About the name of the blog

Do we need forks? is a name that reflects my philosophy about technology - the first question we should ask is "Do I NEED this?" Will it make my life and meaningful occupations easier, or better in some way?
As a student (first time around), I remember reading a scene from a play set in the 1600s, where French nobles were wondering what to do with a fork. The social context meant that forks were unnecessary. In that time, people would
bring a knife, use a spoon for liquids, and hands for everything else. In a different social context where people are concerned about hygiene, a fork seems relevant. Or you could just wash your hands really well before each meal.
This philosophy about technology relates well to frameworks of occupational therapy. We look at the person - do they really need this technology? - the occupation - how meaningful is this occupation and do they need technology to make it easier to participate in? - and the environment, which includes social factors - is this technology going to fit with their environment?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

2. Digital Imaging

Examples of digital imaging
I have a digital camera and upload photos regularly to Flickr and Facebook, so I'm familiar with using my digital camera.  I use Picasa or iPhoto to edit photos, usually cropping and removing glare to try and replicate the actual light conditions on the day.

While looking for examples of digital imaging to record information, I came across the word 'photoblog' or 'phlog'.  I love how people just make up words that suit them with the new technology and amend them to something that is just nonsense but easy to say!  I also wonder how many people use these terms in everyday life...I'm not sure 'phlog' should catch on!

So, there is a phlogging website (not to be confused with flogging!) - fotolog.com, where the creators suggest loading a photo every day as a record of your life...I think that would be quite challenging.

Adobe have set up a website where you can subscribe to podcast lessons on manipulating digital images using Adobe software - CS4 Podcasts

And here is a photo diary that fashion and celebrity photographer Mark Squires uses as a sort of advertisement for his work.  This is a great way to showcase your work if you're a photographer or even an artist: http://www.marksquiresphotodiary.com/

"A new technology is rarely superior to an old one in every feature" - pros and cons of digital versus film cameras.
(+) = no film to carry around. (-) = losing/corruption of your memory card
(+) = massive amount of storage on memory card, don't have to change film every 32 shots. (-) = too many photos!  I take way more photos with my digital camera and am reluctant to delete them, whereas with a film camera I would just throw out the bad ones
(+) = can check you got the right shot. (-) = loss of that exciting day when you get your film back and there are surprises in the photos - ones you can't remember taking
(+) = easy to share!  I love being able to upload photos immediately and share them with friends and family.  When my nephew was born this year, my brother took a couple of photos on his mobile phone and texted them to us.  Unfortunately we all have cheap phones, but were able to log onto the Telecom website, download the (tiny) pictures, and email them around, within hours of the baby being born. (-) = too much sharing.  My brother's in-laws took photos of the baby AS HE WAS BEING BORN.  Tmi, tmi.
(+) = ability to check you got the right shot. (-) = not being able to get the right shot because of the delay between pressing the button and the shot taking...grrrr...wish I could afford a fancier model, but then I don't take that many photos anyway.

That delay takes a lot of the spontaneity out of photo-taking for me, so occasionally I take a bunch of photos with my old film camera, like these ones I took at New Year's.  The film had been sitting in my cupboard for a while and I got a great light quality, which really suited the hippie vibe of where I was: Prana Festival in the Coromandel.  I got them printed to CD so I could still share them online.  I note I had to go all over Dunedin to find someone who still knew how to process the film!  Jonathan's Camera and Vid btw.

For me, the winner is...digital camera with the odd reminiscence back to my film camera, which is a Pentax and is pretty good!

Ethical issues
1. As I said on my first blog, who has the right to distribute the photo?  It is good manners to ask people before you upload compromising photos of them - but not all my friends have good manners!  I think you have to follow the rule "Ask first" if you want to keep your friends.

2. The other issue I think of is storage of photos and how long to keep them for.  Who has the right to hold onto a photo of you?  This has always been a problem, regardless of digital or film technology.

These two issues are interlinked.  I can understand that professional photographers have a contract with the subjects of their photos, making it clear that any photos they take are their intellectual property, but I can't do that with my friends and family.
Use of digital images in OT practice
Digital images can be used in OT to keep a record of a client's progress, particularly in a physical setting.  You could record daily progress on an artwork or piece of craft and provide the client with the record at milestones during its completion, to help motivate them to complete it.

Taking digital images can also be a meaningful occupation in itself.  A client may want to learn how to take photos or simply go for a walk with a camera.

This blog has photographs showing different equipment to help children with their handwriting - Occupational Therapy for Kids - Handwriting

Pictures of equipment shared online are great and can give you an excellent idea of what might work for your client, with Adobe Flash presentations adding that edge to the graphics, like on this American company's website:  Permobil

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Online community three - Postpartum Mood Disorders Support Forum

This website is a place for women who are experiencing mood disorders after giving birth or adopting a baby (or have had past experience with these issues), as well as their families and friends and health professionals with an interest in reproductive mental health. Women who had original diagnoses of a postpartum mood disorder but were later diagnosed differently are also welcome.

