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A publication of the New York State Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.


Spring 2012 • Volume 23, Number 1

119 Washington Ave 2nd Floor Albany, NY 12210 P (518) 462-3717 F (518) 432-5902

An Open Letter to OTs & OTAs in New York State As President of the New York State Occupational Therapy Association (NYSOTA) I see hundreds of emails between members, volunteers, concerned OTs and others interested in the status of Occupational Therapy in New York. Recently, I was privileged to be privy to a communication between a dedicated and passionate volunteer and a concerned OT. I am pleased to have permission to share this letter with you, our members. I would also challenge you to share this with your nonmember peers, co-workers, OT friends and anyone else interested in OT here in New York. Some background: This letter is in response to an email sent to a volunteer leader inquiring about how to stay informed about the changes to OT practice. The only thing I would add to this passionate plea is to follow in the writer’s footsteps and volunteer. The strength of NYSOTA is in its members and volunteers. Thank you for inquiring about the outcome of the recent New York State Occupational Therapy Association Town Meetings. I appreciate that you are aware of these important issues facing us, and the efforts of NYSOTA to support OT practitioners in advocating and navigating through some complicated changes in our practice. I assume that you are probably following NYSOTA on our website ( or on Facebook (www. My first question to you is, “are you a member of New York State Occupational Therapy Association?” The meeting that you missed, as well as the NYSOTA website where much of the information you are asking about is posted ( is funded through the membership dues of NYSOTA members. It’s nice that NYSOTA so freely offers the fruit of our advocacy, lobbying and hard work to members and non-members alike. However, as a member who devotes many volunteer hours to our profession, I sometimes become discouraged that there are many more practitioners out there who do not recognize or appreciate that they are reaping the benefits of a minority who contribute their time and money to keep our profession alive. If you are a

member, we thank you for your support! My best advice in response to “how can I stay informed on the changes?” is: 1. Join NYSOTA! Please! We need you/You need us! As a NYSOTA member, you will receive regular eblasts that keep you updated on State Board for OT legislative issues, news and events. Encourage your peers and co-workers to join NYSOTA. The more members we have, the louder the voice we have. 2. Attend NYSOTA District meetings. Currently, Niagara Frontier District meetings are generally held in the Buffalo vicinity. There is no reason we can’t schedule meetings in your area. All it takes is a few NYSOTA members to work together to schedule a meeting or event. Check with the OTA Department at Jamestown Community College. I am confident they would be very receptive to the idea of holding district meetings in your area. On April 19, Melissa Whelan, NYSOTA President and I will be attending an event at Jamestown Community College. Consider attending that meeting and speaking with us personally. Contact the JCC OTA Department for details. continues on page 3

Inside this issue Letter from the President......................................... 1 Make Conference a Fall Getaway!.......................... 2 Advocacy for OT: A Student’s Perspective........... 4 Join NYSOTA NOW!................................................. 4 Joining Together for School-Based OT.................. 5 Rebuilding Together Day is April 28....................... 6 HTD Scholarship Winner......................................... 6 Central District Zaner-Bloser Event..................... 6 Member Spotlight: Kim Wiggins, OTR/L.............. 6 Capital District Scholarship News.......................... 7 New OT Regulations Proposed............................... 8


NewYorkStateOccupational TherapyAssociation Inc.

NYSOTA Volunteer Network................................. 9 Lobby Day A Big Success......................................... 10 Photos from NYSOA Events.................................. 10

Volume 23 Number 1 Spring 2012

Make the NYSOA Conference a fall getaway this year! The NYSOTA board is working together with the Rochester District to streamline the conference planning process to meet the professional, personal and educational needs of occupational therapists across New York State. Come be part of the festivities, and enjoy the newly renovated Radission Hotel Rochester Riverside! What better time to get reinvigorated in your profession than 2012? Come learn about what changes are happening this year in the practice of occupational therapy in New York State and learn from your colleagues from across the Northeast. We plan to have an amazing weekend with some surprise guests—truly a time you would not want to miss. Any questions please contact us at We look forward to see you in Rochester!


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An Open Letter to OTs & OTAs in New York State, Continued continued from page 1 All districts have events posted on the calendar of the NYSOTA website; we encourage you to check there for meetings in your area: 3. Attend the annual NYSOTA Niagara Frontier District dinner and workshop on April 18. This is a great event to network with like-minded practitioners, and learn about what’s going on locally and throughout the state. Watch or www. for details. Again, Melissa Whelan will be there to present a workshop on the new supervision regulations established by the SBOT. NYSOTA has been working to develop a “toolkit” to aid practitioners in complying with these regulations. This toolkit will be an exclusive benefit to NYSOTA members. Participate in other NYSOTA events in your area. NYSOTA partners with NAMI, Building Together and other groups throughout the state to spread the word about OT and NYSOTA. 4. Attend the NYSOTA Annual Conference and expo. This is a great event that will be held in Rochester this year (November 9-11), and is within driving distance of your area. Rates for members are significantly discounted.

