Portrait: Peter Ward

June 1, 2017

I’m interested in almost everything and have had several careers—I worked at a rehabilitation centre, launched a few businesses over the years and was a currency trader before the price of gold crashed one day back in April 2013. I was tired of working at home and knew I wanted to go back to school to study something new—I just didn’t know what.

So I applied for three different programs at MacEwan, and the first letter I got was from the Physical Therapist Assistant and Occupational Therapist Assistant program. Early on, I really thought the PTA side would be for me because I like science and biology, but it was an OTA field placement at a school district where I found the perfect fit.

I’m a tinkerer, so I quickly discovered that I really like assistive technology and switches (simple buttons that don’t look like much on their own, but with a little imagination can do all kinds of amazing things).

I was hired by the same school board I did my practicum with and I’m already working on all kinds of different applications for switches. Right now I’m setting up a student who is in a wheelchair with an iPad that has two buttons he can use to help him communicate. It’s really cool, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg—there is so much potential in this field.

That’s why I’m really excited about the future and being able to work on projects like integrating computer games into assistive technology, finding ways to capture dialogue so students can use switch technology to write essays, and working on a way to share solutions among schools and school boards.

With a bit of entrepreneurial thinking, the possibilities are endless.

—Peter Ward, alumnus,  Physical Therapist Assistant and Occupational Therapist Assistant Diploma

This story is part of our Portraits of MacEwan series where students, faculty and staff share snapshots of their lives with the university community. Read more portraits at MacEwan.ca/Facebook.

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