By Lindsey Turnbull
Aligning with World Occupational Therapy Day, which took place on 27 October, a regional conference on the subject was held last Saturday 30 October, hosted by the Cayman Islands Occupational Therapy Association (CIOTA). This biennial event - the Association of Caribbean Occupational Therapist (ACOT) conference - was, for the first time, hosted virtually and featured presentations and posters from local, regional and international occupational therapists and other allied healthcare professionals. This is not the first time the CIOTA has hosted this conference, having last hosted in 2013.
The theme for the 2021 conference was ‘Inclusion Across the Lifespan’ and had a special focus on children through to the elderly, addressing various areas function under the umbrella of inclusivity.
First formed in 2013, the CIOTA is the registered non-profit organisation consisting of occupational therapists working in Grand Cayman across different settings from adults to paediatrics, and across government and the private sector.
Occupational therapy is a growing area of healthcare that is based on the knowledge and belief that being able to do the daily tasks and roles that are important to us (such as learning at school, playing, washing and doing household tasks) is essential for our health and well-being. Occupational therapists (OTs) work with people of all ages and with a range of developmental, physical and psychosocial conditions and abilities, which can affect our effectiveness to do meaningful activities. OTs offer developmental and rehabilitative support, practical assistance, and advice to support people to overcome challenges and barriers.
OTs work with individuals of all ages and a variety of physical, cognitive, neurodevelopmental and/or psychological needs. On-island, there are currently 18 paediatric OTs who work with new-born babies to 18-year-olds, and four OTs working with adults. Occupational therapy is available in both the public and private sectors. In the Cayman Islands, and OTs work in schools, hospitals, outpatient clinics, learning disability facilities, mental health facilities, and in the community.
How to access OT services
For access to private occupational therapy services through insurance or to access HSA occupational therapy, a referral is needed from your doctor. For additional information you might want to contact the private clinics or HSA directly. For the Department of Education free services are available in public schools, a referral is completed by the Special Educational Needs teacher, this is required to access occupational therapy assessment. For children under 5 years old, and not in public school, the Early Intervention Team offers free therapy services including occupational therapy. Access to the adult learning disabilities OT is via referral to the Sunrise Adult Training Centre.
Local supporters of the conference included gold sponsor Cayman Theraplay, and silver sponsors Cayman ABA and Caymedia. Exhibitors include Cayman Physiotherapy, Oncourse Cayman and University of Southern Caribbean.