Not only will you earn CEUs for participation in the courses, the NYSOTA annual conference is THE PLACE to mingle and network with NYSOTA board members, industry supporters and colleagues and learn about the latest happenings. As an active NYSOTA member serving on the board of our Niagara Frontier District as well as on the NYSOTA state executive board, I can attest to the hundreds of hours many members volunteer to promote, develop and defend our profession. I certainly don’t have the same expectation for everyone. However, I do believe that it is only reasonable and right that all OT practitioners working in New York State support the existence and growth of our profession through professional association membership. NYSOTA is the only professional organization for Occupational Therapy in New York State. There is no other organization out there to support us. Our success as a profession in New York State depends on your support. We need you/You need us! Thank you, A passionate volunteer (This volunteer, although passionate, wishes to remain anonymous) Looking forward,

Melissa Whelan President, NYSOTA

Volume 23 Number 1 Spring 2012

Advocacy for OT: A Student’s Perspective By Katherine Maigret

As I am finishing my last semester of a BS/MS degree in OT from D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY, I have been reflecting on the many acts of advocacy I have participated in over the last four years, many of them official and many more unofficial. I completed a level II fieldwork rotation with the State Policy Office at AOTA headquarters. I’ve traveled to Albany twice to participate in NYSOTA’s Lobby Day. I’ve attended meetings on Capitol Hill twice, once with fellow New Yorkers to participate in AOTA’s Lobby Day and once with AOTA’s Federal Affairs Legislative Representative, Ralph Kohl, to thank a member of Congress for their support. Through volunteering with Meals on Wheels, I once found myself in an elevator with the Mayor of Buffalo, Byron Brown and I took the opportunity to inform him of the important role OTs have in community participation. And, I’ve truly lost count of how many times I have answered the many forms of the question “what exactly is OT?” By seizing each of these opportunities I have gained the confidence and skills required to become effective at promoting and advocating for my profession. When I arrived at AOTA headquarters in Bethesda, MD, I was surprised to learn that both the State Policy and Federal Affairs Departments consist of only 9 people, and there are no OTs currently working in either department. I soon learned however, that both departments have very smart and effective people working tirelessly for the benefit of occupational therapy. They may not have clinical expertise but they have an incredible amount of knowledge and passion for the profession. Before each of my congressional visits I was very well prepared, by AOTA, to speak knowledgeably about the current federal issues regarding OT.

Likewise, when I addressed my representatives in Albany, I was given plenty of homework from NYSOTA beforehand, so I could clearly and concisely speak to the issues at hand. Through each of these experiences, I’ve learned that it is not necessary for a practitioner or student to know everything about each piece of legislation; the person in the room who knows the most about OT is you. It is your job to educate legislators and their staff members about the important role OT plays in healthcare.

truly understand the holistic nature of health and wellness. Even though my academic journey has been long and challenging, choosing to become an occupational therapist was the best decision I’ve ever made. Because I’ve taken opportunities to advocate for my future profession, I’ve learned so much more than what I’ve experienced in the classroom and lab. I encourage all students and clinicians to become active members of NYSOTA and AOTA to enhance and expand on the clinical and advocacy skills we’ve learned in school.

Educating the general public about OT is something with which I’m sure most practitioners and students are familiar. During my first semester at D’Youville my classmates and I were encouraged to develop an “elevator speech” about OT, something that could be delivered in a short Tell all your friends: amount of time in response to a question about OT. JOIN NYSOTA NOW AND Although I often change YOUR MEMBERSHIP IS FREE the delivery of my “elevator UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR speech” based on the (2011/2012 membership year ends June 30, 2012) nature of the question, I find myself becoming more comfortable and confident That’s right! with my responses. I am Effective April 1, 2012, join as a member never annoyed when people for 2012/2013 get the rest of the current are unfamiliar with OT. membership year FREE.


On the contrary, I see it as a great opportunity to provide someone with a fresh outlook on a unique approach to healthcare. And when I share this new outlook on healthcare in a friendly tone and with a smile, I hope it conveys the impression that OTs are warm, empathetic, and confident professionals who

The 2012/2013 year runs July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013.

Also: Refer five new members and receive an attractive & useful jelly band USB bracelet! Join online or download a membership form at: For more information please contact or

NYSOTA News Joining together to honor school-based OT In the Binghamton, NY area, a group of Pediatric, School-Based Occupational Therapists has found a beneficial, meaningful and productive way to grow professionally within the budgetary constraints and limited support present in today’s economic times. They have formed the School-Based Occupational Therapy Consortium of Broome & Surrounding Counties. This group provides opportunities to share treatment ideas and activities, discuss evaluation skills and tools, develop professional and clinical skills, discuss pediatric and school-based needs, network with vendors, and much more. Comprised of OTs from 17 school

districts with varying populations and specialized programs serviced, they meet monthly for two hours, usually on a Wednesday or Thursday, rotating between school districts. Within this group dynamic, the professional years of experience ranges from new graduates to those with 35+ years of service.

