Disseminating Light: Photography as an Advocacy Tool


Monday, October 9, 2017
10:30 am - 12:00 pm, Honolulu 2, TAPA

Target Audience

  • Activists
  • Clinicians
  • Community Advocates
  • Community Members
  • General Public
  • Parents and Families
  • Postsecondary Educators
  • Primary Educators
  • Professionals
  • Secondary Educators
  • Self-Advocates
  • Youth


In this hands-on workshop, participants will utilize photography and interviews as advocacy tools which may be used in their organization/setting. Participants will learn different strategies/tools to implement a plan and template using examples from research on how an Ethiopian youth with an intellectual disability used photography and interview to share his stories/experiences from his day to day life. Each individual has personal interests, values, and beliefs, therefore, photography and interview methods can be beneficial for various professionals, populations and settings. Photography is a fun method to create powerful photographs that leave lasting impressions, increase awareness, and tell a story. Research shows that communities and individuals in vulnerable, marginalized populations have fewer opportunities to express value or freedom of speech; however, the photograph/interview process can allow communities/individuals to capture and show the world their perspectives.

Learning Outcomes

  1. List 3 ways to use this method in your organization/setting;
  2. List potential organizations/individuals/groups with whom you can share this method;
  3. Develop a potential plan for this method to be used;
  4. Develop a template for participant interviews.

Workshop Leaders

Photo: Dr. Melissa Toporek

Dr. Melissa Toporek is pediatrics certified by the American Occupational Therapy Association. She is an adjunct professor at Stanbridge University, operates a pediatric rehabilitation clinic (Georgia) and professional education program (Ethiopia). She is DIR/Floortime certified and lectures on culture/occupational therapy.

Photo: Janet Branch

Janet Branch is an occupational therapy student at Stanbridge University graduating in January 2018. She has 2 years experience in a private pediatric clinic as a therapy aide. Future professional interests include traveling OT and working in the pediatric population.


Photo: Monica Kem

Monica Kem is an occupational therapy student at Stanbridge University graduating in January 2018. She has 3 years of experience providing behavioral therapy with children that have autism. Future professional interests include working with pediatric populations locally and abroad.



Photo: Blake Lord

Blake Lord is an occupational therapy student at Stanbridge University graduating in January 2018. Future professional goals include working in pediatric rehabilitation, and abroad in Nicaragua to volunteer in a community health center that he previously began the construction on.