Seminar highlights latest technology in occupational therapy

The Assistive Technology seminar at Penn State DuBois.

Students and professionals in the occupational therapy field experiment, with items used to help patients increase focus and attention, during an assistive technology seminar at Penn State DuBois.

Credit: Penn State

DUBOIS, Pa. — Students, as well as working professionals, got an up-close look at some of the latest equipment and techniques used in the field of occupational therapy at Penn State DuBois on Wednesday. An assistive technology seminar was hosted by the campus Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program and Penn State DuBois Continuing and Community Education.

Ray Heipp, a senior sales specialist with Illinois-based company School Health, provided an overview of a variety of equipment used today in occupational therapy and related fields that help patients recover from injuries, or adapt to limiting conditions.

“Assistive technology is anything that helps an individual complete daily and life activities while dealing with any kind of condition that might limit abilities,” Heipp explained.

Heipp provided demonstrations of simple devices used to assist with actions like writing, sitting and standing, and using tools, as well as more technological devises that can be used for everything from accessing a computer, to maintaining personal hygiene.

Penn State DuBois Director of Continuing and Community Education John Brennan said, “This is a great tie-in between our educational programs and our community, which helps to get our students integrated into their field and networked with those currently working in that field. It’s current professionals and future professionals learning together.”

Heipp said even experienced professionals benefit from seminars such as this by learning about new developments in the field.

He said, “We’re always finding new methods, and some professionals may already use these items, but maybe they’re using them in a way that we used them 15 years ago, and since then we’ve discovered new ways to improve their use.”

Amy Fatula, assistant teaching professor in the OTA program, added, “This is very useful for all the area clinicians who need continuing education credits to stay current with their certifications and stay up to speed on the latest technology. And it’s important to have hands-on opportunities like this to learn exactly how these tools are applied in the field.”

The OTA program will host the annual Assistive Technology Fair from noon until 2 p.m. on Nov. 7, in the DEF Building at Penn State DuBois.  Showcasing the latest in assistive technology, the event is free and open to the public.