In this season of giving thanks, ADVANCE has so much to be grateful for. Besides the rewarding response we continue to receive for our dedicated print reporting on the rehabilitation profession, our efforts to expand web and social media coverage have engaged record numbers of readers and fans.
Just as the rehab profession is constantly evolving and reacting to new developments, so too is the journalism profession. We at ADVANCE take pride in our ability to push the cutting edge, offering our community of rehab professionals vital information about the profession you love, while providing opportunities to share your thoughts on these developments through our various interactive platforms.
On our website this month, keep an eye out for Top 10 lists of the most popular blogs and app reviews from 2013 -- which continue to build followers as two of the most popular departments ever offered by ADVANCE. We'll also be showcasing Top 10 lists of the year's best features, multimedia and Student Center articles.
Finally, we want to thank you. Without our tens of thousands of dedicated print readers, hundreds of thousands of web fans and talented contributors too numerous to name, none of this would be possible. We rely on you for interviews and freelance contributions, guest editorials and reader comments.
Your feedback and participation are what enable ADVANCE to keep our fingers on the pulse of the rehab profession. Your passion for that profession inspires us every day. So to all of our readers and fans across the country and around the world, cheers to a great 2013 and here's hoping for an even better 2014!
I did it. On Sept. 15, I attempted and completed my first-ever 13.1-mile race -- the Philadelphia Rock ‘n' Roll Half-Marathon. Although I've been running since I was 13, this particular accomplishment meant a lot to me because my ability to run has been hampered for about 15 years by recurring iliotibial (IT) band tendonitis in my right knee.
I wrote a guest blog post for Philly.com last week about the origins of my injury and how I've tried to manage it. In a nutshell, for most of the past 15 years my efforts to combat the inflammation have consisted of rest, ice, protective knee straps, Ibuprofen, not running on consecutive days and generally limiting myself to about 3 miles when I did run. That was all well and good if the only races I ever wanted to run were 5Ks. But over the past couple years, I became determined to push my limits and stop letting my knee hold me back.
So after doing some research, I incorporated two new key elements into my training. The first was a shortened stride, because I read that keeping it more underneath my center of gravity would decrease stress on my knee and help soften stride impact. The second was regularly using a foam roller to loosen up my hamstrings, quads and IT bands.
Armed with these supplemental tactics, I've been gradually increasing my training mileage and race distances since the spring of 2012. I capped off last year's running season in November with an 8.4-mile loop race along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, the first time I had run that far since high school. Then I challenged myself early this running season by taking on a 10-mile race in ADVANCE's hometown, King of Prussia, PA. But all the while, I knew my ultimate goal was to complete a half-marathon -- and that judgment day finally arrived this week.
So how did it go? Well, I can truly say it was the most physically grueling challenge I've ever faced. But not because of my knee, which held up great. The course was beautiful and the weather perfect (about 60 degrees with clear skies). Music bands and cheer squads along the way definitely helped keep me going.
My goal was to not only finish the half-marathon, but run it at 8-minute-mile pace. I actually impressed myself with how consistent a pace I was able to keep -- almost exactly 8 minutes a mile for each of the first 11 miles. At that point, I found myself staring at 2 miles to go and about 30 seconds overall ahead of goal pace. Mentally I felt very good about the position I had put myself in. Physically, I felt like every muscle in my legs was about to seize up. "Just hold on!" I told myself. "You can do it. You don't have to run any faster -- just maintain." Easier said than done, but I willed myself forward.
By the 13-mile mark, I knew I had lost some seconds and it would come down to the wire whether I reached my time goal or not. So I steeled myself to give every last bit of energy I had for the final 0.1 miles, which turned out to be... uphill. My legs felt like lead weights but I forced them to surge ahead and actually started passing other competitors in the straightaway. As the end loomed, I coaxed one last burst of speed out of my spent body and shot through the finish line. Struggling to walk on wobbly legs in the post-race area, I felt overwhelming relief and satisfaction from having passed such a daunting test.
