Purpose & History

ICDR-Trinidad was formed in 2004 with the objective of promoting rehabilitation services, research, and education in Trinidad and Tobago.






What we do:

  • Contribute to the training and education of University of Toronto students in the Rehabilitation Sciences Sector, primarily through clinical internships at the Immortelle Children’s Centre and the Immortelle Prevocational Centre in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
  • Conduct research in the areas of early intervention, rehabilitation service availability, and program evaluation.
  • Provide sustainable resources and education to clients, parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals in Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Promote awareness for the groups’ projects and fundraising initiatives.
  • Ongoing collaboration and support of our partners in Trinidad and Tobago.

Current/ Ongoing Projects 

  • Playground Project
    • In Fall of 2022 FW2 Student OTs started the process of planning for a future new playground to be built in the yard of the Immortelle Centre. Student OTs assessed client/student needs and access barriers that would need to be considered and addressed in the design of the playground. They reviewed other examples of accessible playground designs and equipment options, and made various design recommendations to best meet students’ individual needs, encourage incorporation of components to support motor and social skills, and provide opportunities for multi-sensory engagement. They also found and provided links for viable grant options to support funding of the future playground. Next steps were outlined in the final report so that this project can be continued during future OT student placements, with the hope of obtaining funds so that the accessible playground design and instalment can come to fruition.
  • Cookie Business Project
    • FW2 Student OTs carried out the next stage of this project that was originally started by FW3 students completing a virtual placement in Spring 2022. The ultimate goal is to make the cookie-making program a more viable business operation that can earn money for the Immortelle Centre, and provide enhanced skill-building and vocational opportunities for the students within Immortelle’s Vocational Program. The Fall FW2 Student OTs were able to complete an assessment of the current cookie-making culinary operations taking place within the vocational program at the Immortelle Centre site, and made recommendations to enhance efficiency and accessibility of the cookie-making process, with vocational program students’ individual needs and challenges in mind. Student OTs also made recommendations of ways to upscale the business, including providing specific options and ideas for potential business logos, packaging, marketing methods, and ordering systems. Next steps were outlined in the final report so that this project can be continued during future OT student placements.
  • Educator and Student Collaboration and Capacity Building Project
    • FW2 Student OTs and OT preceptors piloted a new model of service delivery in the Fall 2022 placement at Immortelle. This model’s goal was to improve student-teacher partnered collaboration, capacity-building, and sustainability of the interventions being implemented. Solution-focused coaching and interviewing modalities were used to promote empowerment, problem solving capacities, and self-efficacy of program teachers/educators. Integrated education and therapy group sessions co-lead by teachers and OT students enabled reinforcement of equal partnerships, modelling and co-learning from the expertise of different professionals, and iterative problem solving of client-centred strategies within the classroom environment. These sessions centred around promoting improved classroom engagement and self-regulation, enhancing multi-sensory learning opportunities, supporting development of fine motor and sensory-motor skills, and eliciting problem solving processes. The components of this project were outlined in the final report so that this approach can be continued during future OT student placements.
  • We continue to liaise with the Masters of OT at the University of the Southern Caribbean. Each group of U of T OT students go to USC and participate in joint learning activities followed by an opportunity to share experiences more informally.  Deb Cameron continues in her role as member of the USC Masters of OT Advisory Board.

Recent Projects

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  • Available placements for interested student researchers
    • Placements continue at Immortelle with 4 OT students going every fall and spring for 7 weeks. It is anticipated that SLP students will begin going again shortly – hiatus during pandemic. We are continuing to liaise with Carleton University about having two undergraduate students join us again for a project-based placement.
    • Along with individual sessions with Immortelle students, the OT students have been involved in three ongoing larger projects with staff and students there.



Chair: Lisa Vanderwater










Vice-Chair Research: Deb Cameron

Vice-Chair Finance: Patrice dePeiza









Co-Vice-Chair Education: Sandy Steinwender 


Co-Vice-Chair Education: Lauren Marcus














The Trinidad Working Group members consist of the executive leadership team, current or past perceptors and students, and others interested in rehabilitation in Trinidad and Tobago













Student Internships

Occupational therapy internships have been running at the Immortelle Children’s Centre and Prevocational Centre since 20o1. To date, there have been over 150 occupational therapy students who have participated in this internship. Many speech language pathology and physical therapy students have also completed internships at the Immortelle Children’s Centre.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, occupational therapy students and speech language pathology students completed their internships online. During these novel internships, rehabilitation students were able to provide workshops, therapy sessions, and consultation to the staff, students and caregivers at the Immortelle Centre virtually.

Please see the ICI information sheet for information on international clinical internships in Trinidad.








