Friday, 30 September 2011


At this point in the course we have been focusing a lot on the various different things that afford an occupation. Christiansen & Townsend (2010) explain the things that afford an occupation, “Affordances are environmental properties that both induce and support goal-directed behaviour” (p.22); this is saying that social, cultural, and physical factors impact on a person’s experience of an occupation. Applying this to my chosen occupation there are many of these different factors that impact on the reasons for doing it and there are others that arise through doing the occupation, I will discuss this further relating to key affordances addressed in this course. 

One of the affordances that is obvious when I play cards is that of communication. This includes the connections and relationships made with those I play with, the enjoyment and laughter that comes out of playing cards as well as the kind hearted banter that arise. Law (2002) states, “Through participation, we acquire skills and competencies, connect with others and our communities, and find purpose and meaning in life” (p. 640); this is an evident part of the communication that occurs during playing cards, through the roles assumed (teacher-student, competitors), the playing skills learned from others and ourselves through playing (verbal and non-verbal), also finding meaning in our life through the enjoyment and challenge of the game as well as the relationships built with those we play with.

Another main affordance that I experience while playing cards is of links with memories and history of the activity. For example every time I play a game of ‘5-3-2’ I think of when I first learned how to play it in Fiji, and of all the people that were there, and of the memories of how much fun we had playing it. Another game ‘Liverpool Rummy’ always brings back memories of being outdoors in summer with the whole family for hours on end.


Christiansen, C.H. & Townsend, E.A. (2010). Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living (2nd Ed.). USA: Pearson.

Law, M. (2002). Participation in the occupations of everyday life, 2002 Distinguished Scholar Lecture. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 56, 640-649.

Friday, 23 September 2011

...Labour vs Work...

Green (1968) states, “Whatever is produced by labour is produced to be consumed, not to be put into use. The activity of labour, so conceived, does not aim at the creating of some durable addition to the world” (p.18). Understanding labour therefore is that it is a necessity of life and that anything done by a person to promote survival is hence a labour.

Arendt (1958) explains work as, “the activity which corresponds to the unnaturalness of human existence” (p.7). Work is therefore any occupation that humans engage in that’s not primarily intended for survival, these are the ‘unnatural’ occupations of humans as they are not needed to exist.

Examples of the difference between occupations of labour and those of work could include:
-       Cooking
-       Farming 
-       Hunting
-       Paid employment (to provide for survival needs eg: food, rent)
-       Craft
-       Art
-       Games  

My chosen occupation of playing cards is an occupation of work, as its primary intent is not for survival and is therefore unnatural to human existence. The reason I play cards is to have fun with friends and family, to challenge myself with tactical games, and to have time to relax. All of these reasons are not crucial for my survival as a human being however I do feel these reasons for engaging in playing cards is providing me with a sense of balance within my life and is helping me to ‘survive’.

In another situation of ‘playing cards’ as an occupation it could be seen as labour, for example professional poker players. They are ‘playing cards’ as their paid employment and their survival is determined by the money that they earn through doing so.
So perhaps every occupation could be determined as labour or work depending on the intention it is being done and the result it provides the person doing it.


Arendt, H. (1958). The human condition. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Green, T.F. (1968). Work, leisure and the American schools. New York: Random House.

Friday, 16 September 2011


Caulton and Dickson (2007) defines ergonomics as the, “ability to constantly make slight invisible adjustments to an activity to adapt to the need of those taking part and ensure that it continues to work for its intended purpose” (p.93). This means that ergonomics is therefore the ability to change anything necessary in the environment, with the occupation, or the person to enable the activity to be more suitable, comfortable and appropriate while continuing to be the same activity. 

Ergonomics are therefore applied frequently with my chosen occupation of playing cards. For example one of the slight changes that often occurs when playing cards are the changes in rules. This happens for a number of reasons however it is mostly due to the specific people playing the game. When playing with younger children for example it is common that older players will opt to take out a few of the more complex rules, for example when playing Last Card a few of the ‘action’ cards may not be played, such as ‘7’ for a block or ‘Jack’ as a reverse.

Another way ergonomics is seen when participating in playing cards is in the environment; it is important to have the right amount of chairs at the table for the amount of players; to be in a well-lit place to be able to see what’s going on; and to be aware of anything that may disturb the game such as a breeze or any distracting noises or surroundings. All of these are often addressed without consciously being aware that you’re doing so however it is going to make the activity of playing cards efficient and more enjoyable and it is therefore done automatically.


Caulton, R., & Dickson, R. (2007). What’s going on? Finding an explanation for what we do. In J. Creek & A. Lawson-Porter (Eds.), Contemporary issues in occupational therapy (pp. 87-114). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Friday, 9 September 2011

...Intro to my occupation...

To begin I would like to briefly explain the meaning playing cards has to me and the context in which it happens and how this may be different when using cards as an OT or OT student. I will also briefly highlight what it might be like to do this activity mindfully.

The reason I chose playing cards as my occupation is that it's an activity that always brings back fond memories; from childhood or just a few weeks ago. I've always loved the variety of games that can be played with cards; traditional games such as 'Rummy', or new games such as 'Monopoly' that has been adapted from the original board game. Also the variety of places and people that you can play cards with; indoors or outdoors dependent on the weather or your mood, with friends or family or even by yourself to have some solitude. I enjoy being able to learn new games from others, or to teach them a game that I know how to play.

To me personally playing cards means; fun, laughter, competition, good hearted disputes, friendship, relaxation, challenges, and solitude.

The reasons for playing cards in an OT context changes to include executive cognitive functioning, socialising, and fine motor skills. The places that cards are played would differ too; on a ward in a group setting or in an individual session with an OT or OTA, it may also be used as a homework task set for the family to help the individual engage in an area they are focusing on.
When thinking about playing cards mindfully the things that would become more apparent may include the sounds in the room or outdoors, whether there is a breeze disrupting the cards on the playing area, the feel of the cards in your hand and their positioning in your palm, the responses of others, and the approach you have before each move.