Developing an occupational therapy tool that can enable support workers to meaningfully engage people with intellectual disabilities* in activity.

    Project Details


    To have good lives, people with severe and profound learning disabilities need support from people who understand them well, but they are not always supported in the best way. This reduces opportunities for full involvement, impacting on quality of life.

    Occupational therapists often suggest things support workers could do differently, for example how they could support someone to be more involved in an activity. Support workers may, however, find it difficult make these changes. Working together seems important: the occupational therapist and support workers as partners in a team with the person being supported.

    This study is using an action research process to develop a tool (perhaps a booklet, website, app, set of questions or training programme) to help occupational therapists think through and plan how to work with support workers when trying to change how they support people. This will develop support workers’ skills and job satisfaction and reduce unequal opportunities of people with learning disabilities. It will also mean social care funding being better spent.

    To develop the tool, occupational therapists from the community learning disability teams in one county took part in “action research” groups where they have shared their experiences of working with support workers. They were introduced to existing knowledge from research and reflected on and discussed their practice.

    Jan 22 - The content of an initial version of the tool has come from analysing these discussions and participants particiapants are currently considering, trialling and feeding back on this developing tool.

    We are currently planning subsequent connected projects that will:
    - investigate the acceptability and content/ face validity of the initial version of the tool, i.e. establish that it has the right content to do what it sets out to do
    - explore use of the tool in 2-3 services; and
    - evaluate the tool and measure outcomes from its use.
    Short titleSupporting Engagement in Activity Kent Action Research Project
    Effective start/end date1/09/1931/07/23


    • UK Occupational Therapy Research Foundation


    • Occupational therapy
    • Intellectual Disabilities


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