Occupational Therapy Professional Development Committee

Professional Development Conference 2015: Occupational Therapy Across the Lifespan

Schedule | About the Speakers | Download Program .pdf
Edmonton Workshop Description Calgary Workshop Description Admission Cost

Conference poster final





8:30 – 9:00 Registration Foyer
9:00 – 10:30 Keynote Address 2-39 Rachel Thibeault
10:30 – 11:00 Speaker 1 2-39 Joyce Magill-Evans
11:15 – 12:00 Workshop – A Glimpse into the Wheelchair Universe 3-07 Ira Walls and Mark Vanzanbeek
Workshop – Sex Toys and Disability  2-22 Brenda Kerber
Workshop The Long and Winding Path: The Journey to Adulthood for Adolescents with Disabilities ADL lab Tamara Germani
Workshop – OT in Private Practice 2-39 Kyle Nanan
Workshop – Animal Assisted Therapy 3-01 Chelsea Jones
Workshop – “the must-knows of liability in your practice” Faculty Conference Room Maggie Green, Sonya Grant, Judith Lee
Workshop – COAST, Mental Health, & the Built Environment 3-26 Robin Mazumder
Workshop – Occupational Therapy Role in Behaviour Management in Continuing Care Settings
Calgary Only Devon Rachel
Workshop – Sensory Regulation Calgary Only Katrina Binzer
12:00 – 1:15 Lunch 2-44
Vendors Foyer/2-44
1:15 – 2:00 Workshop – A Glimpse into the Wheelchair Universe 3-07 Ira Walls and Mark Vanzanbeek
Workshop – Sex Toys and Disability  2-22 Brenda Kerber
Workshop – The Long and Winding Path: The Journey to Adulthood for Adolescents with Disabilities ADL lab Tamara Germani
Workshop – OT in Private Practice Faculty Conference Room Kyle Nanan
Workshop – Animal Assisted Therapy 3-01 Chelsea Jones
Workshop – Quality of Life and Social Inclusion 2-39 Cindy Smith
Workshop – Going against the flow: building personal resilience through selective occupations. 3-26 Rachel Thibeault
Workshop – A Community Mental Health Model Calgary Only Potential Place
Workshop – Motor planning and Fine motor skills Calgary Only Louane Piche-Simard
2:15 – 2:45 Speaker 2 2-39 Dennis Ross
2:45 – 3:15 Speaker 3 2-39 Louise Miller
3:15 – 3:30 Closing 2-39

About Rachel Thibeault

Rachel Thibeault has a background in occupational therapy, psychology, and community development. She specializes in community-based rehabilitation, resiliency and social justice in health care around the world. Her community rehabilitation work is participant/community driven with a wide variety of populations and hard to access settings, such as current war zones. She received the Muriel Driver Award, highest distinction for an occupational therapy for her research on occupation, social justice and resilience. She has received the Excellence in Teaching Award and was made an Office of the Order of Canada, which recognizes her achievement and service to Canada and humanity overall. She received this honorable award based on her advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities and expanding occupational practice.

Topic: Virtual occupations, wellbeing and the lifespan.
The presentation will address the use of Information Technologies (IT) in our lives and their impact on our wellbeing. Strategies for maximizing healthy use through the lifespan will be offered.

About Dennis Ross

Denny is a charismatic and resilient individual who loves to challenge himself with the latest and fastest adventures in life. His most recent adventure has been participating in the ReWalk research with the University of Alberta. He is excited to share about how this experience has renewed his sense of purpose, impacted relationships with his family, and changed his outlook on life.

Topic: The Impact of Disability Change can impact anyone’s ability.
Gain insight into how a spinal cord injury affect Dennis’ life and feel free to ask questions in this Q & A formatted presentation.

About Louise Miller

Louise Miller, is a member of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Alberta Order of Excellence. She is also a leader in advocacy and community volunteerism. Louise came to Canada in 1965 where she continued working as a nurse. Louise served as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the  Royal Alexandra Hospital. Driven by her passion to create equal opportunities for people affected by spinal cord injuries, Louise founded the Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre (Northern Alberta) Society. She uses every minute of every day to create opportunities for people with disabilities; her mantra is Never say.. Never”.

Topic: Occupational Therapist is an Advocate, Really!
Are you a person who acts as a supporter, backer, promoter, proponent, exponent, spokesperson, campaigner, fighter, crusader? In my presentation, I will explore what an advocate is and the skills one needs to be an effective advocate on behalf of your clients.


Workshop – A Glimpse into the Wheelchair Universe

Presenters: Ira Walls & Mark Van Zan Beek
When unexpected or changing life circumstances occur, people may experience an impairment that requires a wheelchair to mobilize. Expect a hands-on experience and exposure to: 1. Different styles and types of wheelchairs available 2. The various parts and of a wheelchair and the terminology 3. Adjustments that can be made and how they effect the client.

The Long & Winding Path: The Journey to Adulthood for Adolescents with Disabilities

Presenter: Tamara Germani
If you’ve ever laughed or identified with Andy Samberg’s angst of “I’m an adult!” then this session might be for you. For youth and young adults with disabilities, that exact moment of “reaching adulthood” and exerting autonomy is difficult to pinpoint and can often be delayed. In this session, explore and discover resources in supporting mental health and well-being, life transitions, obesity, employment, social media and sexuality on the journey to adulthood. Guided based on participant’s interests, the opportunity to discuss some or all of these topics, discuss challenges and learn about online and community-based resources for this population. If you have FOMO (hipster lingo for ‘fear of missing out’), then be sure to attend this session on Adolescents with Disabilities.