But did I reach my time goal? I wasn't sure -- and actually thought I might have missed it by a few seconds. Later that day, I pulled out my smartphone and went to the race website in search of posted results. To run at exactly 8-minute-mile pace or better, I needed to finish with a time of 1 hour, 44 minutes and 52 seconds. So I inputted my name, took a deep breath and hoped for the best. My time? 1:44:51! Incredibly, over the course of 13.1094 miles, I had beaten my goal by a single, solitary second. It was an amazing cap to what I already felt was a terrific accomplishment.
Who knows if I'll ever run another half-marathon again? But finishing this one, especially considering the challenges I had to overcome to even reach the starting line, has to rank as one of the greatest moments of my life.
Cancer. It's a scary word for someone of any age, but especially for a child. Great strides have been made in research and treatment, and the long-term survival rate across the board for pediatric cancers stands at roughly 80%.
But going into remission is not the end of the battle. Just like their adult counterparts, young cancer patients can face issues with cognitive and fine-motor skills.
Luckily, concentration, memory, handwriting, social skills, and other issues fit right into the OT wheelhouse. In children's hospitals across the country, occupational therapists are a vital part of a multidisclipinary treatment team. Before and after surgies, chemotherapy and radiation, they work to get their patients back to being themselves again.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Do any of you work with pediatric cancer patients? Share how you help bring back their smiles.
U.S. News and World Report revealed its ranking of the 100 best jobs. Occupational therapy placed 11th.
The report called the market for OT jobs "especially favorable," predicting the number of opportunities will grow more than 30% between now and 2010. The median salary, according to U.S. News and World Report's data, was $73,820 in 2011. For lucky OTs in certain metro areas, though, the average salary rose to greater than $90,000.
But as dedicated OTs, you don't need a report to know that job opportunities and salary are not the only factors that make occupational therapy a rewarding job. The real rewards come in the work that you do every day.
Whether it's Tessa Perkinson, MS, OTR/L, who works as a member of the rehab team in a skilled nursing facility; or Ashley Case MS, OTR/L, who teaches her fellow OTs the P.L.A.Y project to better work with autistic children; or Mary Ann Dykstra, OTR/L, CHT and Lisa Gandor, MS, OTR/L, who teach patients home exercise routines after being discharged from the hospital; or Stephanie Farm, MS, OTR/L, who guides stroke patients back to function; or John Damiao, MS, OTR/L, ATP, who teaches adaptive soccer to kids with multiple disabilities, the field is full of shining examples of occupational therapists proving that it earned it's spot in the top 20.
As one of our Facebook fans commented, "I love OT. I've been one for 21 years and I hope to be for many more years. It's a very rewarding career."
Happy first day of summer!
What does summer mean to you? Whether you're a parent or a school-based therapists, it means school is out for the summer, which brings changes in daily schedules and routines for everyone. For those in long term care, it means opportunities for outdoor therapeutic activities, as well as making sure patients stay cool in the increasing heat. OTs in acute and outpatient settings may see more "summer injuries," such as fall-related injuries from more time outdoors; overuse injuries from activities like swimming, biking or mowing the lawn; and even burn injuries from bonfires, barbeques or fireworks. Hopefully it also means a summer vacation for you!
Here at ADVANCE, summer means it's time to get social! Beginning today, we'll be sharing even more of our great articles, photos, videos, app reviews, patient handouts, salary information and so much more via our social media networks. You can find us on:
"Getting social" means unique new features exclusive to our social media networks. For fans of memes, starting today we will be posting a new quote of the day picture, with inspirational quotes and images themed around healing, motivation and positive reinforcement, some with well-known sayings from founders and leaders in occupational therapy. Feel free to share, re-pin and re-tweet them, and comment or reply to us with your own favorite quotes. Look for the hashtag #QOTD on Facebook and Twitter.
