« Older Entries

Training trainers in India

We are excited to announce a new project that is led by a joint team from Amar Seva Sangam (ASSA) in Tamil Nadu, India,  Handi-Care International and the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy , McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

ASSA and Handi-care Intl. are non-governmental organizations that focus on grass roots advocacy for persons with disabilities and on direct programs for rehabilitation, education, vocational training and livelihood promotion. Over the coming year, we will be working collaboratively to develop, implement and evaluate a train-the-trainer program that is tailored to the needs at ASSA. The project is funded by the Edith Strauss Rehabilitation Research Program.

One of the reasons we are excited about this project is that it builds on a growing collaboration between ASSA and SPOT. For the past six years, McGill occupational therapy and physiotherapy students have conducted clinical rotations at ASSA. In addition, SPOT students have recently undertaken two research projects at ASSA. SPOT faculty have also visited ASSA, and the ASSA team member who is co-project lead on the train-the-trainer grant, physiotherapist Ram Ponnusamy, will spend a month in Montreal this fall. In this sense, our newly launched project has a strong foundation. We’re hoping that it will continue to enrich these growing institutional ties. Listen to a podcast with occupational therapy students commenting on international fieldwork here.

So, what will we be doing?  The end goal of the new project is to design and implement a train-the-trainer program for ASSA. We aim to support and expand skills, knowledge and capacities of staff members at ASSA who are involved in training as part of their professional activities. These roles include providing training to other rehabilitation providers at ASSA, as well as education that is done with families and clients such as teaching home exercise programs. In creating the train-the-trainer program, we will draw on what is currently known as the most effective approaches for this sort of training, as well as experiences developing train-the-trainer resources in other settings.  (more…)

Abled, Disabled, or Differently Abled?

I have to admit, I came into the OT program thinking that I knew the “right” way, the “respectful” way to talk about people with disabilities. I would’ve cringed if I had read or heard the third sentence below; and likely rolled my eyes or fumed inside about inappropriate language.

“Nathan is a 5-year old boy with autism. He attends OT twice a week.”

“Nathan is an autistic boy who attends OT twice a week. He is 5 years old…”

“Nathan is a 5-year old boy who attends OT twice a week. He is differently abled.”

I had learned in one of my classes that person-first language is more respectful to our clients as it allows for the person to be defined by other factors (eg. age, interests, strengths) before being defined by their disability. It made sense. I internalized it. And I took it for granted.

Our professor instilled self-doubt on the first day of classes. She said that she would use person-first language …but that there was a heavy debate on the matter. She also made sure to point out how clients of this class introduced their disability and themselves. Some chose to point out several facts about themselves before bringing up their disability, and others laid out their disability right after their name.

My daughter doesn’t have ‘special’ needs. She’s disabled. This is an eye-opening article written by a mother of child with autism. In brief, the article makes a case for her child’s needs not being “special” at all and rather basic and ordinary. The mother also shares that autism has set her child’s life on a certain trajectory and has become an integral part of the child’s identity.

It seems that we are trending towards euphemisms to replace words we consider ugly…moving from “handicapped” to “disabled” to “with disability” to “differently abled”. But with time, the new words can also become somewhat ugly. (more…)

Diving Deep into the Layers of Reflexivity

My daily commute on Montreal’s underground transit system got a whole lot more reflective last Friday, as I read Barbra Gibson’s fresh take on everyone’s dependence on technology, and the tendency to “normalize” people when it comes to universal design and rehabilitation. Her arguments took me through various stages of bargaining, discomfort and ultimately reflection that things need to change in our practice as Occupational Therapists (OT’s), all in the 45 minutes it took me to get to the McGill campus. What follows are my opinions on a few of her points.

Challenging ideas of dependency and disability

A form of person-technology assemblage that resonates with many, author in photo.

The article challenges the idea that dependency on technology is just for rehabilitation clients, and argues that we are all in someway dependent on it. We are all part of assemblages, or a whole that consists of technology, our physical bodies and others in our social circle. These assemblages change depending on the technology we are currently using, with whom we are interacting and in what environment. This notion fits well into an occupational therapist’s mentality; our end goal does not necessarily need to be technology-free, we simply want to enable our clients to function in the best way possible. I spent most of my summer in my second placement trying to find technology that best fit both my client’s and their family members’ needs and ultimately making their assemblages work for them, even if it involved using the technology non-conventionally. I credit my supervisor for pushing me to think outside the box in my solutions, and really listen to what my client needed. As such, I whole heartedly agreed with Gibson’s take on this which made me bargain, or argue that my profession’s focus on function, with or without technology, still embodies this ideal.

Challenging the notion of universal design and normalization

Gibson also demonstrates how universal design, although innocent enough in theory, is essentially trying to design towards a universal human or an average person. Coming from Montreal, I feel like any strides towards accessibility are much needed, (I have seen WAY too many accessibility features that require one to use a staircase to reach them). However, Gibson made me question this ideal; (more…)

Is the Cochlear Implant a Cure or a Cultural Cleansing?