Rehabilitation Initiatives

  • 2019: Bachelor of Health Sciences students from Carleton University led health promotion projects at Immortelle Centre that focused on education around healthy eating and nutrition, with consideration of relevant environmental, economic, and socio-cultural factors.
  • 2009, 2010, 2011: Behavioural therapists from Erinoak Kids Centre for Treatment and Development provided assessment, intervention and education to parents and teachers at the Immortelle Centre.
  • 2008: Canadian Speech language pathologists provided assessments for students at the Immortelle Centre.  Education sessions with parents and health care workers were also held.
  • 2008: Donations of therapy equipment, such as walkers and wheelchairs, were collected in Canada and shipped to various facilities in Trinidad.
  • 2006, 2007, 2008: Canadian Occupational therapists traveled to Trinidad to conduct a summer camp offering assessment and treatment services. In 2007, a University of Toronto medical student supported the development of the camp through a program evaluation.
  • 2005: The working group organized for a Trinidadian boy to travel to Canada for orthopedic and drooling surgery.











a) Projects and Publications

  • Terrana, A., Tahsin, F., Dowdell, J., Edwards, B., Cacciacaro, L., Cameron, D. (2016). Perspectives of Key Stakeholders about Vocational Training and Rehabilitation in Trinidad and Tobago.British Journal of Occupational Therapy. Vol. 79(11) 703–712.
  • Njelesani J, Leckie K, Drummond J, Cameron D. (2014). Parental perceptions of barriers to physical activity in children with developmental disabilities living in Trinidad and Tobago.Disability and Rehabilitation. doi:10.3109/09638288.2014.918186
  • Wiley B, Cameron D, Hogg A, Gulati S. (2014). Exploring the use of Tablets (iPads) with Children and Young Adults with Disabilities in Trinidad.Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology. doi:10.3109/17483107.2014.914251
  • Haro A, Knight B, Cameron D, Nixon S, Ahluwahia P, Hicks E. (2014). Becoming an Occupational Therapist: Impact of International Fieldwork Placements on Clinical Practice.Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy 81(3): 173-182. doi: 10.1177/0008417414534629
  • Cameron, D., Cockburn, L., Nixon, S., Parnes, P., Garcia, L., Leotaud, J., MacPherson, K., Mashaka, P., Mlay, R., Wango, J., Williams, T. Global Partnerships for International Fieldwork in Occupational Therapy: Reflection and Innovation. Occupational Therapy International. 2013 Jun;20(2):88-96.
  • Rehabilitation Research and Practice, vol. 2013, Article ID 208187, 9 pages, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/208187. “Assessing Global Health Competencies in Rehabilitation Students,” by Mirella Veras, Kevin Pottie, Vivian Welch, Tim Ramsay, Govinda P. Dahal, Debra Cameron and Peter Tugwell
  • Suarez-Balcazer, Y, Hansen, A, Munoz, J, Stein F, Ilott, I, Ammeral, M, Njelesani, J, Cameron, D, Hammel, J. (2011). International Partnerships in Occupational Therapy: Realities of a Globally-Connected Profession. AOTA. Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Roy, A., Cameron, D., & Garcia, L.  “Implementing the National Policy on Persons with Disability:  A look at rehabilitation service needs in Trinidad and Tobago.”  University of Toronto, 2008.
  • Smallman, L. & Cameron, D. “Trinidadian Teachers Experience and Perspectives Surrounding their Administration of Paediatric Screening Tools.”  (Research Grant:  Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Education). University of Toronto, 2007.
  • Clifford, D. & Cameron, D. “Trinidadian Teachers Experience and Perspectives Surrounding Their Administration of Paediatric Screening Tools.” (Research Grant:  Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Education). University of Toronto, 2007.
  • Markowitz, L., Cameron, D., & Parnes, P.  “Alternative and Augmentative Communication: Services and Needs.” University of Toronto, 2007.
  • Cooper, L. & Cameron D. “International Placements and International Curricula in Canadian Rehabilitation Programs.” University of Toronto, 2006.
  • Caldwell, A. & Cameron, D. “Current Rehabilitation Services and Needs in Trinidad and Tobago.” University of Toronto, 2004.
  • Cunningham, E., Cameron, D., Steir, J., & Vandewater, L. “The Impact of International Fieldwork on Students.” University of Toronto, 2003.
  • Hogg, A., Wiley, B., & Gulati, S. Exploring the use of Tablets (iPads) with Children and Young Adults with Disabilities at Immortelle Children’s Centre and Pre-Vocational Centre.   May 31st, 2012
  • Terrana, A. and Cameron, D. “Key Stakeholder Perspectives on Vocational Options for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities in Trinidad”

