Applied Skills and Technology: Human Factors and Design in Occupational Therapy
This course introduces students to the fields of assistive technology, human factors, and design as applied to occupational therapy. This course covers theoretical, research and industry literature pertaining to the design of environments, devices, and tools that are functional, safe, and satisfying to the general population with particular emphasis for people with mobility, cognitive, and sensory problems leading to occupational performance issues.
Students will learn about the basic principles of three perspectives: 1) human factors and people with occupational performance issues; 2) technology and its historic, present, and future applications; and 3) how proper design can be used to achieve safety and promote occupational engagement and the quality of life of people with disabilities. Students will learn about how these perspectives can be applied in three types of environments: 1) homes; 2) workplaces; and 3) public settings, including educational environments, care institutions, hospitals, shopping areas, parks, and transportation. Students will also learn how these perspectives can be applied in selecting and prescribing effective computer applications, including user interfaces, internet accessibility, and input/output devices.
Occupational Science: Foundations for Occupational Therapy
This course introduces students to the fundamental ideas of Occupational Science and the occupational paradigm, which inform and guide occupational therapy research and practice. The complexity of the central concept of occupation and the idea of humans as occupational beings are examined. The phenomenology of ascribing meaning to day-to-day occupations people engage in is explored. Elements of theory (e.g., paradigms, models, concepts) are introduced. Then major conceptual frameworks, which focus on occupational science and occupation, are discussed. In order to understand the context of occupation, important environmental influences (e.g., health-related, personal, social, cultural, political and economic) on occupation across the lifespan are explored. Challenges to and supports for occupation encountered by people with disabilities are also discussed. By the end of the course the student will:
- develop an occupational view of the world;
- appreciate the dynamic and phenomenological nature of occupation;
- understand how occupation influences and is influenced by health, quality of life, and well-being;
- appreciate the linkages among theory, research, and practice, and understand perspectives
- on occupational enablement (how occupation is enabled).
Research Issues and Approaches in Occupational Therapy
This course will address the contributions research makes to the discipline of occupational science and the profession of occupational therapy. Students will examine how research issues can be framed from an occupational perspective and will apply such a perspective in examining a research issue. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of research needs within occupational science and occupational therapy, of the relationships between theory, research and practice, and of the philosophical assumptions underlying major methodological approaches used in research relevant to the study of occupation and occupational therapy.
Methods in Practice-Based Research
This course provides students with the skills required to understand, critically evaluate, and begin to apply research methods relevant to evidence-based occupational therapy and the scientific study of occupation. Students are introduced to a range of descriptive, exploratory and experimental methods and their corresponding methodologies. The various stages of the research process are examined. These include: identifying research gaps and needs; formulation of research questions; identifying the operational definitions of variables; and selecting appropriate research design, sample and methods. Ethics procedures and issues relevant to different research methods will be discussed. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to challenge and critique the theoretical framework shaping a research study and the implications of the findings in terms of the strength of the evidence and its implications for clinical practice. The practical component of the course will allow students to explore various components of the research process. Students will work in groups to develop a research proposal to address a question of clinical or scientific significance. The proposal will be presented in class at the end of the term.
Framing Practice-Based Research
This course will focus on the process of framing and designing research relevant to occupational therapy and the study of occupation, in preparation for the second year research project. Students will select a research topic provided by supervisors and will work through the processes involved in developing a research proposal, including: reviewing literature; delineating research needs; defining and/or modifying research questions relevant to occupation and occupational therapy; choosing an appropriate paradigm; designing a study; and identifying ethical issues.
Occupational Therapy Practice I
The introduction of regulatory, social and professional accountabilities for the practice of occupational therapy will provide a framework for the development of professional competence across practice contexts. Concepts introduced in Foundations of Occupational Science (e.g. occupation, enablement, client-centredness) are integrated into occupational therapy practice through the Occupational Performance Process Model and the Canadian Practice Process Framework.
This course includes a two week Introductory Fieldwork Experience that provides exposure to a number of clinical experiences and specific lab and simulation experiences with targeted student reflection. The general objectives for this introduction to fieldwork experience are for students to:
- Gain an understanding of the role of the occupational therapist within different practice contexts
- Demonstrate professional behaviours
- Begin to develop observation skills
- Utilize appropriate communication skills with clients and supervising therapist(s)
- Gain exposure to the client/patient experience; develop practices in client centeredness
Occupational Therapy Practice II
Building on the OT Practice I course, OT Practice II prepares students for advanced fieldwork placements through skill development within the stages of the Occupational Performance Process Model, including clinical reasoning, therapeutic use of self, determination of learning styles and goal setting. Students prepare for self-evaluation of professional competencies, and learn universal safely precautions for clinical and community practice contexts. OT Practice II also provides students with ethical principles and an ethical decision-making model for occupational therapists. The ethical decision-making model is applied to cases involving different cultural norms, incapacity in disability, across the life course, and in administrative and professional relationships.