The market of assistive technologies has expanded dramatically in recent years. More and more researchers, engineers, and rehabilitation experts collaborate to build technologies that help enable people with disabilities. However, when we look at the statistics, 70% of all assistive technologies are not being used at all, or being used for a very short time. Why is that? Would disabled people not want to use devices that supposedly help them to overcome their disabilities? The answer to these questions is more complex than one might think, as the case of the ongoing debate over the use of cochlear implant demonstrates.

The Controversy

The cochlear implant is a small electronic device that is surgically implanted into the skull and inner ear,  substituting for the damaged parts of the inner ear, with an external piece worn behind the ear. In contrast to hearing aids that amplify sounds in the environment, the cochlear implant functions as an integral part of the inner ear, by sending signals to the brain (see picture).

For the enabled person, it is easy to see the advantages of a cochlear implant. This device can help deaf people to communicate with others, which eventually may lead to a better and easier integration into society. However, many people in the deaf community reject this product for several reasons. First, the Deaf community believes that there is nothing wrong with being deaf, so we should not try to “fix something that isn’t broken.” Second, some deaf people consider their hearing disability to be an integral and important part of their identity, so taking away their deafness will take away an important part of who they are. Third, some deaf people see themselves as a subculture in society, with their own language (sign language), and set of beliefs and values. Many people in the deaf community believe that implementing the device, especially in the younger generation, will eventually cause their unique culture to disappear, as young people will not learn or use sign language as a means of communication. Watch and learn more about the different sides of the Cochlear Implant Debate.

What I have learned

When I first heard about the cochlear implant, I thought that it was a great idea and that every deaf person would love to have this device, but I was wrong. (more…)

Giving a Voice to Children Who Don’t Have One

What follows is Vi Ma’s perspective about the 8th Edition of the Edith Aston-McCrimmon Lecture Series 2017 with guest speaker Dr. Tom Chau, PhD, PEng

As a future health care professional, I often think to myself,  How will I help patients as best as possible?  It never occurred to me that our contribution as physiotherapists can be more than simply providing one-on-one or hands-on assessment, education and treatment. I have recently learned that we can go further, and help, by working with other disciplines such as engineering. Together, we can create assistive devices to meet the needs of the patients we treat.

I first learned of our greater role with disability through technology when Dr. Stefanie Blain-Moraes presented the topic in one of my undergraduate classes. She spoke of the rewards and barriers of working on assistive devices. I was captivated by how she spoke of challenging our perception of disability and encouraging us to think outside the box. I was hooked. In our classes, we got to design our own assistive design in collaboration with a client.

Vi Ma, Physical Therapy Student, and Dr. Tom Chau, PEng Edith Aston-McCrimmon Lecture 2017

This year, Dr. Tom Chau was the School’s Edith Aston-McCrimmon Lecturer. He presented his innovative research on designing devices for children who are unable to communicate in conventional ways. The children, trapped in their bodies have no means of expressing themselves. Needless to say this affects their socialization and overall development.

Dr. Chau’s team has developed many communication devices that detect muscle activation, brain activity or vibrations of the vocal cords. His presentation incorporated clips of children overjoyed when they communicated for the first time with these devices and of the parents’ emotional response. I was deeply moved and may or may not have had tears at the corner of my eyes. I hope to have such an impact on my future patients and their families.

One of the main challenges that Dr. Chau underlines while designing technology is the wide range of the children’s diseases and conditions. With so many individual situations, each with their own unique conditions and experiences, no one device can solve all problems; there is always room to imagine and create new devices.

So, what can we do going forward? (more…)

Taking action: My journey to Pivot International

Marie-Kim McFetridge, McGill M.Sc.(OT) 2011, in Nicaragua, offering occupational therapy services to disabled children in need.

Veuillez lire la version française ci-dessous

Many of us who choose a career in the health professions do so because we want to make a positive impact on the lives of others.  I most certainly did, and in December 2012, I jumped at the chance to participate in a rehabilitation project that brought me to the little village of Santa Julia in Nicaragua to help Milton, a 5-year-old boy with cerebral palsy.  This project was the brainchild of then-student Simone Cavanaugh, now a McGill law graduate, who met Milton and his family while participating in a humanitarian project the previous year.  Profoundly touched by Milton’s situation, Simone returned home to Canada determined to help him obtain the necessary adaptive equipment to realize his full potential.

This project was for me, the beginning of a life-changing adventure.  In this first trip, we helped young Milton, who was housebound and required full time care provided by his mother.  Milton received a specially adapted wheelchair, as well as training on its use and proper body positioning.  You can imagine the impact we had on Milton’s quality of life, as well as his mother’s.  By allowing him to sit upright in a chair, Milton could better interact with his environment and work towards achieving more developmental milestones, such as improving his motor and communication skills.  Just as compelling, this allowed Milton and his mother to better integrate into the community, with more opportunities to learn, play and socialize with peers.  (more…)

Seizing the Opportunity: A Placement in India

Brittany Myhre (left) with her supervisor, Harsha Babani, and others after a training seminar in Amar Seva Sangam, in Tamil Nadu, India.

