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ADVANCE for Occupational Therapy Practitioners is thrilled to welcome you to OT Blogs, part of the Healthcare POV: Blog and Forum Community from ADVANCE. Our new blogs offer posts covering timely questions, advice and opinions about the occupational therapy field. Please take a moment to read our bloggers' bios to learn more about each of them. We have provided tags to assist in locating topics of interest. And feel free to use the comment area after each blog entry to interact with our bloggers. We look forward to hearing more about the occupational therapy field from your Point of View (POV).
November 24, 2015 3:02 PM by Dillon Stickle of ADVANCE Outlook: OT

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) announced in a news release Friday that the state of New York just became the final state to enact a licensure law for occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) following Hawaii, who enacted their licensure law for OTs and OTAs in July 2014. The law will ...

November 23, 2015 10:20 AM by Dan Eisner of Energizing Healthcare

A new client that started really took to these teachings. This formerly depressed woman looked bright as sunshine the next day and was excited to tell me how she'd been implementing what she was learning.

Essentially, she was becoming more aware of awareness and was already able to make more empowering choices. Clearly, something really impacted her. I wanted to find out what she found most helpful, so ...

November 10, 2015 11:48 AM by Debra Karplus of When OTs Wore White Shoes

I am a member of the Neighborhood Services Advisory Board here in my town. Via a recent city event, I met a lovely young woman who is employed by the city's public works department, specifically recycling. Over dinner, several of us started talking and I discovered that this woman was also involved in Paralympic Volleyball. Confused why that such a very poised and able-bodied ambulatory woman was involved in sports ...

November 5, 2015 11:21 AM by Brian Ferrie of ADVANCE Outlook: OT

The American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF), Bethesda, Md., issued a press release in late October announcing research priorities to work toward its vision of a vibrant science that builds knowledge to support effective, evidence-based ...


I would like to apologize to my readers for my lack of entries and posts over the past couple of months. As a writer, I don't really believe there's ever a *good* reason to *not* be writing, but if there was one, I feel like I would probably have it right now.

My mother - and A.'s grandmother, whom she has affectionately called "Grasshopper" ever since she was a small child - has been diagnosed with stage IV ...

October 30, 2015 12:13 PM by Debra Karplus of When OTs Wore White Shoes

You probably have never heard of either Ray Spooner or Lynda Holman but both could use your help. Ray is a 56 year old nurse midwife living here in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. I have known him and his family for many years. Ray is a fascinating man with many interests. I attended his Bar Mitzvah earlier this year. He did an amazing job reading portions of The Torah. At times, he was difficult to understand, not because ...

October 27, 2015 11:18 AM by Debra Karplus of When OTs Wore White Shoes

It seems that I attend a lot of funerals these days, mostly of parents of my friends. At this recent funeral, the deceased had been a lively 93 years old. A bad fall at home and a nasty bump on the head lead to complications that ended her life rather quickly.  

At the meal after the funeral service, I shared with a few people that I was an occupational therapist and that many of my patients, particularly ...

October 16, 2015 3:36 PM by Dillon Stickle of ADVANCE Outlook: OT

In the 1960s and '70s, a good number of baby boomers, post-war people born between the years 1946 and 1964, were rolling, lighting up, and passing around marijuana joints. (Just for the record, that activity was never part of my repertoire!) Now, forty or so years later, those same people are concerned about a different sort of joint, namely, their knees and hip joints. 

Many of my baby boomer peers ...


There is an amazing local autism group in our area, called Artistic Spectrum, that focuses on providing creative and recreational opportunities for children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. A. has participated in many of the activities provided by this organization in the past couple of years - from painting pumpkins, to watching A Christmas Carol, to participating ...

October 1, 2015 5:07 PM by Jon Bassett of ADVANCE Outlook: OT

October is Disability Awareness Month. The personal finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2015's Best and Worst Cities for Americans with Disabilities, and recently released the results.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly five million people with disabilities were employed in 2014. However, the unemployment rate for those with a disability continues ...

September 30, 2015 2:58 PM by Debra Karplus of When OTs Wore White Shoes

My friend died recently. I don't know the official cause of death, but I definitely know that he had some dementia that became totally debilitating during the last years of his life - so debilitating that he couldn't function on his own or even in an assisted living facility. He spent his final years in a long term care facility near his daughter's home, far away from anything familiar. 

I had met him ...

September 22, 2015 3:18 PM by Debra Karplus of When OTs Wore White Shoes

The Park District here advertises free yoga in one of our most beautiful parks each Saturday morning at nine during the summer months. I enjoy doing yoga, and the word "free" always screams my name, so this activity had been on my bucket list for the past couple years since they first started offering it.

A few weekends ago, I finally had no distractions and nothing keeping me from digging out my yoga mat ...

September 18, 2015 5:29 PM by Brian Ferrie of ADVANCE Outlook: OT

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) just issued a press release this week declaring that hundreds of OT clinicians, educators, and students from across the United States will meet with elected officials Sept. 28 on Capitol Hill. They intend to discuss key legislative ...

September 16, 2015 3:44 PM by Dan Eisner of Energizing Healthcare

Yesterday I spoke with an extremely depressed guy with a long history of alcohol abuse. My colleague told me that the doctors were ready to discharge him stating, "There is nothing we can do for him if he does not want to go to rehab."

You didn't have to be Freud to recognize that this guy was trapped inside his depression. His thought process was perpetuating his illness. I couldn't ask him a question without him ...