Occupational Therapy Practice III
Building on OT Practice I and OT Practice II, OT Practice III will examine factors in the contexts of practice that influence the content, process and outcomes of occupational therapy. Students will develop skills in strategic planning, program development and marketing of professional services, as well as in managing complex roles (including consultation and assignment of therapy components to support personnel), communications, and business practices that are necessary for autonomous professional practice.
Assessment in Occupational Therapy
This course will introduce the central importance of both qualitative and quantitative approaches to assessment in occupational therapy practice, including purposes, interpretation, and critiques of assessment methods and tools. Using an occupational perspective, the course will address broad concepts/categories such as theoretical underpinnings, categorization schemas, and the use of self (e.g. developing rapport, interviewing skills) in the assessment process. Areas of assessment will be organized around occupational performance and will include the assessment of self-care, productive and leisure occupations, as well as the assessment of the environments within which these occupations are performed. Assessment skills will be learned through the use and critique of selected practice-based exercises and tools.
Musculoskeletal Structure and Function
This course examines the structure (anatomy) and function (biomechanics and occupational performance) of the musculoskeletal systems of the upper and lower extremities and the trunk. Daily living activities will be analyzed from a musculoskeletal perspective. Also included is foundational knowledge for understanding the pathology of selected musculoskeletal conditions as well as goniometry, manual muscle testing, sensation testing, transfer techniques and ergonomics.
Psychosocial Perspectives in Occupational Therapy
This course provides students with core theories and tenets related to psychosocial issues in occupational science and occupational therapy. The theories include those addressing social and emotional development, attachment, learning and behaviour, object relations, psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery, anti-oppression, and power structures within society. These theories will be examined from the perspective of the contributions they make to an understanding of occupational performance and occupational therapy practice. Topics that are foundational to assessment and intervention to OT applications will be discussed. These include mental status, depression, suicide, group dynamics and the mental health system. The course will span the continuum from mental health promotion to intervention with people living with severe mental illness.
Neuro-motor/Neuro-cognitive Perspectives in Occupational Therapy
This full course occurs in the fall and winter terms. The content deals with the major functional neuroanatomical systems and their applications in occupational therapy. The systems covered include those that link to motor function, sensory function, behavioural-emotional function and perceptual-cognitive function. Students will be introduced to various neuroanatomical, neurophysiological and neurotherapeutic theories with emphasis on their relationship to occupational therapy practice across the lifespan. Application of these theories will include assessment of normal and abnormal function in each area and introduction to treatment.
Occupational Therapy Fieldwork I
This course is comprised of a six-week, full-time fieldwork opportunity during which students will be placed in approved fieldwork sites in the Toronto area. Students will be placed in a variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centres, schools, community agencies, etc. Students will be exposed to selected client issues (physical, affective/cognitive) and will experience a variety of intervention opportunities (assessment, treatment, consultation, program planning, evaluation, etc.). Supervision during the placement will be provided by registered occupational therapists. Students will focus on refining generic assessment skills, developing documentation skills, and beginning to apply theoretical knowledge to the clinical setting.
Building Practice through Mentorship
This course offers students the opportunity to explore their development as individuals and reflective professionals, and to support each other’s growth in the program. Students meet every two weeks with an OT mentor. This group process allows students to experience, examine and discuss the professional skills, attitudes and behaviours exhibited by themselves, individual group members and the group as a whole.
The role of the mentor is to facilitate and guide the students through a supportive and reflective professional development experience. Mentors encourage an atmosphere of safety and freedom to explore personal and professional issues that students experience in the program. To encourage the development of interpersonal and professional skills, mentors and students will provide feedback to one another throughout the program. Students will be given verbal and written feedback by mentors and fellow students on their professional skill development.
Graduate Research Project
In this course students develop skills for the role of a scientist-practitioner through a “hands-on” research experience. Working under their supervisor’s guidance, students participate in a research project related to the practice of occupational therapy or the study of occupational science. In addition to gaining knowledge in research design and in a specific topic area, students have the opportunity to develop practical skills including data collection, data analysis and interpretation, and write-up. The course runs through all of the second year. At the end of the course, students give a research presentation at the Department’s Annual Research Symposium, and they submit a research report (in the form of a manuscript submission).
Enabling Occupation with Children: Part I
This course will address theoretical and practical content regarding occupational therapy practice with children. The course builds on the foundational knowledge and skill developed in Year 1. Content will cover relevant developmental, sensori-motor, psychological and occupational therapy theoretical frameworks, analysis of cases that are prevalent and relevant to OT practice with these age groups, assessment (including diagnostic, developmental and evaluative), and occupational therapy interventions. Students will demonstrate the ability to use the family-centred Occupational Performance Process Model (OPPM) approach to case analysis; critique assessment and intervention approaches; examine person, environment and occupational factors influencing occupational performance of typically developing children, children “at-risk” for occupational performance problems and children with special needs.
