Friday, November 30, 2007

Hello & Goodbye

Thank you & good luck:

Well, this year we will unfortunately be saying goodbye to Sena, as she will be moving back to the US next month. We have been fortunate enough to have her working with us at the LRC for the past 2 1/2 years. She has been a wonderful colleague. Our OT team, our EIP team and all staff at the LRC will miss her!

( THE EIP, SLT & OT TEAM back row: Khadiga, Hoda, Penny, Dalia, Sena, Dalia, middle row: Neveen, Farah, Dalia, Monica, Laura, front row: Donia, Engy, & Karen)

So, THANK YOU for all that you have contributed to the lives of the children, parents, teachers and staff at LRC.

Wednesday was Sena, Karen & Farah's last OT Sensory Motor Group together, so here are some photo's of them hard at work in preparation:

(Sena, Karen, & Farah)

(Sena & Karen)

Miho and Shu, two Japenese OT's who are presently working in Egypt, visited our center on the same day.

(Shu, Sena, Karen, Miho, Farah & Laura)

We have two new colleagues working in the LRC OT department. Farah, who is a Lebanese OT, working with us full time for the next two years and Annelene, who is a South African OT working with us part time to assist in assessing children.

(Laura, Sena & Annelene)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

International Disability Day, December 3rd

In celebration of the International Disability Day, the British Council in Egypt is organising events to raise awareness about disability issues and the rights of people with disabilities.
‘The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons, 3 December, was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.’ For more information visit

Programme: A Celebration of Different Abilities Friday 30 November 2007 British Council 192 El Nil Street, Agouza, Cairo, Egypt2.00 p.m. - 7.00 p.m. Our building is wheelchair accessible.

The open day will include:

  • Come Find Out: about the services for people with disabilities provided by different organisations in Egypt
  • Open Forum Discussions: Featuring inspiring stories and discussing issues around disability and social inclusion and the topic of disability in film.
  • Photography Exhibition: Talented photographers Hussein Shaaban, Karim Omran, Luay Al Shaikhly, Mariam El Mofty and Tamer Eissa present their views on the issue of disability. Photos will also be exhibited on 3 December 2007 at El Sawy Culturewheel
  • Film Premieres: A number of specially selected films and public service announcements will be screened throughout the day.

Seminar entitled “Disability – Becoming Visible”Saturday 1 December 2007 Seminar by UK guest speaker Simon Minty, an expert in disability and diversity consultancy and training (download biography in English or Arabic from

Employment and human rights, inaccessibility for people with disabilities in streets and public transport, how can we make it happen? Opening access with a focus on our streets and public transport; what are the barriers and how do we address them? What does it take to make inclusion a reality? Accepting and working with people with disabilities in our daily lives.


  • UK situation
  • Media and Egypt
  • News coverage of disability issues
  • Employment of people with disabilities
  • Sharing employment experiences
  • Question and answer session

*By invitation only. If you’re interested to attend and would like to receive an invitation, contact Nairy Avedissian, Manager, Arts Team at

Come Listen to This: A theatre performance based on a compilation of stories Monday 3 December 2007 (International Disability Day) Wisdom Hall, El Sawy Culturewheel 26 July Street, Zamalek 8.00 p.m.

Tickets available at El Sawy Culturewheel

The Wisdom Hall is wheelchair accessible.

The result of a self-expressive workshop conducted by Nada Sabet with a group of performers. In collaboration with the Right to Live Association. Nada Sabet, a young Egyptian theatre director and playwright, attended a theatre workshop organised by the British Council in Egypt with the Right to Live Association and three members of the UK-based AMICI Dance Theatre Company. The workshop was for young Egyptian theatre practitioners, directors, actors and dancers (both able-bodied and disabled) to work together and generate ideas for performances which will then tour theatres and centres in Egypt. Nada has shown great interest and perseverance and won attendance at a week-long workshop in the UK with the AMICI Dance Theatre Company in June 2007, where she shadowed the director and learned new approaches to theatre and disability.

Sabet is also one of the young playwrights from the Near East and North Africa region who have been chosen by the Royal Court Theatre and the British Council to take part in a regional workshop on new writing for theatre.

For more information about the programme, go to

Kareem's Life Story and Experience with the Special Olympics

Kareem is a 12 year old Egyptian boy with autism. He has been included in mainstream schools his whole life. Kareem was part of Team Egypt and he attended the Special Olympics Games in China this past October.

As part of a project supported by Mattel, he shares his story about his friends and experiences in China in a video posted on YouTube.

Please support Kareem and his project by clicking onto his video on YouTube:

Congratulations to Kareem and his always supportive mom, Doaa!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

American OT students ask questions about Egypt:

I have been emailed by two OT students from the US who are participating in multi-cultural assignments for their OT program.

These are some questions they had, which I also combined with questions asked by students inquiring about fieldwork placements in Egypt, so if you are an OT who has worked in Egypt and/or presently work in Egypt please take the time and comment on their questions.

If you are a professional who has also worked with OT's in Egypt and are interested in OT development in Egypt, then please also take the time and give your opinion on some of these questions.

I have listed a brief reply in parenthesis from my experience working in Egypt the past 4 1/2 years.

American OT Student's FAQ:

1. Can you tell me about the types of settings in which OTs in Egypt generally practice in?

(Pediatric, adult rehabilitation and community based programs)

2. What types of clients do OTs work with in Egypt? Is there a specific population that OTs tend to work with more than others?