Other unique posts and tweets will include the popular Throwback Thursday, or #TBT. Every Thursday ADVANCE will pull an "oldie but goodie" out of our archives to share. Just yesterday we posted a feature on the Kawa Model we created back in 2009, including a video interview with its creator Michael Iwama, an interview with students who have studied the model, and an illustrated interpretation of Kawa's "river" metaphor. Look for more of these "vintage" ADVANCE features every Thursday with the hashtag #TBT, and be sure to comment or tweet us your favorite ADVANCE content from "back in the day."
As summer progresses we'll add even more to our social media offerings and outreach, including contests, surveys and more. And because it's meant to be "social," don't forget to interact with us through tweets and comments to tell us what you want to see more of. Share and retweet your favorites to your own social media networks and bring them into the conversation. And most of all, have fun! Happy summer everyone!
[Guest blogger Stacey Miller is editor of our sister publication, ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists.]
The Fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) was released May 18 during the APA's annual meeting in San Francisco. In the days leading up to the official announcement of the changes, controversy began brewing.
ADVANCE has reported on the changes coming to autism diagnoses, most notably the elimination of the diagnoses Asperger's syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified. Moving forward, these diagnoses will fall under Autism Spectrum Disorders. In DSM-5, "autism" will truly be a spectrum. Patients will receive diagnoses of: mild (level 1), moderate (level 2) or severe (level 3).
Lori Sherry, president of the Asperger Syndrome Education Network, told The New York Times in March, "Our fear is that we are going to take a big step backward. If clinicians say, ‘These kids don't fit the criteria for an autism spectrum diagnosis,' they are not going to get the supports and services they need, and they're going to experience failure."
Other families, however, are embracing the change. Four of Kelli Gibson's sons have been given different labels (Asperger's, autism) under the DSM-IV, which was released in 1994. "To give it separate names never made sense to me," Gibson told CBS News. "To me, my children all had autism."
Asperger's elimination aside, the Associated Press points out other contentious changes:
- Extreme sadness, weight loss, fatigue following a loved one's death is now diagnosed as "major depression."
- "Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder," characterized by frequent, extreme temper tantrums, is a new diagnosis. The APA is adding the diagnosis because some children had been misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder previously, but critics say it is turning normal tantrums into mental illness.
- "Mild neurocognitive disorder," characterized by mental decline that goes a bit beyond normal aging, is a new diagnosis. Affected people may find it takes more effort to pay bills or manage their medications. Critics say it will stigmatize "senior moments."
- Calling excessive thoughts or feelings about pain or other discomfort "somatic symptom disorder," something that could affect the healthy as well as cancer patients. Critics say the term turns normal reactions to a disease into mental illness.
- Adding binge eating as a new category for overeating that occurs at least once a week for at least 3 months. It could apply to people who sometimes gulp down a pint of ice cream when they're alone and then feel guilty about it.
Allen Frances, MD, retired Duke University professor who headed the psychiatry group's task force that worked on the previous handbook, says new diagnoses "would turn everyday anxiety, eccentricity, forgetting and bad eating habits into mental disorders."
"Way too much treatment is given to the normal `worried well' who are harmed by it; far too little help is available for those who are really ill and desperately need it," he writes in his book "Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life."
Unlike medical conditions, where a scan or lab work will help make a diagnosis, psychiatrists have to rely on symptoms alone to treat a patient, and often that treatment comes in the form of medications. Cynics of DSM-5 think some of the changes are due to Big Pharma's influence, and new diagnoses will mean new patient to write prescriptions for.
Would a psychiatrist actually "treat" downing that pint of ice cream in a sitting as "binge eating"? Highly doubtful. I think any healthcare provider using the new manual will fill in any blind spot with their professional common sense.
On the evening of April 27, the American Occupational Therapy Association and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation presented their annual awards to occupational therapy practitioners who have made outstanding contributions to the profession in leadership, advocacy, education, practice and research.