You can register as a user or post as a guest.  There are many topics on this website:
  • Pregnancy, meds, birth stories, and breastfeeding
  • Alternative, holistic treatments and ideas
  • PPMD support for military moms
  • And again, the general concerns tab is one of the most popular, with 1117 topics and over 8,000 posts!
    There are resources at the bottom of the page for people who want more information, like books and website links, as well as a forum for partners and family members.

    This forum has a wider membership and number of topics than the Christchurch one, probably due to the American population base.  It also appears a little less organised.  The sheer number of topics is overwhelming!

    One example that reflects internet culture perfectly is this post:

    Mentally ill and famous. This list of links to famous people with mental illnesses and disabilities proves that it does not matter what issues you have, but what you do with your life, is what defines who you are...(list of links to wikipedia provided)

    The writer is saying that if someone 'famous' can be mentally ill, then it's ok for the rest of us.

    This forum doesn't seem to be moderated as much as the Christchurch one and with the variety of topics, may not be a safe haven for people with PND.  I think a forum like this is best if it is for a smaller geographic area, to help people feel that sense of connection.

    Online community two - a Facebook support group

    This is a Facebook page called Post Natal Depression and is set up in London, United Kingdom.  It is the largest group I could find on Facebook, with 326 members.  Members can post photos, post on the wall, and contribute to discussions.

    Several members have posted on the wall, eg
    This seems like a really gd idea i wad diagnosed with pnd about 6 month after my son was born he's now 11 months he's my world and I love him with all my heart but there are some days wen I feel so low I don't see the point in doing anything, but I found talking about it hard at first but now I will quite happily talk about it so other ppl know wat it is and that its normal and happens to millions of woman, all the advice I can give is don't stop loving yourself and remember to spend some time on yourself it really made a difference to me.
    but not many have contributed to discussions.

    This group made me think about the fact that Facebook is of a public nature.  When you make a post or comment, all your friends are notified, unless you know how to turn off this feature.  A forum, on the other hand, requires a username (which may differ from your real name) and some degree of privacy.

    I also noticed on two separate Facebook support pages for postnatal depression that there were journalists and researchers trawling for subjects.  With a forum, those people would have to join as members, and may then subject to forum rules "eg no advertising" that would prevent asking people to take part in studies.

    As with the forum, the same issues apply regarding a lack of face-to-face contact, but this provides an opportunity to create that contact and also to provide support to people who are geographically isolated, even if just to see that there are other people out there with the same problem.

    Online community one - Just Breathe

    This is a Christchurch website set up to provide a forum for mothers with postnatal depression, as well as family and friends.  People seem to log in to make connections in the real world, as well as get advice on general information about being a mum, and PND.

    It is very well organised and some of the topics available to comment on as of today are:
    • General chat (the most popular, with 227 topics and 2023 posts!!!!)
    • Useful tips and advice
    • Medication
    • Having another baby
    Information flow is not one way, but reciprocal.
    There are also links to coffee groups in Christchurch and the West Coast.  There are 210 members and the website is only open to registered members, maintaining a certain level of privacy.  People could register under fake names, so there is a lack of accountability, but with a forum, there is always a moderator to make sure conversations are not impacting on anyone's participation.

    People can contribute by sharing their experience or answering questions on the forums, or arrange a get-together outside of an established coffee group, via a separate forum.  The coffee group forums are public, and seem to be a place for people to follow up with each other.  One thread was "Where is everybody?" and included answers such as this one: "sorry i never made it this monday....sarah went for a sleep and I ended up falling asleep too. It possible I may have a job next month too...arggghhhhh so scared."

    Interestingly, many of the posts on the get-together forum are from people in Auckland.  This shows that when people are looking for support, internet forums have an advantage over traditional geographic communities, as the support is accessible regardless of location.

    What this community probably cannot provide is real-time connection.  If someone is having a crisis and needs help, they are more likely to call someone who is geographically close, rather than rely on posting a message to a forum.  This community does provide a message centre for people who meet in real-time, so facilitates the creation of more traditional communities as well as creating a new "online" one.

    Online communities - support for people with post-natal depression

    The area of interest I've chosen is online communities that support mothers who have post-natal depression (PND).  My first placement was in maternal mental health, and I know that support from other people who were experiencing the same symptoms was really helpful to many of the clients using the service.

    We have a great New Zealand website called Mothers Matter -  www.mothersmatter.co.nz 

    This website was set up by the Postnatal Depression Family/Whanau Trust to improve awareness of PND and other mental illnesses that arise as the result of pregnancy and/or childbirth.

    This website is a great stepping-off point to find resources.