Dr. Sonia Paquette, OTD, OTR/L, CPE, D-ABVE

Ergonomics, Occupational and Vocational Rehabilitation

(866) 861-8659

How can I help?

** I establish a person’s capacity to work.**

I work with insurers, employers and litigators doing the following:

Bridging the gap (the canyon!) between medical jargon and the reality of work with all its components.

Helping workplaces become safer and more efficient, and workers being safer, more productive and healthier at work by optimizing the fit between the workers and the work.

Identifying new career avenues after an injury or disease that makes it impossible for workers to continue working as before.

My approach has proven efficacy and includes:

  • primary prevention through ergonomics consultation, surveillance and health promotion,
  • secondary prevention through participatory ergonomics and training, and
  • tertiary prevention through coordinated return to work, ergonomics intervention and vocational analysis

Who can benefit from these services?


  • Human Resources department representatives
  • Occupational Health physicians or nurses
  • Environmental Health Services
  • Safety and Health committee
  • Others


  • Claims adjusters
  • Case managers
  • TPA representatives
  • Self-insured employers
  • Others

Attorneys and other legal representatives

  • Defense attorneys
  • Plaintiff attorneys
  • Union representatives
  • Worker’s compensation groups
  • SSA representatives
  • Others

What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics (also called ”human factors”) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.

Ergonomists contribute to the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, products, environments and systems in order to make them compatible with the needs, abilities and limitations of people.

(Definition from the International Association of Ergonomics: http://www.iea.cc/ergonomics/ )

What is rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation encompasses a vast array of activities.  Many professionals in all walks of life provide rehabilitation services. Whether it is called vocational, occupational, physical or psychological rehabilitation, the term always refer to helping people being more capable and confident doing what is important to them.

In occupational therapy, the kind of rehabilitation involves using activities as a therapeutic modality (as a means) to get people to be able to do activities (as a goal). Occupational therapy is defined as a skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in all facets of their lives. Occupational therapy assists people in developing the “skills for the job of living” necessary for independent and satisfying lives. Services typically include:

  • Customized treatment programs to improve one’s ability to perform daily activities, including work
  • Comprehensive home and job site evaluations with adaptation recommendations
  • Performance skills assessments and treatment (assessing client’s factors -motor, cognitive, emotional deficits — that may affect performance)
  • Adaptive equipment recommendations and usage training.

(Definition adapted from the American Occupational Therapy Association: http://www.aota.org/featured/area6/index.asp#what)

Vocational rehabilitation implies counseling individuals to maximize the independence and employability of persons coping with personal, social, and vocational difficulties that result from birth defects, illness, disease, accidents, or the stress of daily life. Assessing client needs and design and implement rehabilitation programs that may include personal and vocational counseling, training, and job placement.

(Definition adapted from O*Net: http://online.onetcenter.org/link/summary/21-1015.00)