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Occupational Therapy and People with Learning Disabilities

On this page you can find out more about the Occupational Therapy team and how they can support people with learning disabilities to improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life.

Female service user preparing food

An Occupational Therapist (OT) supports people who have a health need(s) to do the meaningful things that they want or need to do to improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life.

Within our learning disability services, this can include anything such as; brushing your teeth, going swimming, managing finances or developing a better sleep routine.

Occupational Therapists adapt therapy to each client’s needs, focusing on: skills, activities, interests and their environment. Our work is always centred on the person and their goals.

Occupational therapists support people with all types of learning disabilities to help them continue with life skills, work and leisure activities as independently as possible.’ (College of Occupational Therapists 2011)

Occupational Therapists work with the client and their support network to set goals that are meaningful and specific to that person’s needs.

Occupational Therapists work with the client to breakdown tasks into easy, manageable steps to help them fulfil their goals.

Occupational Therapists work closely with the client’s family, carers and other services, to enable them to support the client in the best way possible.

  • Specialist assessments and interventions e.g. sensory strategies and intensive interaction
  • Assessment of life skills e.g. personal care activities, domestic activities (drink prep and cleaning) and leisure
  • Assessment and advice on creating a safe and therapeutic environment e.g. prescribing equipment, posture/seating management and adapting the environment to promote engagement (e.g. rails, lighting, noise)
  • Advising on therapeutic activity and engagement e.g. identifying meaningful activities and increasing these through skills development (swimming, cycling, etc.)
  • Structure and scheduling e.g. activity boards and visual timetables
  • Support with management of behaviours e.g. strategies to reduce frequency and intensity of challenging behaviour (relaxation, redirection)
  • Support carers/family to implement our techniques and recommendations e.g. training, easy read info, leaflets, joint sessions and demonstrations.

All of this is done as part of a multi-disciplinary team to ensure a holistic approach to the person’s care. 

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Occupational Therapists are availableto you through your local Community Learning Disability Team