At each meeting, the group uses their varying specialties and levels of expertise to create presentations on topics of interest. They have been successful in contacting various professionals, including optometrists and speech pathologists within the local region to present for no fee. There have also been opportunities for parent panel discussions on care, treatment and professional–parent collaborations. Case studies have been shared for reflection, feedback and treatment growth among the group. Activity analysis and ideas are shared for review and growth for treatment application. continues on page 7

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Volume 23 Number 1 Spring 2012

Rebuilding Together Day is April 28!

There are many locations to choose from. HTD members will be signing up with Donna Frasier the house captain for the Elant house project. The project name is Tellegrone. Anyone wishing to join, please sign up on the Rebuilding Together Dutchess County website at:, and email Donna at dfrasier@ to let her know.

HTD Scholarship Winner!

Congratulations to this year’s Hudson-Taconic District Scholarship Award Winner, Brendan Gould, OTAS! He is also currently serving as the OTA Vice Chairperson on the Assembly of Student Delegates Steering Committee. Brendan is currently attending SUNY-Orange OTA Program. Excellent job!

central district Zaner-Bloser Event a SuccesS The Central District hosted a twohour Zaner-Bloser course, An Interactive Workshop: Art and Science of Handwriting on February 28. Kimberly Wiggins, OTR/L and owner of listenWRITE shineBRIGHT presented the workshop for the first time. Kimberly is also chair of the NYSOTA Pediatric Special Interest Section. It was a wonderful and informative night for all. Several of the OTs in attendance brought along teachers they work with. Kimberly shared with the group handwriting from both developmental and sensory frames of reference. She also provided everyone with very practical advice about working within a school setting.

Additionally, the attendees engaged in 10 hands-on learning activities which were setup around the room. Kate Carey, Zaner-Bloser Educational Sales Representative, was also in attendance and provided everyone with terrific complimentary materials. The night ended with Kate raffling off additional Zaner-Bloser materials.

Member spotlight: Kim Wiggins, OTR/L Kimberly Wiggins from the Binghamton area is a busy licensed occupational therapist. She works full time for Binghamton School District and per diem for several companies providing Early Intervention and Preschool evaluations. Kim is also the owner of listenWRITE shineBRIGHT which provides a “Handwriting Camp” in the summer months for children who may regress or need to build their skills before the next school year. In addition, through listenWRITE shineBRIGHT, Kim provides workshops for families and professionals about a variety of OT topics, including sensory integration, picky eaters, The Listening

Program and the awareness of OT in the school setting. Kim is also a vational speaker and program developer on the topic of multisensory handwriting skills and presents throughout the U.S. She presented a two-day course at the National Special Education Conference in Seattle, WA and a one-day course at the Montana OT Association Annual Conference in March 2012.

NYSOTA News CAPITAL DISTRICT SCHOLARSHIP NEWS Congratulations! NYSOTA Capital District is pleased to announce this year’s award of three $250 scholarships to area OT students: Anna Zenker, of Maria College and Bryna Blanchard and Joseph Hayter who are both studying at the Sage Colleges. The original awards offered were increased due to the success of fundraising within the district.

We extend best wishes for a successful career in OT to all of the very talented applicants. Looking forward to seeing you at our local Capital District meetings and our up-and-coming Bridging the Gap Social for Sage and Maria College Students on May 10. Location to be announced.

Joining together to honor school-based OT, continued continued from page 5

These monthly meetings are beneficial, meaningful, productive and free. The group has also created a Facebook page, SchoolBased Pediatric OTs of Broome & Surrounding Areas and a group email, for additional opportunities to provide feedback on issues, direct access to each member and the continued ability to network. To rise above the challenges of budgets and meet the continued need for continuing education, this group of dedicated Pediatric, School-Based Occupational Therapy professionals have joined together to honor their discipline, demonstrating a commitment to the profession and a desire to honor professional growth in these tough economic times.

