The home environments and occupational engagement of people with intellectual disabilities in supported living

Danielle Ashley, Ellie Fossey, Christine Bigby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Social inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities includes engagement in the occupations of daily life. Given the focus on people with intellectual disabilities living independently with support, identifying the qualities of their home environments is integral to understanding the possibilities for engagement in occupations of daily life and better quality of life outcomes. In turn, this can inform the types of person-centred supports, such as active support, necessary to enable increased engagement for people with intellectual disabilities. Method: A case study methodology and mixed methods were utilised to develop an in-depth understanding of the home environments of six people with intellectual disabilities in supported living, and their experience of how these environments impacted their occupational engagement both at home and in their community. Semi-structured interviews and observation of participants’ home environments, using the Residential Environment Impact Survey – Short Form, were completed. Findings: Participants valued the opportunity to be self-reliant and live in their own homes. They had adequate means to engage in basic daily activities; however, their homes lacked expression of their occupational identity, and they had minimal occupational opportunities and demands, resulting in limited occupational engagement. Conclusion: For people with intellectual disabilities, it is important to increase opportunities for participation in valued occupations that foster social identities, and to provide adequate environmental supports and demands, to enable sustained occupational engagement and social inclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)698-709
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • environment
  • Intellectual disability
  • occupational engagement
  • occupational therapy
  • supported living

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