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 will use 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 will take part in “action research” groups where they will share their experiences of working with support workers. They will be introduced to existing knowledge from research and will reflect on and discuss their practice. The content of the tool will come from analysing these discussions. Participants will consider, trial and give feedback on the tool as it develops.

Later stages of this project will establish that this tool has the right content to do what it sets out to do, exploring its use in two services and measuring outcomes from its use.
Short titleSupporting Engagement in Activity Kent Action Research Project
Effective start/end date1/09/1931/08/21


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