Cookie Gimp always has good points. Points like chocolate chip points. I need chocolate.

My friend the “Cookie Gimp” and I have some interesting conversations about disability and OT. I typically save up his stuff for a while before responding because he makes me concentrate, and these days, I don’t have a lot of neurons to spare!!

Some of what I’m about to say is in direct response to comments of his, but some of it is just trigger-association stuff. Because “Cookie Gimp” is a disability activist and was born a “gimp” as he puts it, he has some strong feelings about rehabilitation in general, so we go off on all sorts of interesting tangents.

He pointed out that on the Geriatric Depression Scale, which has standardized questions, the elderly are asked if they feel worthless. Yet that is not a question typically seen on scales meant for those with physical disabilities, to the best of his (and my) knowledge. He also pointed out that oftentimes, able-bodied people assume that people with disabilities are depressed because they would like to be “normal”. This is very NOT true. For example, people assume that deaf people would want to hear if they could, but Deaf culture doesn’t necessarily work like that.

He shared a really interesting article about a blind OT,

Guitard, P. Lirette, S. (2005). Overcoming Barriers: Becoming an
Occupational Therapist When You Cannot See! Occupational Therapy Now
Sept/nov, 23-24.

I personally cannot fathom being a blind OT, but I guess anything is possible, with enough modification. I’m going to try and get my hands on that article.

Finally, he e-mailed me regarding our Little People project, where we stated that according to Person-Environment-Occupation theory, the environment is easier to change than the person. He gave me permission to post this verbatim:

****In your project, you say that one assumption in your research design
is that the person is harder to change than the environment. Now to me,
OT is fascinating as a discipline because it lies at the intersection
of psychosocial individual change and structural change. But what is
the basis for this premise? I assume you get it from your
literature/field and that’s not your own idea. And for people who have
accidental trauma, it might be true. But many people born disabled
(which surely includes little people) face a lifetime of constant
adjustment. And I realize it’s outside the scope of your project so I
again point out that in terms of wheelchair access, I am only about ten
years older than you (not much in lifespan terms) and yet not one of my
three public schools that I attended is now wheelchair accessible. I
would say that individual change is easy and structural/environmental
change is virtually impossible. But I think by environmental change,
you are contemplating installing grab bars in people’s homes, not in
public places. Yet how can people work or participate in activities of
daily liviing without structural change? Here’s a challenge. OTS of the
world: when you go home, why not visit your high school alma mater and
do an accessibility audit of your school. I think you would be
surprised.****

Doesn’t he have some great points? I DO tend to focus on private environmental modifications, not public ones. Anyway…my e-mail box is almost clear and I got a ton of work done this afternoon at OTS Kerri & Brent’s house, so I’m thrilled. And I even got my dreaded dishes done. But I still have 20 handouts to go on Well Elderly, and a lot of work on Tai Chi research, plus SOAP notes, so augh! It’s okay though, just breathe….la la la

Mar 31, 2008 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1

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