(Various economic classes and various ages. Pediatric has always been a stronger area serviced.)

3. With whom do OTs typically work with in terms of the interdisciplinary team?

(Speech and language therapists, physical therapists, doctors, psychologists, and teachers)

4. How does an OT get a license to practice in Egypt?

(We abide by the practice guidelines from our own countries and maintain our licenses from our own countries, as there is not an OT association in Egypt)

5. How does an OT find work in Egypt?

(The best way is word of mouth, but in the future I hope to have job postings on the blog. Although Egypt is highly populated, everyone knows everyone in certain circles)

6. What is your opinion about why Egypt is under served with OT at this time?

(There are many factors, some of which are economics, politics, and cultural views on health care)

7. Can you talk about the sociocultural and institutional factors that affect your practice and OT in Egypt?

(See question #8)

8. What are some of the challenges that you have been faced with while practicing in Egypt? What challenges might any OT practicing in this country be faced with?

(There are always many challenges when you are from another culture and working abroad. A few examples I have experienced are language barriers (Arabic/English), different expectations of family roles and difficulty in purchasing OT supplies)

9. Is it safe for a foreign woman to live in Cairo? How are foreigners treated in Egypt?

(In all the years I have lived in Cairo, I have never particularly felt "unsafe." No more unsafe then I would feel walking in the "wrong neighborhood" in NY city. I have had the usual young boys make comments in Arabic to me on the street, but to be honest I don't know what they have said! Perhaps, that is best! As an American, I have never been poorly treated. Over charged, but not poorly treated! There is a large misconception in western media about how foreigners are treated in the middle east)

10. What possibilities and opportunities await OT in Egypt?

(The possibilities and opportunities are endless as we are starting fresh!)

I hope others take the time to also give their opinions on these questions.


Can American OT students complete their Fieldwork I or II placements in Egypt?

Over the past few months, I have received several emails from students in the US who were interested in completing their Fieldwork II placement in Egypt, so I would like to address this topic.

International OT Student Fieldwork Placement:

Every international OT educational program has their own guidelines about what is required to fulfill the clinical experience section of their program for graduation. Every country may have a different name for this clinical experience, so whether you call it "fieldwork," "internship," "practicum" and/or "clinical" I am referring to this placement within the community.

I am only familiar with the US requirements, as that is where I completed my OT education at NYU (New York University).

Here are the requirements for OT Fieldwork experience in the US:

Fieldwork sites provide students with an opportunity to gain graded practical experience under the supervision of an occupational therapist in a variety of practice settings.

There are two types of OT Fieldwork experiences in the US:

Level I Fieldwork: "The goal of Level I Fieldwork is to introduce students to the fieldwork experience, and develop a basic comfort level with and understanding of the needs of clients. Level I fieldwork shall be integral to the program's curriculum design and include experiences designed to enrich didactic coursework through directed observation and participation in selected aspects of the occupational therapy process. The focus of these experiences is not intended to be independent performance. Qualified personnel for supervised Level I fieldwork include, but are not limited to, occupational therapy practitioners initially certified nationally, psychologists, physician assistants, teachers, social workers, nurses, and physical therapists. "

Level II Fieldwork
(24 weeks/6 months minimum) "The goal of Level II fieldwork is to develop competent, entry-level, generalist occupational therapists. Level II fieldwork shall be integral to the program's curriculum design and shall include an in-depth experience in delivering occupational therapy services to clients, focusing on the application of purposeful and meaningful occupation and/or research, administration and management of occupational therapy services. It is recommended that the student be exposed to a variety of clients across the life span and to a variety of settings. The fieldwork experience shall be designed to promote clinical reasoning and reflective practice; to transmit the values and beliefs that enable ethical practice; and to develop professionalism and competence as career responsibilities. The intern is expected to have entry-level competence upon completion of the Level II fieldwork assignment."

These standards for an OT Program in the US can be downloaded from the American OT Association website at :

(When I am referring to what is "feasible", I will be referring to my job as Head of the OT Department at the Learning Resource Center (LRC) in Cairo).

Fieldwork I in Egypt: It is much more feasible to be able to provide Fieldwork I level students a placement at the LRC. If a student would like to visit for a week at the LRC and also observe a few other professional services (i.e. psychologists, physical therapists, speech therapists etc.), then this can be arranged if provided advance notice.

Fieldwork II in Egypt: It is not feasible to provide Fieldwork II level students placements at the LRC, at this time. I have also spoken with a few other OT's who work in Cairo and they also agree on this topic in regards to placements at their facilities. This is mainly due to the ever changing number of OT's living and working in Egypt. Since few OT's live here "permanently," it is very difficult to plan a year in advance for a fieldwork student program. The few OT's working here are usually very busy with their own caseload, as well as, very busy working to train Egyptians to assist in some of our OT sessions. There is a need for training Egyptians to support OT sessions in Arabic, but only under the supervision of an internationally trained OT. At this time, it is too difficult to provide the level of teaching and supervision needed for a 3 month placement at the LRC.

The American OT Association has a wonderful section on their website which provides information about what it is like to be an OT student (

This is a wonderful resource for Egyptians who are thinking about attending future OT educational programs in Egypt.

Here are a few specific links on this site for fieldwork experiences:

Student Volunteers:

There is always a need for volunteers, so if students would like to set up a trip to Egypt speak to your OT program professors and plan a trip to Cairo. I would be happy to provide contacts of facilities to visit on your trip.