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Changing Our Perspectives on Restrictive Practices

It has been one year since the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission (NDIS QS) came into effect in Western Australia, and what a year it has been! A major change the NDIS QS brought to WA is around how we report and regulate restrictive practices that are used when supporting a person with a disability. It has been challenging, eye-opening and, sometimes, a daunting change for all people who are involved in way or another in the disability sector. 

A restrictive practice is any practice or intervention that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person with disability. They are only to be used to reduce possible risks to the person or others around them. Something we also have to keep in mind is that whatever the risk we are trying to reduce by using a restrictive practice, that it is not creating more risks that outweigh the harm it was trying to reduce in the first place! In short, the restrictive practice needs to reduce harm, not create more.

A Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) practitioner and other allied health professionals will work alongside the person who has a restrictive practice in place and the important people in their life to assess these different risks together. 

This process can sometimes feel difficult, complicated, or confusing, which is so normal! Trying to unpack risks and people’s human rights can be a sticky situation! Here are three things can help these situations to feel more comfortable or easier to work through:

  • Open and honest communication between all the people involved. 
  • Trying to understand and be respectful of the different perspectives that all people involved may have about the restrictive practice.
  • Remembering that we all have the same goal: helping to maintain and improve the quality of life for the person. We must always keep this person at the centre. 

This year has thrown challenges to all of us in the NDIS space. Let’s take a moment to remind ourselves that we are all trying to work towards a place where people who live with disabilities are living their best life, whatever that looks like, with the dignity that we all deserve.  

If you want to learn more restrictive practices, click the link below or have a chat with your friendly neighbourhood PBS practitioner.

Regulated restrictive practices | NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (


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