Former AOTA President Penny Moyers Cleveland, EdD, OT, BCMH, FAOTA, received the AOTA Award of Merit for her career-long work as an influential scholar, educator and leader in the profession. Moyers is only the 8th recipient of the award, the highest honor the association bestows, in AOTA's history.
Glen Gillen, EdD, OTR, FAOTA, who presented the Eleanor Clarke Slagle lecture the previous night, introduced the recipient of this year's lectureship award, Maralynne Mitcham, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA. Mitcham is a recognized leader in OT education, especially in the areas of interprofessional collaboration, faculty development and community-campus partnerships. She will present the Slagle Lecture at the AOTA Conference in Baltimore next April.
Barbara Prudhomme White, PhD, OTR/L, received AOTA's first-ever Outstanding Mentor Award. The newly created award recognizes practitioners who have demonstrated outstanding mentorship, whether to a student, colleague or employee, in a sustained partnership. Prudhomme White received the award for mentorship of her students as associate professor at the University of New Hampshire.
Ken Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, received the AOTA-AOTF Presidents' Commendation for the volume and quality of his research work. Ottenbacher, a chair, professor, director and dean at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, currently serves as principal investigator or co-PI for projects receiving over $20 million in federal grants.
Additionally, the following awards were presented:
Lindy Boggs Award
Paul Fontana, OTR/L, FAOTA
Recognition of Achievement Award
Carol Blackburn, OTR/L, CDRS
Denise Donica, DHS, OTR/L, BCP
Mary Hager, MA, OTR/L, FAOTA
Beth Rollinger, MHA, MS, OTR/L
Linda Schuberth, MA, OTR/L, SCFES (awarded posthumously)
Cordelia Myers Writer's Award
Carolyn Stoller, MS, OTR/L, RYT
Jeannette Bair Writer's Award
Catherine Verrier Piersol, MS, OTR/L
Tracy Vause Earland, MS, OTR/L
E. Adel Herge, OTD, OTR/L
Special Interest Section Quarterly Writer's Award
Marnie Renda, MEd, OTR/L, CAPS, ECHM
Academy of Research
Christine Helfrich, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Stephen Page, PhD, MS, MOT, OTR/L, FAHA
Sylvia Rodger, BOcc, Thy, MEd St, PhD
AOTF Award for Community Volunteerism
Fengyi Kuo, DHS, OTR, CPRP
A. Jean Ayres Award
Patricia Davies, PhD, OTR, FAOTA
Virginia Scardina Award of Excellence
Mary Schneider, PhD, OTR/L
AOTF Meritorious Service Award
Sharon Ryan, OTR
AOTF Leadership Service Commendation
Additionally, 26 occupation therapists were added to the AOTA Roster of Fellows and one occupational therapy assistant was added to the Roster of Honor. Sixteen practitioners received 2013 Retired Educator Awards, and four were recognized for their work in reviewing applications to the Dissertation Grant Research Program of the AOTF Institute for the Study of Occupation and Health. Over 280 practitioners received AOTA Service Commendations for their work on various committees and projects of the association and/or in service to the profession.
On the afternoon of Saturday, April 27, AOTA conducted its Annual Business Meeting during the association’s annual conference in San Diego. The meeting included some notably highlights from various leaders in the Association.
AOTA Treasurer Ben Herz, OTD, MBA, OTR/L, reported on the financial status of the association. During fiscal year (FY) 2012, which ran from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, the association’s assets increased by nearly a quarter of a million dollars. This marks the third year in a row where the association’s assets increased. AOTA’s total assets were valued at $3.3 million, the highest in 13 years.
Representative Assembly Speaker Yvonne Randall reported on the actions of the RA at the conference, which took place on Thursday, April 25. The Assembly voted on 11 items and adopted or rescinded 8 documents. The RA passed an amended version of Motion 1, which will revise the criteria for the Cordelia Myers Writer’s Award and rename it the Cordelia Myers AJOT Best Article Award. Reps also passed an amended version of Motion 2, which will establish an ad hoc committee to study occupational therapy assistant education.