As part of the Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy, each student is required to complete 4 clinical placements to gain clinical experience, and put our classroom knowledge into practical application.  When the opportunity to apply for an international placement came up, I seized it and  was fortunate to be granted a chance to participate in an 8-week stage in Tamil Nadu, India.

The host organization, Amar Seva Sangam (ASSA) is located in a very rural portion of Southern India and is a non-profit organization, serving children in its early intervention school, a special school for children with learning, intellectual or physical disabilities, an in-patient spinal cord rehabilitation unit, vocational training, in addition to an integrated school system, where children from the community can also attend. Most of the services are offered free of charge, which allows the families living within the surrounding communities to attend to their children’s needs without concern to their already often precarious financial situations.    (more…)

Keeping up with Anthony Teoli at Infophysiotherapy.com

I graduated from McGill University with a Professional Master’s in Physical Therapy in October 2016. I now work at a private clinic in Montreal and recently developed InfoPhysiotherapy.com, a free information resource for both patients and health professionals. All the content on this website is written by myself. Physiotherapy is an evidence-based profession, and knowledge translation is a crucial part of the advancement of the physiotherapy profession. It is something I have always been keen on.

Read recently posted article “What Is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome & How Do I Manage It?”

Google allows patients to have access to all the information they could possibly want. However, it may not always be the “right” information. I wanted to provide them with legitimate and valid information that can be backed up by the scientific literature.

The mission of InfoPhysiotherapy.com is to promote evidence-based practice among health care professionals, and to inform the general population regarding injury prevention and management, exercise prescription and healthy living. As well, physiotherapists and patients can discuss any evidence I have presented, or even suggest a topic they would like to know more about. The website also features an online library with the latest publications from the scientific literature.

Infophysiotherapy.com has greatly evolved since it was launched last December. It now features 25 articles covering a large variety of topics and content is added weekly.  In March alone, the website has already received more than 6500 views!

Anthony Teoli, PT

My next step would be to begin collaborating with other physiotherapists, particularly those who specialize in different fields such as pelvic floor or paediatrics, among others. InfoPhysiotherapy.com is continuously in expansion. I look forward to what the future has to offer and please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you are interested in helping me make a difference!

Anthony Teoli, MScPT

Website link : infophysiotherapy.com

 

Influence of Exercise on Patients with Guillain-Barré Syndrome: A Systematic Review

Two of the group members: N. Simatos Arsenault and P-O. Vincent. Photo: S.C. Marshall

Sometimes, a school assignment can become more than just an assignment.

While in our physiotherapy (PHTH 440) course, our group completed a literature review on the effects of exercise on patients with Guillain-Barré Syndrome as a class assignment.

Our professor, Dr. Marc Roig encouraged us to expand our horizons and attempt to have the assignment become a published article. After about a year and a half of constructive peer reviews from journal editors and having made various modifications, our article was finally published!

Our continued efforts throughout the entire writing and reviewing process paid off and we feel honored to now view our endeavor next to the work of distinguished writers, including some of our current and past professors.

We all appreciate that the SPOT faculty encourages its students to grow beyond conventional paths through diverse opportunities that enable the development of better clinicians.

We have learned a lot through this experience and  hope to continue to develop and grow our professional networks through such opportunities.

In September 2016, we received our final confirmation that our article would be published as part of Volume 68 Issue 4 of the Physiotherapy Canada journal. We were proud and thrilled to hear the news! Read the article here.

Our team,

Pierre-Olivier Vincent, Nicholas Simatos Arsenault, Bai He Shen Yu, Robin Bastien, Aaron Sweeney, and Sylvia Zhu
SPOT Physiotherapy Students

Link to article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27904236

 

New Global Health Coordinator at McGill SPOT

AnikGHRIblogAnik Goulet, PT

My journey to the School of Physical & Occupational Therapy (SPOT) has not been a simple one but one that I’d like to share with you.

My story starts with the University of Ottawa, where I graduated with a BSc in Physiotherapy- was yet to be a Masters at that point!.  I returned to work in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, where I grounded my clinical skills working with an adult population in acute care hospitals, home care and a private clinic. Having enjoyed being a clinical preceptor for over 5 years, I chose to  return to school and complete a Master’s in Education at the University of Ottawa.

It was on January 10th, 2010, while I was teaching at la Cite Collegiale, that I was very emotionally affected by my Haitian students who were devastated  by an earthquake that was happening in their native country. That was the day I told myself that if I could do something to help, I would. And, I did. (more…)

« Older Entries
Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.