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FORWARD WITH THE PEOPLE

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“What matters to you?” not, “What’s the matter with you : Occupational Therapy and the NDIS

“Life takes on meaning in the minute-by-minute reality in which we experience ourselves achieving ordinary things.”- Gary Kielhofner

What is Occupational Therapy?

Our primary goal is to enable people to participate in the “occupations” (activities) of everyday life. At is core, occupational therapy aims to build a person’s independence and the scope is virtually limitless. We focus on client-centred care which means therapy is individualised and tailored. In doing so occupational therapists usually focus on three key things:

What is Occupational Therapy within the National Disability Insurance Scheme?

Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) occupational therapy (OT) is funded within the capacity building support category. This can cover all aspects of life, from activities of daily living (eating, bathing, or dressing) to more complex skills such as maintaining employment, using public transport, or managing finances. The nature of OT support may vary according to the NDIS plan. Consequently, some plans may be funded for time limited assessments and reports whilst other plans have funding for regular therapy. Whatever the plan it always involves working collaboratively with the client, their families, and formal supports to work towards the client’s goals in the NDIS plan.

Within the NDIS OT’s can assist in many ways. Some ways can be:

Building on basic self-care skills. This could be:

  • Implementing the use of assistive technology such as a shower chair to help a person shower safely and independently or changing the shower head to have less water pressure to assist with sensory regulation issues. 
  • Adapting the bathroom by installing grab rails or modifying the layout so it is level access with lots of circulation space for wheelchair access. 
  • Developing visual aids with the steps of routines (showering, laundry, dressing, making lunch) to help promote safety, independence, and participation.

Performing assessments. This could be: 

  • Assessments of the home for modifications such as ramps, rails, kitchen and bathroom modifications. 
  • Assessment and trials of assistive technology such as wheelchairs, high back chairs, beds or walking aids. 
  • Completing functional capacity assessments to identify the strengths and areas of need of a person’s daily functioning at home and in the community. These reports recommend future funding and the support the client will benefit from at home and in the community. 
  • Assessments of venues and activities in the community to promote access and inclusion for clients.

Developing independence in life skills. This could be:

  • Developing supportive daily and weekly routines. 
  • Organising the kitchen with labels to assist with finding and locating items. 
  • Provision of assistive technology like modified chopping boards to help with meal preparation.
  • Modifying a resource to have brail/larger font/colour contrast for participant so they can read information independently. 
  • Educating on how to catch public transport and creating, scripting assistive technology as needed to assist with doing so independently. 

Overall, OT’s find creative ways to help you do the things you need to do, want to do, and have to do.

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