The RA also adopted a new process for submitting motions to the assembly, as developed by the body’s Agenda Committee, to be rolled out this summer. Francie Baxter was voted the RA’s new Speaker.
Executive Director Fred Somers shared that the conference was on track to be the second most well-attended conference in AOTA history, with registrations for attendees and exhibitors at 7353 as of that morning.
Membership increased 3.85% in FY2012 to 43,592, the 8th straight year of growth in membership and the highest in 12 years, Somers reported. Since the beginning of FY2013 last July, membership has increased another 9%, to 47,415.
Somers announced several new endeavors of the association as well, including a redesign of the AOTA website to be launched in June, and a new collaboration with the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) for an exam prep course to be made available in the fall that will be the only course available using previous exam questions.
AOTA Learn, a new center for professional development, launched in Dec. 2012, with 84 courses now available and 9000 users. AOTA PERFORM, a new national outcomes reporting system and database developed in conjunction with Cedaron Medical, launched in January. Somers also listed a number of new evidence-based resources the association has made available to members, and reported on AOTA’s public awareness initiatives including paid advertising, exhibiting at professional conferences and media coverage of occupational therapy.
On Friday, Glen Gillen, EdD, OTR, FAOTA, gave the Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture. His talk, titled "A Fork in the Road: An Occupational Hazard?" looked at contemporary OT practice through a historical lens. He couched his metaphors in terms of one of the basic plots of fiction, the Voyage and Return (think Gulliver's Travels or the Wizard of Oz). This basic plot follows a common storyline: starting with normalcy, there is a fall into another world; the protagonist becomes fascinated with new and unfamiliar things; frustration follows; and finally, an escape from the other world and a return to normalcy, accompanied by lessons learned and a fundamental change in the protagonist.
"There have been times," Gillen said, "we have lost confidence in our methods." He used the example of OT's role in motor rehabilitation. Gillen's literature review showed that, until the late 1950s/early 1960s, OT interventions in this area were active interventions that involved patients dynamically engaged in performing/practicing tasks and activities. After that time, however, the literature showed a shift toward methods that may have been viewed as more sophisticated - or "sexy," Gillen said - such as icing or inhibiting movement. These were interventions that OT adopted from other professions, and that today we would consider preparatory. This "fall into another world" also shifted the patient's role from active participant to more passive recipient of therapy services.
As time passed, OTs became frustrated because their traditional interventions began to be adopted by other professions. In the last decade, Gillen said, there has been an explosion of research that has justified traditional OT interventions for motor recovery. Evidence supports OT's return to normalcy (ie, traditional OT interventions). The problem, however, is that in many cases, these interventions are no longer being called OT.
Gillen also used the example of cognitive intervention. Historically, literature about OT cognitive approaches didn't surface until the 1960s, the same time period when OTs began moving away from traditional approaches in motor recovery. When OTs did begin practicing in cognition, they started by using assessment and intervention approaches that had been formulated by other professions (a fascination with unfamiliar things, in the context of the plot).
While OTs have developed a number of assessments that show how cognitive performance affects occupational performance, Gillen asked whether OTs are actually using these in practice. "In both research and my experience, the answer too often is no," Gillen said. Meanwhile, colleagues in other professions are starting to talk about ecological validity - the value of an assessment or treatment in the patient's natural contexts.
The frustration in this scenario is that OTs have already designed, developed and tested their own performance-based assessments; however, OTs aren't using them, while other professionals are. The return to normalcy: "We need to reclaim what we do and realize nobody does occupation better than we do," Gillen asserted.
