Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Image is Everything

As a longtime admirer of Suzanne Peloquin's work and writing, I always try to hear her speak when possible. I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Peloquin speak at the 2010 Texas Occupational Therapy Association's Mountain Central Conference on a fascinating experience she had in an effort to enhance the public image of occupational therapy.

Her presentation was captivating, as she described her feelings and perceptions regarding the single image that Microsoft had in its repertoire of clip art on PowerPoint to represent occupational therapy. Here it is...

Audience discussion revealed a similar reaction to Dr. Peloquin's...How does this represent OT? What exactly is it? What is it trying to depict about our profession?

AOTA members can read a more detailed account of Dr. Peloquin's quest to answer some of these questions in the April 5, 2010 issue of OT Practice. However, her delightful account in her presentation revealed that she contacted Microsoft directly regarding her inquiries. They readily responded, and through an iterative process, allowed Dr. Peloquin to select additional images to represent OT from the existing graphics collection.

Dr. Peloquin selected additional images - some concrete and some more abstract - to reflect the values and activities of our profession. The additional images includes pictures of items to support ADLs such as a toothbrush, craft supplies, animals, as well as symbols that represent concepts such as communication, diversity, and spirituality.

All in all, it was fascinating to hear of the process that Dr. Peloquin went through and the willingness of Microsoft to include additional images. Perhaps more than that, Dr. Peloquin's efforts serve as a reminder that we all have a responsibility to reflect on the images of our profession...and then take action as needed!!!