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Important things to understand about NDIS Occupational Therapy

NDIS Occupational Therapy (OT) is an allied health therapy that can help people achieve their goals and become more independent by assisting them to participate in everyday activities and engage with their community. They do this by adjusting and customising the person’s environment or occupation to better guide their engagement.

What is an occupation?

In NDIS OT terms, an occupation is what we do in our roles in life that forms our identity and gives meaning to our lives. It is a subjective experience that usually includes a variety of activities such as education, work/employment, social, leisure and daily living tasks.

This aims to develop one’s strengths, so that they can attain their personal and health goals to carry out their lives in a manner of their choosing.

How do OT help people?

OTs can help people with acute or chronic injuries, medical conditions, disabilities, difficulties caused by the degenerative effects of aging, or developmental delay. They also work with people’s families and communities to foster greater independence and engagement in life, so that they can live their lives as they wish.

They work with people of all ages, acute medical conditions or injuries, people with mental health conditions, people needing rehabilitation or injury management and/or prevention.

What medical conditions can NDIS OT help with?

They can help people with a wide variety of medical conditions and injuries including:

  • Any physical injury or trauma
  • Amputations
  • Heart attack or stroke sufferers
  • Mental health conditions
  • People with emotional difficulties
  • Permanent disabilities
  • Head injuries
  • Burn victims
  • Developmental delays or disorders (e.g. autism)

What specific difficulties can OTs help with?

They work with people to identify and help fulfil their personal and health goals. This can include:

  • Implementing sensory modalities to help improve performance with daily living tasks, emotional and self-regulation
  • Developing activities of daily living skills (e.g. eating, dressing, toileting)
  • Developing instrumental activities of daily living skills (e.g. money management, meal preparation, shopping)
  • Making changes to one’s environment to improve how they interact with their environment (e.g. home or vehicle modifications)
  • Enhancing interpersonal and social skills
  • Improving gross and fine motor skills

Can you use the NDIS to receive OT?

OT comes under the “improved daily living” or “capacity building” support category. If you have funding for this category, you can utilise it to receive OT to help you achieve your goals.

What to do next if you have funding for NDIS OT?

NDIS participants choose a service provider that they want to work with. Your NDIS coordinator or Plan Manager can help you find providers, or you can look for providers yourself (e.g. online search engines or consulting the NDIS provider guide).

Examples of common goals by participants:

  • Wanting to improve handwriting and hand-eye coordination.
  • Wanting NDIS Occupational Therapy to help you child improve showering, toileting, dressing and general personal hygiene.
  • Returning to driving on the road after a stroke.
  • Using NDIS Occupational Therapy to prepare for finding a job.
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