Whether in motor recovery, cognition or any other practice area, the big question, Gillen said, is "how do we hasten our return to normalcy?" - i.e., how do we get back to occupation as quickly as possible? The profession is already moving in that direction, Gillen said, and in many ways OTs have already done much of the groundwork in developing and validating their own assessments. He also offered several suggestions for speeding up the process:
- Make an effort to reduce the amount of preparatory activities used in practice
- Use authentic occupations instead of "contrived, catalog-purchased activities"
- Move away from therapists doing to and back to clients doing
- Look like occupational therapists (ie, use OT-based treatments and evaluations and stop encroaching on colleagues' approaches)
- Embrace performance- and occupation-based assessments now ("We don't have time not to use them to maintain our professional identity," Gillen said.)
"We are at a critical point in our voyage and development," Gillen concluded. "Our normalcy is supported by evidence. We need to put the occupation back into occupational therapy!"
The 93rd Annual AOTA Conference and Expo kicked off yesterday to great fanfare, with the University of Southern California marching band leading off the Welcome Ceremony and Keynote Address. AOTA President Florence Clark greeted thousands of conference attendees in a packed hall that was nearly standing room only. This conference, she said, is on track to tie the second highest number of attendees at any AOTA Conference.
In her welcome, Clark announced a new AOTA/AOTF grant program, which will initially target research in autism spectrum disorders and health and aging issues. Those interested in contributing to the grant program can give a $10 donation by texting AOTF to 80888. She also informed attendees of AOTA’s new member benefit that gives members access to international research journals, including the scholarly OT journals of the Canadian and British OT Associations.
Keynoter Aron Ralston took the stage after being introduced by the OT who treated him and trained him in the use of his myoelectric arm. Ralston, subject of the film 127 Hours, was hiking in Utah 10 years ago when a boulder came crashing down on him and pinned his right arm for 5 days. He eventually severed his arm to break free and after climbing out of the gorge he had been hiking and walking several miles, was rescued by helicopter. Ralston told the shocking and inspiring story of how he escaped and the lessons he learned – primarily that when faced with real hardship, you learn your inner strength and what is important to you. Don’t overlook, he said, “the gifts our boulders give us.”
After the opening events, attendees trekked next door to the Expo Hall, where hundreds of vendors were ready and eager to show their wares and services. Ralston signed copies of his book and movie at the AOTA Marketplace, where the lines snaked throughout the hall and the books and movies sold out.
There are two more days of exciting learning and networking opportunities here in San Diego. Check out our Facebook page for live updates and photos, and check back at our blog for more reports from the conference floor.
The Representative Assembly task groups met online April 1-12 to discuss the 3 motions that will come before the full RA at the AOTA Annual Conference and Expo in San Diego next week. Here's a rundown of what they'll bring to the RA when the full body meets face-to-face.
For an earlier post on the task group deliberations, click here.
Task Group 1 reviewed Motion 1: Expand Level of Education for OTA Degree. The motion calls for an ad hoc committee to examine the potential need for and implications of making OTA education available at the bachelor's level.
After much discussion about the pros and cons of moving OTA education to a bachelor's level, as well as a number of practical and legal concerns that such a change would create, the task group drafted an amended Motion 1. The amended motion clarifies the intent of the original for the ad hoc to look at the implications of moving to dual levels of entry at both the associate and bachelor level, as well as a single level of entry at the bachelor level. While many task group members expressed their concerns about what such a move would entail, most agreed that the appropriate way to address this issue, which has surfaced before in professional dialogue, would be an ad hoc that would thoroughly investigate and document all the factors involved in and potential effects of such a move. The amended motion also calls for an interim report to the fall 2013 RA and a final report to the spring 2014 RA.
Task Group 2 reviewed Motions 2 and 3. Motion 2: AJOT Best Article Award, calls for a new award to be created for contributors to the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. Motion 3: Rescind Cordelia Myers Award, would do away with the existing award, with the expectation that it would be replaced by the Best Article Award Motion 2 would create.
