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  • Writer's pictureNicole Cipriani

Our Beverage Date With Marli

Updated: Mar 27, 2021

If you are following us, you know that part of our vision is to help bring awareness to the general public around the beauty of OT, peppering in little takeaways to help you live your life better. In a special twist to challenge this idea, our first guest was Marli Cole! With a guest who has met and worked with so many OT superstars and written a variety of textbooks, how can we get Marli to talk about only one area?!? The answer is, we can’t. And we’re going to be flexible and adaptable about it. You can check out our pleasant stroll through Marli's career here.


Marli started her OT career by studying at UPENN, working with Claire Spackman, who authored/co-edited the first OT textbook that encompassed all practice areas at the time in 1947 (now on it’s 13th edition). She was working closely as a new graduate with Claudia Allen as she developed Allen’s Cognitive Levels to describe various learning abilities with individuals with cognitive challenges (and thus to inform intervention approaches). She brought school-based occupational therapy services to her son's Elementary School to support him with challenges related to ADHD. She was getting her masters in clinical psychology as the OT field begin to prioritize building up the knowledge base through tests and measures, and was already using a person-centered approach as the rest of the field began to wake up to this crucial piece of the magic of the provision of OT. She literally wrote the books on group dynamics, applied theory, productive aging, and global perspectives in occupational therapy! She is a proponent of experiential, social learning. And let me tell you, she has stories! All the stories. We have to apologize for cutting her off with our follow up questions or to ask for explanations, and we know that we’ll be certainly having her back for more focused conversations if she has the time!


I get it. This is not going to be super light for those of you who are not a current or former student of occupational therapy. I’m hoping to amend this with the following listener’s guide. We’ve also divided the episode into chapters so that those of you with specific occupational/context interests can skip ahead.


Fun game you can play as you listen: How many of AOTA’s 100 Influential People do you hear mentioned in this episode?


I do not have a George R.R. Martin level of time on my hands to provide for you the a full reference glossary, but I can define a few key players and points that may help supplement your listening this week if you are not an OTP, or if you need a refresher!


The use of crafts in OT: Early OT was sometimes referred to as the “work cure”. These “occupation therapists” saw the value in using handcrafts and woodworking to help individuals with psychosocial, physical, and medical challenges to improve the body and the mind.

Claire Spackman and the Curative Workshop at UPENN- Claire Spackman is co-author of the first comprehensive textbook about occupational therapy (Occupational Therapy 1947), now on its 13th edition. The craft equipment in the curative workshop was adapted to foster accessibility, but to also promote progress in areas of physical strength and range of motion. Students were trained in using equipment to foster rehabilitation for clients (then called patients), as well as use of the equipment to create adaptive equipment to allow individuals to be independent with daily tasks despite physical limitations.

EPPI and Claudia Allen- Claudia Allen is best known for co-developing the cognitive disabilities model. The Allen Cognitive Level Screen (ACLS) is a leather lacing task that progressively gets more difficult. The level determined from this task is used to inform treatment setup. Crafts were used to foster cognitive and mental health goals.

Nicole’s awkward “adaptive response” segue A. Jean Ayers developed the Sensory Integration Theory, a commonly used theory in OT. She also developed and standardized the Southern California Sensory Integration Tests, which later became Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests. Therapists must become SIPT-Certified to administer this extensive battery of tests. The adaptive response, where the client uses therapist-facilitated sensory information to perform a “just right challenge” on their own, is the goal of a session performed using the Ayers Sensory Integration (ASI) approach. There are 8 senses: The 5 most people know (vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell), and 3 senses that contribute greatly to our “body awareness”:

  • Vestibular (information about the head position and movement through space from the inner ear)

  • Proprioceptive (information from your joints and muscles about what position your body is in

  • Interoceptive (information from your inner organs about biological needs and emotional status)

Lorna Jean King- Applied Ayers’ sensory integration theory to Mental Health groups

Mildred Ross- Developed the Five-Stage group, an approach that uses organized sensory motor progressions to engage older adults, clients with intellectual disabilities, and other populations in social participation.

“Tara” refers to Tara Glennon- co-author of the Sensory Processing Measure, a questionnaire commonly used by OT’s to identify sensory processing patterns in children. She is a QU professor and the director of the Center for Pediatric Therapy, a group of sensory clinics in Connecticut.

The Model of Human Occupation- Developed by Gary Kielhofner and Janice Burke, published in 1980, is a prominent OT theory that provides a framework for assessment and intervention of a broad range of occupational challenges. It examines the interaction of the client’s motivation, performance patterns, and occupational performance.

The Bobaths- Berta Bobath was a physiotherapist who developed a method of improving movement quality for children with Cerebral Palsy that facilitated righting and equilibrium responses, along with Karel, her husband, a psychiatrist and neuropsychiatrist, their work (1948) forms the basis of what is currently known as the NDT/Bobath approach.


For those of you wondering about tasty beverage choices, Marli was drinking a homemade caramel macchiato, I was drinking echinacea elderberry tea that promised a "rich embrace tingling with fruity warmth", and Val went with a peach iced tea. That part happened before I responded adaptively to our sound challenges.


OK so how many names from the top 100 list did you hear in episode 2?


Contact us if you want to hear more about any of these topics on future episodes!





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