b) Presentations

  • Crump, L., Shepherd, E.L. 2018. Community Based Rehabilitation in Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Solution-focused Coaching- An Exciting Approach for OT. Association of Caribbean Occupational Therapists. Oct 29, 2015. Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Debra Cameron, Batoul Sayed Ahmed & Nikita Findlay.
  • Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance- An approach for everyone. Association of Caribbean Occupational Therapists. Oct 29, 2015. Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Debra Cameron.
  • International Partnerships in Occupational Therapy: Realities of a Globally-Connected Profession.  Friday April 4, 2013. AOTA BaltimoreMaryland. Suarez-Balcazer, Y., Hansen, A., Munoz, J., Stein, F. Ilott, I., Ammeral, M., Njelesani, J., Cameron, D., Hammel, J.
  • Reflecting on International Clinical Education Practices and Guidelines. Ellwood, L. & Cameron, D.  CASLPA Ottawa, May 2014
  • Canadian Conference on Global Health (Ottawa, Oct 28, 2013) Fostering Reflexivity among HIV Clinicians and Students: A Scoping Study. Landy, R., Nixon, S., Robrigado, K., Oliver, B., O’Hearn, S., Cockburn, L., Cameron, D., Cameron, C. Baxter, L.
  • Fostering reflexivity among HIV clinicians and students within clinical training programs: A scoping study.  DLSPH Research and Practice Day November 2013, Toronto. Robrigado, K., Landy, R., Nixon, S., Baxter, L. Cameron, C., Cameron, D., O’Brien, K., O’Hearn, S., Oliver, B.
  • Enabling occupation in low-income countries through prosthetic design: Prosthetists’ perspectives, OSOT conference Sept 2013, Kam, S., Khodaverdian, A., Andrysek, J., Daiter, L., Kent, M. Njelesani, J., Cameron, D.
  • Trentham, B., Stier, J., Cameron, D. Cockburn, L., Fourt, A., Reid, D., Renwick, R., & Sangrar, R. (2013). Building inclusion through curriculum development. Invited panel presentation at the 2013 University of Toronto International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Campaign.Toronto.
  • Feasby, L., Rudachyk, A., Cameron, D., Trentham, B., Eby, S., Stories from Abroad: (accepted Jan 2013). Student occupational therapists navigating international fieldwork barriers. CAOT conference, Victoria, June 2013.
  • Landy, R., Nixon, S., Baxter, L., Cameron, C., Cameron, D., Cockburn, L., O’Brien, K., O’Hearn, S., Oliver, B., Robrigado, K.(accepted Feb 2013) Fostering Reflexivity among HIV clinicians and students: A scoping study.  2nd International HIV Social Sciences and Humanities Conference, Paris, July 2013.
  • Perceptions of persons living with HIV/aids – Cameron, D., Njelesani, J. CAOT 2012
  • Knight, B., Haro, A. Cameron, D., Nixon, S., Hicks, E. & Ahluwalia, P. Exploring the Impact of International Fieldwork on occupational therapy practice.  CAOT Conference, Quebec City, 2012
  • Key Stakeholder Perspectives on Vocational Options for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities in Trinidad.  Lax, I., Vandewater, L., Reyes, A., Han, J., Cameron, D.  
  • 8th Canadian Conference on International Health (Debra Cameron, Ailsa Storck, Lisa Vandewater) “International Student Placements:  A Trinidadian Experience”
  • Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists. (Debra Cameron, Ailsa Storck, Lisa Vandewater) “Fostering the growth of Healthy Communities through International Student Placements”
  • The Clinical Utility of Paediatric Screening Tools: A Trinidadian Example.  Smallman, L., Clifford, D. & Cameron, D. CAOT Conference, St Johns, July 2007.
  • Caldwell, A. & Cameron, D. Childhood rehabilitation in a developing country: Current services and needs. CAOT Conference, Vancouver, 2005. – Podium
  • Cameron, D., Stier, J., Vandewater, L., & Cunningham, E.  “Go for it: Student Experiences of International Fieldwork”. CAOT Conference, Charlottetown, June 2004. – Podium
  •  Vaisberg, S., Sangrar, R., Njelesani, J., & Polatajko, H. Occupation Based Programs for International Development. Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists Conference, Quebec City, QC (June 8, 2012)
  • Sangrar, R., Vaisberg, S., Njelesani, J., & Polatajko, H. Viewing Youth Sport-for-Development Programming in Trinidad & Tobago from an Occupational Perspective. Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists Conference, Edmonton, AB (May 3, 2012)

c) Other

Trinidad Conferences and Education Sessions

  • Caribbean Occupational Therapy Conference
  • Disability Awareness Conference
  • High school career presentations

Other Articles

  • “Adventures in International Fieldwork” article by Deb Cameron, Emily Bednar, and Hilleree Valade.  Occupational Therapy Now, Mar/April 2003.
  • “NGO Profile: Trinidad Working Group” by Deb Cameron. Dispatches: Newsletter of the International Health Division, Canadian Physiotherapy Association, Vol. 2, Issue 3, Summer 2008.
  • “Students in Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Toronto to Continue to Work in Trinidad” by Martin Latchana and Naraindra Prashad
  • “Helping Hand” by Jessica Whiteside  www.news.utoronto.ca/bin2/020325d.asp – 20k
  • “Ontario SLP’s Volunteer at Immortelle Children’s Centre Port of Spain, Trinidad” by Carol Teal
  • Hachey, K,  Goultiaeva, A.,  Mollon, Westernoff, F (2011). Immortelle Children’s Centre – Monthly Tips for Communicating with Your Child. Series of six parent newsletters (January-February; March-April; May-June; July-August; September-October; November-December).


Contact Us

For more information, please contact: Lisa Vandewater.