Several members of the task group initially favored creating the new award but keeping the Cordelia Myers Award as well. After deliberations, and input from resource persons including people directly involved with AJOT and the association's awards processes, they determined this was financially not feasible and would also encounter logistical issues.
The task group is proposing that the RA amend Motion 2. The amended motion would have the RA's Volunteer Leadership Development Committee revise the criteria for the existing Cordelia Myers Award to broaden it from articles by first-time AJOT authors to any article where at least one author is an OT and other award criteria are met. The amended motion would also have the new award renamed the Cordelia Myers AJOT Best Article Award to retain the history of the award. The amended motion also retains the original motion's request to increase the monetary value of the award from $300 to $1000, to keep in line with similar awards from other scholarly journals.
If the amended Motion 2 is adopted by the full RA, Motion 3 would be withdrawn.
AOTA members can still log on and review the task groups' deliberations, including rationales for their recommendations, at https://ra.aota.org/ra/f/2.aspx.
AOTA's Representative Assembly meets every spring at the annual conference to discuss proposed actions for the association. Prior to that, RA members are divided into task groups to analyze each agenda item in-depth. These smaller groups do the hard work of picking apart the strengths and weaknesses of each motion; then they bring their conclusions to the full assembly at the conference.
For the past several years, the task groups have been meeting online via OTConnections. This online format allows all AOTA members to follow along with the discussions. If you have questions or comments about the discussion, you can post them in the special member forum for the RA on OTConnections (http://otconnections.aota.org/sis_forums/representative_assembly_forum/f/7363/t/12413.aspx), or contact your RA rep directly.
Task group meetings for the spring RA began on Monday. There are two task groups this year discussing a total of three motions brought by AOTA members.
Task Group 1 is reviewing Motion 1: Expand Level of Education for OTA Degree. The motion calls for an ad hoc committee to examine the potential need for and implications of making OTA education available at the bachelor's level. So far the group has reviewed a number of aspects of the motion, including that the motion calls only for an ad hoc to look at the issue, not to make any actual changes to OTA education; that there is a relative lack of up-to-date information about the current context of OTA education regarding needs in the field, institutional issues for schools offering OTA degrees, accreditation demands vs. the limited number of credit hours in an associate degree program, licensure and supervision issues, and other concerns; the financial implications of the motion; and constituent feedback. The discussion has also had input from the motion originator and several resource people.
Currently the task group is working on an amended motion to clarify the intent. The group will discuss the amended motion next week.
Task Group 2 is reviewing Motions 2 and 3. Motion 2: AJOT Best Article Award, calls for a new award to be created for contributors to the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. Currently, the journal only offers the Cordelia Myers Award, which is for only first-time authors of AJOT articles. The reps in the task group are currently discussing their support for and feedback about this motion.
Motion 3: Rescind Cordelia Myers Award, would do away with the existing award, with the expectation that it would be replaced by the Best Article Award Motion 2 would create. Both motions were brought by Sharon Gutman, editor-in-chief of AJOT. The task group has not yet begun to discuss this motion.
AOTA Members can follow the discussions online. Visit OTConnections or aota.org for more! We'll post more on the task groups' activity once their online meeting concludes April 12. [Added April 16: For a wrap-up of the task groups' activity, read our updated post here.]
Today, April 2, is the 6th annual World Autism Awareness Day. On this day, the United Nations encourages people from all over the world to "shine a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis."
Autism Speaks encourages you to "Light It Up Blue" along with many iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges and retail stores as well as hundreds of thousands of homes and communities, all of which will turn their lights blue as a way to spread autism awareness. Many also choose to wear blue on this historical day. For more information, visit http://www.lightitupblue.org.
Continue to spread awareness throughout the month of April! The Autism Society established April as Autsim Awareness Month in the 1970's. Visit http://www.autism-society.org/about-us/national-autism-awareness-month/ to find ways you can get involved with the autism community.
