The Role of Occupational Therapy in SIL

March 13, 2024    |    By Madeeha Usman    |    7 min read
The role of occupational therapy in SIL

It's not always easy for people with disabilities to deal with the things that make their daily lives harder. There may be parts of their disability or the way they live that make it hard for them to learn new skills or use them regularly. One of the best ways to improve their functional skills and ensure they can keep using them is to get professional help, like through the NDIS's supported independent living program.

People with disabilities often need help with therapy, and occupational therapists (OTs) are an essential part of that. Occupational therapy in Australia helps NDIS participants do everyday tasks effectively to become more independent and enjoy a better quality of life. As an occupational therapist (OT), you can help people in the community or a hospital by setting up support networks, prescribing aids, and changing their surroundings. This blog explains what occupational therapy is and the roles it plays in supported independent living. 

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is a client-centred clinical area that utilises the concepts of occupation to enhance a person's overall health. The ability to interact with others, adapt to new environments, and interact with their communities is improved by occupational therapists. Disability guidance and treatment programs for disabled people include occupational therapy or OT. The main goal is to facilitate a person's ability to carry out their daily tasks to enhance their quality of life and successfully live on their own. The occupational therapy program must help its clients, patients, or volunteers become more independent, care for themselves, and be productive at work, school, home, and public.

The role of occupational therapy in SIL

Every person has a job or activity that they do every day. For people with a learning disability, these tasks can be challenging at times, which can affect their ability to function and live on their own. Some things can be more difficult for people with learning disabilities to do than for other people. Some of these things are:


1. Structure 

Structure and routine help people know what will happen, give their day meaning, and give them a way to get help. A learning disability can make it hard for someone to understand or remember what they need to know to set up and keep up their organisation. 

2. Self-care

People need to do these things daily to stay healthy, safe, clean, and happy. Some examples are taking a shower, grooming pets, cooking meals, shopping, travelling, keeping the house and yard in good shape, and caring for pets. 

3. Fun and games

It's important to plan time for fun in our daily lives. Doing hobbies and tasks that are meaningful to you can be good for your physical and mental health. 

4. Transitioning 

It can be hard to leave school sometimes. Occupational therapists can help with this transition by finding out about the person's skills, interests, and goals so they can suggest good job chances.

5. Work and education

After finishing school, many people with learning disabilities go on to work or more schooling. It can be challenging for someone to get used to a new place of work and surroundings at this point. 

6. Processing of sensations

Our brain sorts and makes sense of the sensory information it gets and then acts on it if needed. This process is called sensory processing. People with trouble understanding sensory information may struggle to do everyday things. As a result, the person may react to sensory information abnormally, such as yelling when they hear a noise or saying that a light touch on the arm hurts.

7. Alzheimer's disease

Occupational therapists can help people with learning disabilities and those who support them find ways to keep doing whatever they do. 

How does occupational therapy help people who have disabilities?

Occupational therapists help people with physical, sensory, or mental challenges do everyday things independently and enjoy life more. OTs help by creating programs in a client's network and environment, prescribing aids and physical changes to help them find solutions that work and get more access, and giving them valuable jobs to help them live everyday life.

For people with disabilities, starting occupational therapy right away can make a huge difference. Our brains are like sponges when we are young. If a kid with a disability is diagnosed early on, the techniques and activities they learn in occupational therapy can make their life a lot better. This also applies to people who have problems over time. People with disabilities will be able to deal with their new condition more efficiently and with less physical, mental, and emotional stress if they start using these techniques right away, keep an eye on their situations, and make changes as needed.

Who can get benefit from Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy can help people of all ages and levels of disability, but the results of treatment may be different for each patient based on their daily needs. People with the following challenges and health problems may benefit from occupational therapy:

  • Autism or a sensory processing problem
  • No Spina Bifida
  • Diseases that cause MS
  • Palsy of the brain
  • Long-term illnesses
  • Alzheimer
  • Feeling tired
  • People with chronic pain
  • Learning difficulties or delays in development
  • Broken bones or damage to the joints
  • Problems or accidents at birth
  • Hash Burns
  • Amputations for cancer
  • Hand or foot hurts
  • RA (rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Brain damage from accidents
  • Damage to the spinal cord
  • Issues with mental health or behaviour


This guide has expanded the roles of occupational therapy in NDIS and SIL. it has been said that occupational therapy is a powerful treatment that can help disabled people live more independently and happily. For all SIL and NDIS participants in Australia in need of occupational therapy, we have brought to you the good news of Care Assure. Our trained NDIS Occupational Therapists are dedicated to giving our clients the best care possible. We love what we do and are proud of it, and all of our occupational therapists work to help people reach their goals. Find out more about our occupational therapy services and how we can help you by contacting us immediately. It might be the smartest thing you ever do. 

Frequently asked questions

How does occupational therapy help people in SIL?

Occupational therapists help people with SIL by working with them on managing their homes, personal care, movement, community integration, and job skills. They help people make goals and plans to deal with problems and become more independent. Read more about the benefits of supported independent living.

How does occupational therapy work with other professionals?

Social workers, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, support staff, and occupational therapists work closely to provide complete care and support tailored to each person's needs. This multidisciplinary method ensures that all of a person's health needs are met.

Can occupational therapy help people switch to and stay in SIL arrangements?

Yes, occupational therapy can be a big part of helping people move into SIL arrangements by doing exams, figuring out what they need, and giving them the training and support they need to learn the skills they need to live independently. OT actions that happen over time can also help people stay independent and deal with new problems as they come up.

How can people in SIL get occupational therapy services?

Occupational therapy programs in SIL can be accessed by people who have been referred by doctors, case managers, or organisations that help people with disabilities. People with disabilities or their families can also go straight to private practices or community-based groups that offer disability services to get occupational therapy.

Are SIL's occupational therapy services paid for by insurance or other forms of funding?

Occupational therapy services may be paid for by private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, or other government-funded programs based on the person's eligibility and the policies that cover them. Determining if the right insurance company or funding source covers occupational therapy services in SIL is essential.

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