Enabling Occupation with Children: Part II
This course will address theoretical and practical content regarding occupational therapy practice with children. The course builds on the foundational knowledge and skill developed in Year 1. The course will focus on the occupations and occupational development of school-aged children and adolescents. Content will address relevant developmental, sensori-motor, psychological and occupational therapy theoretical frameworks, analysis of cases that are prevalent and relevant to OT practice with these age groups, assessment approaches (including diagnostic, developmental, evaluative), and occupational therapy interventions with this population. Prevalent disorders impacting on school age and adolescents occupational functioning will be covered. Specific OT assessment and intervention approaches for working with children at these developmental stages will be introduced. Legislative issues affecting OT practice with children will be covered.
Enabling Occupation with Adults: Part I
This course will address theoretical and practical content regarding occupational therapy practice with adults. The course builds on the foundational knowledge and skill developed in Year 1. It provides an opportunity for the application of that knowledge to case-based material and begins to prepare the student to work with adult clients in particular. Interventions that can enable occupation and promote health for adults with or at risk for musculo-skeletal, psycho-social, and neuro-cognitive/neuro-motor conditions will be examined, including those interventions that consider both the environment and the person. Appropriate assessments will also be addressed. Students will learn to apply the Occupational Performance Process Model to common and complex challenges encountered by adults.
Enabling Occupation with Adults: Part II
This course addresses theoretical and practical content regarding occupational therapy practice with adults. The course builds on the foundational knowledge and skill developed in Year 1. It provides an opportunity for students to further hone their skills in applying models of occupational therapy to practice with adults with musculo-skeletal, psychosocial, neuro-cognitive and neuro-motor conditions. More complex conditions and situations will be the context for learning to develop interventions based on evidence to enable occupation. Labs and seminars provide the opportunity for developing practical skills and for discussing the integration of research into practice.
Enabling Occupation with Older Adults: Part I
This course will address theoretical and practical content regarding occupational therapy practice with older adults. The course builds on the foundational knowledge and skill developed in Year 1. This course will provide students with a background of clinical, psychosocial and environmental factors that affect the occupational performance of the older adult. Students will also become familiar with normal aging and approaches that promote wellness in the older adult population. There will be a strong focus on assessment relevant to occupational therapy practice with older adults. In addition, relevant issues pertaining to the older adult and his/her own environment will also be covered.
Enabling Occupation with Older Adults: Part II
This course will address theoretical and practical content regarding occupational therapy practice with older adults. The course builds on the foundational knowledge and skill developed in Year 1. The aim of this course is for students to integrate clinical and theoretical knowledge for occupational therapy applications at a graduate level. Students are required to demonstrate competency in applying theories of occupational science/performance, aging and clinical applications that are evidence-based.
Occupational Therapy Fieldwork II
This course is comprised of a seven-week, full-time fieldwork opportunity during which students will be placed in approved fieldwork sites in the Toronto area. Students will be placed in a variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centres, schools, community agencies, etc. Students will be exposed to selected client issues (physical, affective/cognitive) and will experience of variety of intervention opportunities (assessment, treatment, consultation, program planning, evaluation, etc.). Supervision during the placement will be provided by registered occupational therapists. Students will focus on developing skills in advanced assessments, consolidating academic learning with clinical learning, and increasing independence in working with clients.
Occupational Therapy Fieldwork III
This course is comprised of a seven-week, full-time fieldwork opportunity during which students will be placed in approved fieldwork sites in the Toronto area. Students will be placed in a variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centres, schools, community agencies, etc. Students will be exposed to selected client issues and will experience of variety of intervention opportunities (assessment, treatment, consultation, program planning, evaluation, etc.). Supervision during the placement will be provided by registered occupational therapists. Students will focus on gaining independence in administering and interpreting assessments, treatment planning, programming and evaluation. Students will begin to use a consultation approach with their supervising occupational therapists.
Occupational Therapy Fieldwork IV
This course is comprised of an eight-week, full-time fieldwork opportunity during which students will be placed in approved fieldwork sites in the Toronto area. Students will be placed in a variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centres, schools, community agencies, etc. Students will be exposed to selected client issues and will experience of variety of intervention opportunities (assessment, treatment, consultation, program planning, evaluation, etc.). Supervision during the placement will be provided by registered occupational therapists. In this final fieldwork opportunity, the focus for student learning will be managing a significant portion of the supervisor’s caseload, maximal independence and consolidation of all previous academic and fieldwork learning.