this technology has aided children to explore, learn, discover and most importantly play which is so so important to children! It helps them to engage in both learning in school hours and outside of school and not only that but helps them to do daily activities.

Having the ability to be able to do this on their own is also so important and having independence at any stage in life is what we all want, need and strive for. 
Shown in this video below is a young girl accomplishing daily tasks independently and given her the freedom to be a child and learn and experience such important parts of life.

This equipment also relates to the term occupational performance, which is used commonly in the Occupational Therapy lingo. This term is defined as a person's ability to do everyday tasks such as working, playing, and relaxing. However for people who has a disability their occupational performance in some areas is restricted and limits them from participating fully in activities.

And this is where amazing technology, such as power chairs, comes in. This technology  breaks down these barriers and allow individuals to fully participate in activities which are of importance to them. It gives individuals independence and helps to eliminate stigma and enables individuals to live the lives they want to. How amazing is that!

Allied Medical. (2012). Power chairs. Retrieved on April 22, 2012 from

Cook, A. M., & Hussey, S. M. (1995). Assistive technologies: Principles and practice. Missouri: Mosby.

Queensland Government. (2007). Occupational performance. Retrieved on April 24, 2012 from

YouTube. (2012). Etac balder junior power wheelchair ENG. Retrieved on April 24, 2012 from 

YouTube. (2012). Invacare TDX electric wheelchair. Retrieved on April 24, 2012 from 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Information Technology

Information Technology. It seems to be what our world and daily life amounts to and revolves around. It assists us, limits us, causes stress and frustration but with out it many things in today's society would not operate like usual . And so the saying goes we can't live it but we can't live without it. 
This blog will look more closely at the term information technology  and some of the ethical issues that arise when we use technology to transport our ideas.
According to Techterms (2012) Information Technology or IT as it is commonly known refers to "anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies."

Each individual will have their own interpretation of what IT is depending of their use and experience of it but to me I see Information technology as a broad term in which many subcategories can branch from and as technology develops and changes this term can only become even broader. Technology constantly comes into my daily life, whether it is accessing course work, social networking through the means of Facebook and other such like networks or for leisure; watching mindless and entertaining videos on youtube. Whatever it may be for and whether we agree with it or not, IT constantly seeps into our lives.

It is due to its convenient, functional and accessible nature that makes technology a very dominant part of our society. Society is slowly but surely becoming more reliant on technology for socialising, education, involvement and to move 'with the times'.
Facebook is one of the new developments information technology has to offer in the socialising department that has taken the world by storm. It has become almost socially unacceptable to not have joined at least some form on online social networking. It has become common practice for many individuals, namely myself, to pop on to 'the book' to catch up on an old friends new adventures or to check with mum what is making for tea. This form of technology slots into my daily life almost subconsciously and for many others this is also the case. It also become the worlds greatest form of distraction! Facebook engulfs you into its easily accessible and functional world and before you know it hours of precious study time are lost..whoops! 

Due to how easy Facebook has become to operate i feel competent in communicating and socialising on this network which is a very important part of my everyday life and what I would class as a  meaningful occupation. However change is something that not everyone accommodates to well, particularly myself, and in true technology style change is inevitable and happens rapidly. This change and the process it takes to get used to it sometimes limits my use of the network and how much i enjoy it.

Technology is becoming more common in Occupational Therapy practice and due to the practicalities it possess it is becoming more useful and relied on too. It is not only used to enhance a clients functional ability in many areas but also as a communication tool, educational tool and as an important tool in many other areas. 
Devices such like interactive video games such as the technology gaming device known as "Wii" can be used in many practices to improve an individuals functional ability. It can be useful to help with both motor and process skills (doing the move/ task and mentally preparing and processing the task) and also social skills with other clients or members of the community. The beauty in this form of technology is that the individual playing it and having fun doesn't always realise that they are improving their abilities, which for some clients can be a straining and tedious task. Wii is just one of the many different forms of technology which can be used to aid Occupational Therapists in their practice and I'm sure that with the growing increase in technology advances there will be plenty more to offer in future.

This video below demonstrates how this technology is already advancing and what is in store for it in future that will potentially help many Occupational Therapists in practice.

However, technology in practice does have some limitations and these include lack of resources and financial limitations in practice and also copy right, publication and also privacy concerns. These can influence not only the way in which technology is used but what type of technology is used in practice also.

An understanding of information technology is paramount to any practice in today's modern world. Many of our daily activities relay or are linked to technology such as work, education and communication and therefore we must grasp an understanding of how this technology operates and how individuals operate it in their daily lives.


Techterms. (2012). IT. Retrieved on 16 April, 2012 from /definition/it

Youtube. (2012). Wii games may help children with cerebral palsy: Daytona beach child injury attorney. Retrieved on 16 April, 2012 from