Volume 23 Number 1 Spring 2012

New OT Regulations Proposed On March 14, new Commissioner’s Regulations regarding occupational therapy were posted on the State Register. The State Register can be accessed at: pdfs/rules.pdf The posting in the State Register gives public notice regarding the state education department’s proposed amendments to Commissioner’s Regulations, Part 76, regarding the limited permit for an OT; the supervision of the OT with a limited permit; the definition of the practice of an occupational therapy assistant; the requirements to practice as an occupational therapy assistant; the supervision of an occupational therapy

assistant; the supervision of the occupational therapy assistant student. NYSOTA will submit comments and suggested changes to the regulations. However, at the same time we encourage our members to make their voices heard by submitting their own comments. Comments may be submitted to: Office of the Professions Office of the Deputy Commissioner State Education Department, 89 Washington Avenue, 2M Albany, NY 12234 (518) 474-1941 Public comment will be received until 45 days after publication of this notice.

(Friday April 27th will be day 44) The state board for occupational therapy has proposed new amendments to Part 76 of the Commissioner’s Regulations regarding the scope of practice of the OTA, the supervision of the OTA, the education and registration requirements, the supervision of the OTA student and the supervision of the OT with a limited permit. The proposed regulations were presented to the Board of Regents on February 13 and 14th and posted as emergency regulations in effect immediately. There will be a 45 day public comment period and then revisions to the regulations are possible before the new regulations become permanent. continues on page 9

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NYSOTA News New OT Regulations Proposed, continued continued from page 8

be notified whenever there is a clinically significant change in the condition or performance of the client, so that an appropriate supervisory action can take place. • The occupational therapist or licensed physician shall be available for immediate consultation with the occupational therapy assistant • Direct supervision requires that the occupational therapist or licensed physician directly participates in the delivery of services including during the initial evaluation and regularly throughout the course of intervention and outcome evaluation, • Ratio of 5 fte to 1, but no greater then 10

The scope of practice of the OTA is based on AOTA’s “Guidelines for Supervision, Roles, and Responsibilities During the Delivery of Occupational Therapy Services,” Adopted by the Representative Assembly in 2004, edited by the Commission on Practice 2009 and AOTA’s Model State Regulations adopted by Representative by the Assembly in 2005. The definition of OTA practice states that the OTA: • provides occupational therapy services under the direction and supervision of an occupational therapist or licensed physician • Contributes to the evaluation of a client • Consults with the supervisor in the development of a treatment plan, modification of treatment and The proposed regulations require that the supervision of termination of treatment the occupational therapy assistant student by • The utilization of a program of purposeful activities, • Direct supervision by occupational therapist a treatment program, and/or consultation with • They may work with the OTA who serves as a the client, family, caregiver, or other health care or fieldwork educator education providers • in accordance with standards established by a national • The use of treatment modalities and techniques that accreditation agency which is satisfactory to the State are based on approaches taught in an occupational Education Department. therapy assistant educational program The supervision of a limited permitee requires: The proposed regulations are also partly based on the same • Supervision plan AOTA documents and state that an OTA: • Review of treatment notes • Must develop a written supervision plan for each • Documentation of each supervision contact occupational therapy assistant, a plan that must • The supervisor will: specify the frequency of supervisory contacts and • initiate, direct and participate in the initial methods and types of supervision, the content areas evaluation and interpret the evaluation data to be addressed, how written documentation will • develop the treatment plan with input from the be reviewed, how professional development will be permitee fostered. • participate regularly in the delivery of services • The determination of the level and type of supervision • Ratio of 5 fte:1, no greater than 10 must be based on • the ability level and experience of the occupational therapy assistant to provide the delegated Willing to volunteer to help create assessment or intervention a stronger NYSOTA? • the complexity of client needs • the setting in which the occupational therapy Want to develop skills that can assistant is providing the services, and take your career to the next level? • consultation with the occupational therapy assistant. Contact the NYSOTA • Documentation of supervision must include the date VOLUNTEER NETWORK at! and content of each supervisory contact and evidence of the review of all treatment notes and reports. • The occupational therapist or licensed physician must


NewYorkStateOccupational TherapyAssociation Inc.

119 Washington Ave. 2nd Floor Albany, New York 12210 P (518) 462-3717 ∙ F (518) 432-5902 ∙


A publication of the New York State Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. NYSOTA Executive Officers President Melissa Whelan, MS, OTR/L, IMC Vice President Joan Whitesell, OTR/L

Lobby Day a Big Success NYSOTA’s lobby day in Albany on March 14 was a great success again. Over 100 OTs OTAs and students participated. Senator Tim Kennedy welcomed everyone at the start of the day with a resounding speech on the importance of advocating for OT. Attendees met with many state legislators and worked on issues such as continuing competency legislation and budget proposals regarding early intervention.

Secretary Francine Seruya PhD, OTR/L Treasurer Laura Watson OT/L

NYSOTA News Newsletter Editor Gloria Lucker, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, BCP

Photos from A meeting with the Acting State Board Secretary

Photos from NYSOTA’s Board meeting in February in Albany

NYSOTA News Spring 2012 Volume 23 Number 1  

New York State Occupational Theraoy Association offical newsletter. Spring 2012 edition

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