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Supporting Engaging Environments: a prototype collaboration tool developed through action research

To have good lives, people with severe and profound learning disabilities need skilled support, with poor quality support reducing opportunities for engagement and participation. Occupational therapists often suggest things support workers could do differently, for example ways of involving someone more fully in an activity. Embedding changes in practice can however be challenging.

David Haines, Amanda Knowles and Diana Ramsey have used action research to develop a prototype of a reasoning tool to help occupational therapists think through and plan how to work alongside support workers when trying to change how they provide support.

Occupational therapists from one county’s community learning disability teams shared their experiences of working with support workers. They were introduced to existing knowledge from research and reflected on and discussed this in relation to their practice. The content of a reasoning tool has come from analysing these discussions. Participants considered, trialled and fed back on this prototype tool as it developed.

The prototype SEE (Supporting Engaging Environments) clinical reasoning tool seems to have good potential to guide collaboration with a particular support network and facilitate systemic intervention that takes into account the complexities of the social, institutional and cultural environment.

This research was partly funded by a Research Career Development Grant from the UK Occupational Therapy Research Foundation (now Royal College of Occupational Therapists Research Foundation).

The prototype will now be further developed in projects (1) validating that the SEE has the right content to do what it sets out to do, (2) exploring use of the SEE in different services and (3) measuring potential outcomes (for example, development of support workers’ skills and job satisfaction, better spent social care funding and increased occupational engagement).


Poster for IASSIDD International Conference Series session: "Quality Support for Quality of Life in a Changing World" (16th November 2022)

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Watch a video introucing this poster below (3 minutes)

Presentation on development of the 'SEE' at Royal College of Occupational Therapists Annual Conference (June 2022)

16 minutes

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