Expanding the Impact of Occupational Therapy with the Lens of Vision Care with Dr. Janet Powell (Episode #89)

Dr. Janet PowellDr. Lynn Hellerstein of Vision Beyond Sight speaks with Dr. Janet Powell, occupational therapist, retired faculty and author, to talk about how vision care impacts occupational therapy (OT) and rehabilitation, the advantages of interdisciplinary collaborations, and effectively fostering these collaborations through share and show. Dr. Powell provides a layman’s definition on occupational therapy, and shares her personal experiences and discovery on how crucial eye health is to OT and acquired brain injury that inspired her toward collaborating with neuro-optometrists. This eventually led her co-authoring the highly influential book Zoltan's Vision, Perception, and Cognition: Evaluation and Treatment of the Adult with Acquired Brain Injury that is now in its 5th edition.

🔊 Click here and tune in to the show now to explore:

  • Understanding occupational therapy and its focus on how a person “occupies” their time
  • The difference between remediation and compensation approaches to help patients engage in their daily activities
  • Finding out how vision care is a missing piece in occupational therapy
  • Dr. Powell’s personal experience with cognitive issues caused by her poor vision
  • Collaboration with behavioral optometrist/neuro-optometrist Nancy Torgerson
  • Using low-key educational approach (share and show) in spreading the importance of vision care in occupational rehabilitation
  • Dr. Powell’s book Zoltan's Vision, Perception, and Cognition: Evaluation and Treatment of the Adult with Acquired Brain Injury, 5th Edition

About Dr. Janet Powell:

I grew up in Downey, CA, a suburb of Los Angeles.  I first learned about occupational therapy as a high school senior at a summer job at Rancho Los Amigos, a world-renowned rehabilitation center just 1.5 miles from my home.  Last year, I celebrated my 50th anniversary of graduating with my occupational therapy degree from the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle.  I have worked in clinical and academic settings with a focus on helping people with neurological disorders through interdisciplinary collaborations.  As a clinician, I worked first with children with cerebral palsy and then with adults with stroke or traumatic brain injury.  While working in adult out-patient rehabilitation in the early 1990s, I developed a neurological vision screen and vision program in collaboration with optometry.

I went back to graduate school at the UW in my 40s and earned a Master's degree in Rehabilitation Medicine and an interdisciplinary PhD in Rehabilitation Medicine, Psychology, Biostatistics, and Education.  My PhD program was under a unique model where students with interdisciplinary interests that are not met by existing PhD programs can design their own course of study.  After graduating in 2001,  I moved to academia as faculty in the UW Department of Rehabilitation Medicine Division of Occupational Therapy.  I taught in the entry-level Master of Occupational Therapy Program until I retired from the UW in 2020, serving as Program Director for my last 9 years.

I have conducted multiple research studies focused on improving the lives of people with brain injury and their caregivers that have been published in occupational therapy, rehabilitation medicine, and optometry journals and have authored chapters in occupational therapy and optometry textbooks. Last July, an occupational therapy textbook I co-authored titled Zoltan's Vision, Perception, and Cognition: Evaluation and Treatment of the Adult with Acquired Brain Injury was published.

Check out Dr. Janet Powell's book:

Zoltan's Vision, Perception, and Cognition:
Evaluation and Treatment of the Adult with Acquired Brain Injury, 5th Edition

Authors: Dr. Janet Powell and Dr. Tatiana Kaminsky
Published 2023 by SLACK

The primary target for the book is occupational therapy students and clinicians, but the information could be of interest to everyone. 

“As occupational therapists, we should not be evaluating and treating perception and cognition, as we have done for many, many years, without knowledge of a person’s foundational visual skills. That is a critical missing piece in what we are doing.” – Dr. Janet Powell

🔊 Click here to play the show now!

Dr. Lynn Hellerstein, Developmental Optometrist, co-owner of Hellerstein & Brenner Vision Center, P.C., award-winning author and international speaker, holds powerful and inspiring conversations with her guests in the areas of health, wellness, education, sports and psychology. They share their inspirational stories of healing and transformation through their vision expansion. Vision Beyond Sight Podcast will help you see with clarity, gain courage and confidence. Welcome to Vision Beyond Sight!

Dr. Lynn’s books are available at Amazon.com and www.lynnhellerstein.com/shop.

Dr. Lynn is available for speaking engagements and consulting. For more information, visit www.lynnhellerstein.com.

To learn more about vision therapy or to find a doctor providing vision therapy in your area, visit COVD.org.

To learn more about vision and the impact in concussion/brain injury, visit Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association.

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About Dr. Lynn

A pioneer in vision therapy and developmental optometry, for more than 30 years, Dr. Lynn Hellerstein has helped thousands of children and adults improve their vision and transform their lives — at home, in the classroom, and most recently on the playing field. Her breakthrough methods unlock barriers to learning and “rewire” around brain injuries, and vision perception or processing deficits. But you don’t have to have a vision problem to benefit: her brain training strategies may be the missing magic if you’re an athlete trying to nail a tricky shot or stay cool in competition. If it’s a skill you can visualize, Dr. Hellerstein can help train your eyes — and mind’s eye — on success.

Award-winning and #1 bestselling author, Dr. Lynn has published numerous professional peer reviewed articles, chapters and four books.

See It. Say It. Do It! (2009) - How to see/recognize your goal, declare your intention, and taking action to achieve your vision.

See It. Say It. Do It! Organize It! (2011) - How to create a step by step process to make achieving your goal a reality.

50 Tips To Improve Your Sports Performance (2013) - How to improve your sports performance today by enhancing eye-mind-body coordination skills, achieving the mental edge, and preventing injuries.

Expand Your Vision (2021) - Discover the power of the seeing brain…the creator of your true vision. Gain Clarity, Courage, and Confidence. In this #1 Amazon best-selling innovative newest book, the power of visualizing and believing in the process to break through internal barriers and create new possibilities for achieving your goal is explored. Visualization can be used to increase creativity, to reduce stress and anxiety, and to build confidence in all of the things that they do.