Mobility becomes more visible at OT conference

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Friday, April 13, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY – When the American Occupational Therapy Association recognizes 13 fellows at its annual conference here this week, two will be recognized for their work specifically in seating and wheeled mobility and assistive technology.

They are Amber Ward, MS, OTR/L, BCPR, ATP/SMS, of the Neurosciences Institute-Neurology in Charlotte, N.C., and Jessica Presperin Pedersen, OT, MBA, OTR/L, ATP/SMS, of the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago.

“Amber and Jessica’s Clinician Task Force colleagues are proud of their professional accomplishments and honored recognition,” said Laura Cohen, executive director of the CTF, where Ward and Pedersen are both members and where Ward serves on the executive board.

The AOTA’s Roster of Fellows award recognizes OTs who through their knowledge, expertise, leadership, advocacy and/or guidance, have made a significant contribution over time to the profession. Since its inception in 1973, 261 OTs have been named fellows.

Ward and Pedersen being named fellows is only the first indication that seating and wheeled mobility and AT are becoming more visible within the AOTA. The second: 18 educational and poster sessions at the conference are focused on the specialty.

“Usually, there’s maybe one presentation related to seating and wheeled mobility and AT,” Ward said. “It’s super duper cool that it’s getting more recognition and we’re going to keep working on that.”

It helped to have an insider at the AOTA: Roger Smith, PhD, OT, FAOTA, a past president of RESNA who, as the recipient of the Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship award in 2017, was involved in planning the content for this year’s conference.

“He’s a huge advocate and he really pushed for AT being a bigger part of the conference,” Pedersen said.