Occupational Therapy Association of California – Rose Parade Float

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Dimensions: 20’H x 18’W x 55’L

Float Title: Celebrating a Century of Occupational Therapy

Float Theme
In anticipation of its Centennial Celebration (1917-2017), the profession of occupational therapy is kicking off its year-long celebration with this floral salute to its heroic heritage and the inspiring history of occupational therapy practitioners and occupational therapy consumers. Occupational therapy helps people across their lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for those experiencing physical, neurological and/or cognitive changes. At the front of the float an impressive floral arbor, intertwined with dendrobium orchid vines, beckons you into the floral gardens complete with a floral water fountain. A child (a recipient of occupational therapy services) sits upon a swing from the arbor, and along with their occupational therapist, represent the importance ‘play’ has throughout our lives. The four pillars in the garden symbolize occupational therapy’s core philosophies “work, rest, play, and sleep” put forth by a founding father, Adolph Meyer in 1917, who believed that in order to live a healthy life, one needed a balance of daily activities that included work, rest and play. A rotating hexagon, with eight magnificently detailed floral-graphs, takes center stage and highlights the 100 year history of occupational therapy and the client achievements, adaptive equipment and training, guidance and education for family members and caregivers. Depicted are: Panel #1During World War I, occupational therapists (or reconstruction aides) became invaluable members of the war effort, and worked in army hospitals in the U.S. and internationally. The roots of the occupational therapy profession are grounded in the use of activities, such as arts and crafts as a therapeutic means to improve strength, endurance and skill development in order to promote optimal participation in daily life. Here you see a military veteran at the loom, engaged in the activity of weaving with his occupational therapist. This therapeutic activity requires mental capacity and problem solving, as well as fine motor coordination, strength and endurance. Glaser (1930) noted that the eye, hand, mind and creative imagination are stimulated by arts and crafts. This notion aligned with the philosophies of occupational therapy, so programs started offering programs in needlework, weaving, metalwork, bookbinding, and leatherwork. The missions of the arts & crafts movement were intertwined with the mission and philosophies of occupational therapy. Panel #2 The child is working with an occupational therapist who is promoting the use of his left hand during a fun game that the child loves to play. This intervention is call “constraint-induced movement therapy.” The child has weakness in his left hand because of the effects of a brain injury resulting in weakness on the left side of his body. By placing the colorful lion mitt on the strong hand, it forces the child to use the weak hand, in order to strengthen it, instead of ignoring it, because it does not work like his right hand. Panel #3 Occupational therapists strive to create client-centered and meaningful treatment sessions which involve activities that are personally motivating. This person has had a finger injury and is wearing an orthosis, or brace, to support the injured fingers. During this treatment session, the occupational therapist is ensuring the custom fabricated splint supports the individual’s injured fingers during the healing process while playing the guitar, an important leisure activity for this person. Panel #4 An occupational therapist in the 1950’s-60’s works with a child with left limb loss, training him how to use his new prosthetic hand during the important ‘occupation’ of play. You can see the tinker toys on the floor near him that he is stringing together as he plays and learns to use his new prosthetic hand. The patch was worn by all OT’s during this era as part of their formal uniform. Panel #5 An occupational therapist is working with an older adult in the community to promote healthy habits, roles and routines in order to help manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Occupational therapists also help older adults modify their home environments so they may safely age in place. Occupational therapists work with individuals in primary care settings to support sustainable healthy lifestyle habit changes. Panel # 6 Occupational Therapy practitioners work with individuals of all ages and capacities to facilitate their successful engagement in everyday life. For individuals living with mental illness and/or addiction, occupational therapy supports the person’s use of coping strategies to effectively manage challenging symptoms and promote recovery. Yoga, meditation, and other sensory –based strategies are some of the tools occupational therapists may use to promote recovery. Healthy individuals were drawn to the arts and crafts movement of the 1930s because involvement with arts and crafts promised to settle nervous lives. These concepts were creatively applied to a neglected and chronically disabled group of patients and served to manage pain during recuperation, redirection of the wandering minds of elders or returning soldiers, and diversion of self-indulgent thoughts or depression. Occupational therapy’s founders prescribed arts and crafts to cure a variety of chronic problems generally considered outside of the domain of medicine (Tracy, 1912; Hall & Buck, 1916; Dunton, 1918). Panel #7 Panel #8 At the rear of the float is an intricately floral representation of the Hull House (Chicago, Illinois), a symbol of occupational therapy’s roots. The Hull House was a settlement house for social reform where Eleanor Clarke Slagle, a founder of occupational therapy, conducted the very first occupational therapy training courses in 1917. Eleanor Clarke Slagle was an early advocate for occupational therapy treatment for persons living with mental illness. Colorful rose trees line the sides of the float with gardens of 15,000 orange and gold roses. “Celebrating a Century of Occupational Therapy” honors the 100th anniversary of the profession of occupational therapy, including over 400,000 occupational therapy practitioners and millions of occupational therapy clients worldwide. Achieving the monumental milestone of 100 years is cause for reflection, as well as a time for creating a renewed vision for the future, and most certainly a time for celebration. “Celebrating a Century of Occupational Therapy,” while honoring the 100-year legacy of occupational therapy and its practitioners, most importantly honors the millions of individuals and families served by occupational therapy who are the true heroes and the reason why occupational therapy practitioners continue to love the therapeutic work they do each and every day, assisting people in their ability to engage in daily life to their fullest capacity.

Flowers/Materials used
Thousands of lavender dendrobium and Monika orchids create floral blossoms cascading over the crisp white arbor that has been covered in coconut chips. Blue hydrangea and iris, with accents of white roses, flow together to make the floral waters in the fountain. Specialty soil-less grass sod creates a lush footing for the garden entrance. Floral-graphs depicting the 100-year history of the occupational therapy profession are artistically crafted in an array of colors and floral materials including seeds, spices, berries and flower petals. The colored panels include blue, hot pink and purple sinuate stattice, red ilex berry, orange and peach lentil beans, yellow and gold strawflower petals, green parsley flakes and crushed manzanita leaves, brown and gold flax seed, and creamy white sesame seed. The black and white panels are a mixture of 9 gray tones created from just three materials — white sweet rice, black onion seed and gray poppy seed. Atop the rotating hexagon are sculptured flowers in white coconut chips amid floral displays of yellow forsythia and orange bird of paradise. The rotating gazebo is supported by ribbons of orange roses and gerbera. The Hull House has been crafted from dehydrated red pepper and carrot flakes to create the brick work with paprika spice used for color variations. Framing the Hull House are trees created from 6,000 Golden Shower Oncidium orchids with trunks of malaleuca bark. Border arrangements in three shades of coral spray roses and sculptured rose trees, with 5000 colorful roses, line both sides of the float. More than 15,000 orange Santana and gold Papaya roses create the lush garden beds running the length of the float to complete this magnificent historical floral entry.

All text and information courtesy Pasadena Tournament of Roses.