Journal Club: Occupational Therapy Intervention for Adults

Intellectual Disability (ID) in adults requires Occupational Therapists to use a range of habilitative approaches. Through available evidence, Occupational Therapists must guide intervention planning that address the difficulty in managing formal supports, social interactions and plan budgets throughout Intellectual Disability adulthood.

Journal Review
Evidence to Inform Occupational Therapy Intervention With Adults With Intellectual Disability: A Scoping Review

Intellectual Disability affects intellectual, cognitive and adaptive behaviour skills. A range of approaches exist in supporting participants with Intellectual Disability. However, the legal and social expectations of adulthood must be considered, in addressing intervention planning for adults with Intellectual Disability.

For example, there is a focus on Employment within the Domains of Occupation for adult participants. This includes improving job-specific skills, workplace modifications and technology-based prompting systems that are consistent with a participants’ capacity. In addition, Leisure and social interaction are critical for managing formal supports within the Domains of Occupation. With a shift in focus to community care rather than institutional, improving relationships between participants and guardians/caregivers can help support Occupational Therapy Intervention. This can be achieved through increasing participation in leisure activities and using sensory strategies. For example, specific therapies such as horticulture and virtual reality leisure programs showed positive results.

Practical Application

  • Practitioners should explicitly seek and use perspectives of participants with ID
  • Practitioners should advocate for their role in promoting community participation, social interaction and mental health
  • Compensatory and habilitative approaches are key. This is a combination of both including technology and caregiver prompting
  • When searching for OT related evidence, practitioners need to be mindful of search terms and to include sources outside of specific OT journals.
If you’re an Occupational Therapist looking for more information on evidence-based therapy, please contact us. 

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