OT in Private Practice

Presenter: Kyle Nanan
Kyle completed an undergraduate degree in Pharmacology and MScOT at the University of Alberta. He has been practicing in a private setting since 2010 and recently made the transition to medical legal work as well. He is a mentor for OTs in many CBI locations in Alberta. He also travels out of province to complete employer work as well. His practice scope includes: functional capacity evaluations, home assessments, physical demands anal-yses, ergonomics assessments, hand therapy, and mentorship. Kyle will be speaking about private practice, case management, working on a fee for service model, medical legal consulting, mentoring, and growing an OT practice.

Animal Assisted Therapy

Presenter: Chelsea Jones
Come and get a little taste of Animal Assisted Therapy with Chelsea and her dogs! Chelsea became an AAT therapist through the CHIMO Project. Chelsea is currently the only OT in Western Canada working for the Department of National Defense. Her main area of interest is the management and rehabilitation of soldiers who have sustained traumatic brain injuries. She is hoping to begin an AAT program at her workplace in the future. Chelsea enjoys volunteering for Rescue for Life, a local animal rescue, running her photography business, and spending time with her dogs Bear (AAT canine), Nickita, and Vincent (AAT canine in training).

Quality of Life and Social Inclusion

Presenter: Cindy Smith
How can individuals, families, professionals, and communities work together to facilitate social inclusion and improve quality of life for persons with disabilities? Challenges and successes will be explored through the sharing of personal experiences, utilizing videos and slides, and thoughtful discussion.

Sex Toys and Disability

Presenter: Brenda Kerber
The current trend toward mainstream acceptance of sex toys has opened up a world of possibilities for those with sexual health concerns due to disabilities and chronic illnesses.  Far from being simply a novelty, sex ‘toys’ such a vibrators, lubricants, rings, & other devices, can be a bridge to restoring lost sexual function, or creating possibilities for new types of sexual expression. The session will focus on specific types of sexual health concerns relating to illness and disability such as fatigue, spasticity, reduced mobility & flexibility, altered sensation, reduced lubrication, & erectile concerns. A variety of options and tools that can aid with these conditions will be presented.  Specific examples will be given including demonstration of products and resources within Alberta for accessing products and adaptive help.

The “Must-Knows” of Liability in your Practice

Presenters: Maggie Green, Sonya Grant, and Judith Lee
To err is human. Although infrequent, practice errors in occupa-tional therapy do occur, often resulting in serious consequences for the client & the therapist. Protect yourself & your clients by learning about professional liability, common claims made against OTs, and what you should look for when purchasing lia-bility insurance.

COAST, Mental Health, & the Built Environment

Presenter: Robin Mazumder
The Community Outreach Assessment and Support Team (COAST) is the product of a cross-ministerial initiative that aims to meet the needs of people with complex service needs. The COAST serves to meet this endeavor by enhancing the community’s capacity to provide effective and enriched supports to individuals with developmental disabilities. Areas of enhancement to be targeted include; providing increased supports to service providers during times of crisis, developing preventative strategies to avoid the need for service providers to initiate a critical response and empowering service providers with the ability to maintain and implement high quality service provision. The team is multidisciplinary and is represented by Behaviour Specialists, Occupational Therapists, Social Work, Psychologist, Nurse, Therapy Assistant and an ILS worker. By attending this workshop, you can learn more about (1) the occupational therapy role on the COAST team, (2) COAST’s philosophies: affirmative model of disability, attachment informed care, trauma informed care, anti-oppressive practice, and (3) how mental health and wellness are impacted by urban design and built environments.

Going against the flow: building personal resilience through selective occupations.

Presenter: Rachel Thibeault
This workshop focuses on the power of occupation as unveiled by the latest research in neuroscience, immunology and psychol-ogy. Through real-life examples of people who have experienced severe trauma and responded with remarkable resilience and post-traumatic growth, occupation-based strategies applicable to both patients and therapists are explored.

Calgary Workshops

For more information, email Megan, Calgary Campus Representative at gajdosti@ualberta.ca

Occupational Therapy Role in Behaviour Management in Continuing Care Settings

Behaviour Education Support (BES) Team Presenter: Devon Racher, OT

Motor and Fine Motor Planning

Child & Adolescent Addiction & Mental Health Community Services Presenter: Louane Piche-Simard, OT

A Community Mental Health Model

Potential Place is dedicated to maintaining a community for individuals with mental illness through participation, personal development and individual empowerment.

Sensory Regulation

Child and Adolescent Addiction and Mental Health Programs Presenter: Katrina Binzer, OT

Edmonton Admission

$30 for regular admission
$15 for RMSA members

Calgary Admission

$20 for regular admission

Ticket Sale

Tickets are on sale at Corbett Hall at the following times. Please email otpdc@gmail.com if you would like to make alternative arrangements to purchase tickets.

  • Thursday, Jan 8: 11:15 – 12
  • Friday, Jan 9: 10 – 10:45
  • Monday, Jan 12: 10:30 – 11:15
  • Monday, Jan 12: 12 – 12:30
  • Tuesday, Jan 13: 11:30 – 12



Click here to see information from last year’s conference