Perspectives of individuals receiving occupational therapy services through the National Disability Insurance Scheme: Implications for occupational therapy educators

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Introduction: With the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Australia, occupational therapy graduates need to be adequately prepared to support service users in this new policy context. There is, however, limited research informed by service users themselves to inform contemporary occupational therapy curriculum redesign. The aims of this study were: (a) to explore the experience of occupational therapy service provision from the perspective of service users with lived experience of disability; (b) to gain an understanding of the perceptions of people with lived experience of disability regarding the NDIS and whether it will change how they work with occupational therapists; (c) to gain an understanding of the perspectives of people with lived experience of disability regarding the NDIS, and how this influences curriculum content for occupational therapy education. Methods: A pragmatic qualitative design, underpinned by the constructivist paradigm was utilised. Demographic surveys and semi-structured interviews were completed with 10 participants who were purposively recruited. Peer debriefing and use of an audit trail were undertaken to enhance the rigour of the analysis. Results: Three themes were identified: (a) Occupational therapists as gatekeepers for equipment provision; (b) experience of the NDIS (Knowledge and understanding of the NDIS; Uncertainty regarding the NDIS; Choice and control in the NDIS); (c) curriculum content for occupational therapy. Conclusion: The insights provided by the people with lived experience in this study inform key areas of focus for occupational therapy curriculum to adequately prepare graduates to work in the evolving NDIS environment. Involving service users in an authentic manner in curriculum design, content delivery and student assessment is crucial for “real-world” applicability of student education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • disability
  • education
  • occupational therapy
  • policy
  • qualitative research

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