September 16, 2015 2:42 PM by Debra Karplus of When OTs Wore White Shoes

Yesterday, we stopped at our favorite ice cream store to treat ourselves to hot fudge sundaes. Living in a relatively small town for a long time, I often find myself running into people that I know from some little pocket of my life, and while standing in line watching our sundaes being prepared, it happened once again. There was Lauren, with two adults who, presumably, were her mom and dad.

Lauren is a very ...

September 9, 2015 11:01 AM by Debra Karplus of When OTs Wore White Shoes

Through a friend, I heard an incredibly sad story that I share over and over, especially with pregnant teens and new moms. An upper middle class, highly educated couple left their two month old with an experienced nanny while they went out for an appointment with their older child, after which they wanted to do some errands. While at the mall, they received the phone call that no parent would ever want to get. The ...


I have a history of going all out for A.'s birthdays, and considering that she was going to be turning 16 this year, I wanted to make sure it was extra special. A. said that she wanted to have a video game themed party, featuring some of her favorite games (Mario, Pokemon, Pacman, etc.) So, I got the idea to call it a "16-bit" party (since she w

After visiting Party City and ...

September 4, 2015 10:40 AM by Dillon Stickle of ADVANCE Outlook: OT

While there are many important differences between the physical and occupational therapy fields, it is more often than not found that each profession can learn a lot from the other. ...

August 31, 2015 12:52 PM by Debra Karplus of When OTs Wore White Shoes

A friend's father, a robust and relatively healthy man in his eighties, went down to the basement to assess the water damage after recent heavy rains and fell.  One problem lead to another and within about six weeks, he passed away.  We had just been at a barbecue with him right before his fall, and it was hard to imagine such a quick demise.

A patient of mine in his forties had been doing ...

August 26, 2015 1:22 PM by Debra Karplus of When OTs Wore White Shoes

For about twenty five years, I swam laps in an indoor pool near my house once or twice a day almost daily. My form was never great, and my swim lasted only about twenty minutes. After my swim I'd sometimes stay for use of the steam room or the whirlpool. When I was finished, I came out feeling clean and relaxed, like a blob of spaghetti, yet invigorated. People who swim laps regularly can probably relate to this ...

August 20, 2015 4:11 PM by Dan Eisner of Energizing Healthcare

By her own admission, we had a real "Debbie Downer" in our program the last 10 days. She was full of excuses and would not take any responsibility for the quality of her life.  It was obvious that she was not invested in making any changes and was just going through the motions.

My colleague Mark advises that "we should never be working harder than our clients." This is especially true when working with ...

August 19, 2015 11:56 AM by Jon Bassett of ADVANCE Outlook: OT

Editor's Note: This blog was guest-written by Maher Kharma, MHS, OTR/L, CEAS, occupational therapist at Doctors Community Hospital, Lanham, MD

While occupational therapists wear various hats at different times to maximize client independence, they also function well, and are equipped to do so, as the ones who step in to renovate lifestyles.

Recently, a 65-year-old stroke survivor came to our ...

August 17, 2015 10:05 AM by Debra Karplus of When OTs Wore White Shoes

Mindfulness is popular these days. It seems that many conversations I have with people turns toward the subject of mindfulness. People are heading to mindfulness training, workshops, and even retreats. I find it interesting that many of these folks are some of the most neurotic people that I know. But, when I think about it, that really does make sense. Perhaps they need to become more mindful than other people might! ...


Last week, I shared my concerns about A. returning to school. She was highly anxious, and there were several challenges she was going to have to overcome in order to be successful.

Now that she's completed the first week, I am happy to report that she has managed her anxiety and is doing well in the classroom so far. She still has complaints, of course. While she, fortunately, doesn't share any classes with the ...

August 10, 2015 12:09 PM by Debra Karplus of When OTs Wore White Shoes

The other day, I started thinking about an interesting interaction that happened a few years ago with a couple of co-workers. I'm not even sure what prompted this experience to pop into my head when it did, but I will share the story.

At a long term care rehabilitation facility in a small town just outside of where I live, I worked as an occupational therapist supervising a crew of certified occupational therapy ...



The ADVANCE for Occupational Therapy Practitioners editorial staff will discuss issues in the occupational therapy profession, current events in healthcare and offer their personal views and tips for your enjoyment.

The Pediatric Perspective blog is a place to come to learn of new and existing strategies for anyone working in Pediatrics or anyone who has a young loved one with occupational therapy needs.  Join Wendy as she shares these strategies along with the struggles and triumphs of being a mom and therapist navigating the Special Education world with her son.

The mother of an autistic girl shares her story about her daughter's sensory issues, the various treatments she has received, and how "living on the spectrum" affects everyday life for her family.

Tim Banish, Sr., COTA, Retired will share his thoughts on important issues such as COTA salaries, productivity requirements, and the current changes in healthcare. My main focus will be issues older Americans are facing and long term care.

Dan Eisner is a psychiatric OT in the department of psychiatry at the University of MD Medical Center and a private certified coach at http://www.keyinsightcoaching.com/ with over 15 years experience. Dan has been inspiring thousands of people with his unique blend of services which includes a basic understanding of mind-body science, emotional intelligence, and practical spirituality.

Iris Kimberg MS PT, OTR,  CEO of NYTherapyGuide, will keep therapists current on issues, trends and opportunities in the private sector.

Occupational therapy has changed a lot over the past four decades, and it continues to evolve. Follow Debra L. Karplus, MS, OTR/L as she shares the wisdom that comes with being a seasoned occupational therapist.