Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitDepartment of Occupational Therapy
OfferedPeninsula Second semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Helen Bourke-Taylor


This unit will comprehensively cover occupational therapy assessment and management options for school aged children with significant neurodevelopmental disabilities. Etiology and epidemiology of conditions will be described. Students will learn about occupational therapy methods using the International Classification of Functioning and Disability (ICF) and family centred practice. The impact that neurodevelopmental disability can have on the child's body structure and function; capabilities in daily occupations and activities will be covered in details. Environmental influences that impact the child such as culture, institutional and attitudinal barriers in the community will be explored and related to occupational therapy interventions. Functional challenges will be examined from the perspective of motor, cognitive, sensory, perceptual and behavioural difficulties experienced by the child. Interventions will emphasize a skill building, strengths based approach. The major frameworks for current intervention methods will be presented including family centred functional therapy; goal directed therapy; conductive education and techniques that recognize sensory processing and environmental or task modification as a major method for creating routines that promote both motor skill development and the child's inclusion within family and community environments. Learning will be experienced in the online classroom environment and students will examine several case studies in detail.


At the completion of this unit, students will:

  1. Compare the WHO ICF, Social model of disability, the premises of the United Nations Charter on the rights of the child and occupational therapy practice for children with neurodevelopmental disability;
  2. Evaluate the impact of culture and environmental influences on the capabilities and participation of school aged children with neurodevelopmental disability;
  3. Accurately describe the most common causes and co-existing conditions that occur with a diagnosis that results in developmental and functional challenges;
  4. Design an occupational therapy program that is appropriate for a specific school aged child, from the perspective of one of the major approaches that facilitates the participation of children with neurodevelopment disabilities in daily life;
  5. Evaluate impairments of body structure and function in school aged children with developmental and functional challenges;
  6. Evaluate a school aged child with a motor challenge who has limitations in self care, leisure and play skills and preschool or school related productive occupations;
  7. Select appropriate occupational therapy intervention to improve a school aged child's capabilities in childhood occupations;
  8. Develop learner centred goals and explain the occupational therapy management options for improving the school aged child's participation in home, school and community life;
  9. Demonstrate creation of family centred occupational therapy goals and home programs, including professional report writing skills appropriate to the needs of parents;
  10. Critique evidence based practice approaches to occupational therapy for students with neurodevelopment disability.


Assessment includes attendance requirements, a 30 minute presentation at a seminar (20%) and submission of a 1,000 word summary (10%), and active participation in online discussion boards and short quizzes (3,500 words total over 8 weeks)(70%).

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

60 hrs interaction with online lectures and course material, and participation in online tutorials, communications with other students and tutor (online delivery only), 8 hrs seminar attendance (including a 30 minute presentation), 1 written assignment (1000 words), Eight discussion postings (3, 500 words); 88 hours of private study