And you can join ADVANCE at http://occupational-therapy.advanceweb.com/Autism/default.aspx all month long for OT specific information, including special features, photo galleries, videos, blog posts and more.
A career is always a work in progress. Whether you are a high-school student weighing what you want to be "when you grow up," a college student preoccupied with landing that first job out of school, or a veteran clinician who's been in the field a decade or more, there are always things to work on to make yourself a better practitioner and fortify your job and financial position. Advance has many resources to help you, no matter what stage of the journey you're in.
Prospective and current students as well as recent grads should check out our annual New Grad issue. It's full of advice ranging from time management, whether to invest in a 401k, and why you should join professional organizations. Our cover story for the 2013 issue focused on tips from recent grads on successfully transitioning from classroom to your first job.
Find more of the same kind of content in our Student and New Grad Center. Features update regularly, on topics from leadership to workplace dynamics to networking to financial planning. The center is home to our Student blog, featuring posts from three students in different stages of the education process, sharing their successes and challenges as they work toward their OT degrees. Our new e-book "Educating the OTA" offers a run-down of the types of courses you'll take in OTA school for those pursuing that branch of the profession. You'll also find handouts on topics like homework and exam prep, videos from our Career Coach, our special Career Success Guide and much more!
Job seekers, whether new grads or seasoned clinicians, should check out our new Job Board. This completely redesigned site has been optimized to help you find what you're looking for, quickly, with a massive database of job listings, helpful career advice and incredibly accurate search functions.
And for prospective OT students, we'd like to point you in the direction of an upcoming online chat from the American Occupational Therapy Association on March 27, 7-8 pm Eastern. Prospective students can get immediate answers to their questions about OT and OTA education. AOTA also has many more resources for prospective and current students.
In the normal course of business here at Advance, I get a number of email notifications from AOTA and other organizations offering handouts, webinars, funding opportunities, calls for papers, virtual chats and other (usually free) resources for OTs and other healthcare providers.
With so many great leads popping up in my inbox almost daily, I thought I'd do a periodic roundup on the Advance blog of some of these opportunities. Feel free to post other opportunities you've come across in the comments.
Workload in Schools Webinar for SLPs: To help district-level special education directors successfully implement American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's (ASHA) strategies to manage speech-language pathology services, PresenceLearning, the leader in online speech therapy services for K-12 students, is hosting a free webinar on Thursday, March 28th at 1 pm ET (10 am PT). To register for the webinar "Leadership Challenge: Managing Workloads in a Caseload-Driven World - Breaking the Barriers to Effective SLP Services," visit http://pages.presencelearning.com/spedahead10. During the one-hour webinar, leading SPED directors and speech-language pathologists (SLPs), Judy Rudebusch, EdD, CCC-SLP and Dr. Barbara Moore, EdD, CCC-SLP, will provide their perspectives and advice on the keys to successfully managing workloads and overcoming the barriers that prevent broad-scale adoption of the workload approach. During the presentation, they will also discuss the role of district leaders in change management and in shifting toward a quality of service approach.
AOTA recently posted a new powerpoint presentation on Promoting Recess: http://www.aota.org/Practitioners-Section/Children-and-Youth/Role-of-OT/Presentations/Recess-Routine.aspx?FT=.pdf
And a new brochure on the role of OT for School Administrators: http://www.aota.org/Practitioners-Section/Children-and-Youth/Browse/School/Role-of-OT/Brochure-Administrators.aspx?FT=.pdf
Call for Abstracts for the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) 66th Annual Scientific Meeting that will be taking place from Wednesday, November 20, to Sunday, November 24, 2013, in New Orleans, LA: geron.org/abstracts
The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) will have a conference call meeting on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at 10 am Eastern time. The committee will discuss public comment, emerging issues, and future committee activities. The conference call will be publicly accessible in listen-only mode: http://iacc.hhs.gov/events/2013/full-committee-mtg-announcement-march19.shtml