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OTHY200 Neuroscience, Neurodevelopment AND OTHY203 Occupational Therapy Interventions for Physical Conditions

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Occupational therapy in neurological rehabilitation aims to enable people with neurological conditions to participate in occupations they need to, want to or are expected to do. Building on knowledge of conditions and neuroscience students will explore the impact of neurological conditions on occupational performance and participation. Students will use evidence-based practice and measurement principles to identify strengths and barriers and outcomes that inform goal attainment. Students will learn to identify and articulate the rationale for assessment and results to clients and relevant others. 

The overall aim of this unit is to develop your knowledge of the impact of neurological conditions on occupational performance and to develop skills in evidence-based assessment in order to address occupation-focused goals.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Discuss the pathophysiology, clinical features, progression, and impact of a range of neurological conditions on occupational performance and participation; (GA5, GA9)

LO2 - Select, administer, interpret and communicate assessment rationale and results for clients with neurological conditions and relevant others; (GA5)

LO3 - Critically review the evidence base for assessments and outcome measures for adults with neurological conditions (GA5, GA7)

LO4 - Apply the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement (CMOP-E) to analyse the impact of neurological impairments on occupational performance and participation, and to develop professional reasoning that guides the goal setting and assessment process for adults with neurological conditions. (GA7, GA8, GA9).

Graduate attributes

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

Australian occupational therapy competency standards (AOTCS) 2018

Australian occupational therapy competency standards (AOTCS) 2018 developed within this unit are:

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

Standard 1 - Professionalism

An occupational therapist practises in an ethical, safe, lawful and accountable manner, supporting client health and wellbeing through occupation and consideration of the person and their environment.

An occupational therapist:

1.3 – maintains professional boundaries in all client and professional relationships

1.5 – practices in a culturally responsive and culturally safe manner, with particular respect to culturally diverse client groups

1.7- collaborates and consults ethically and responsibly for effective client-centered and inter-professional practice

1.8- adheres to all work health and safety, and quality requirements for practice

1.9- identifies and manages the influence of her/his values and culture on practice

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Standard 2 - Knowledge and learning

An occupational therapist’s knowledge, skills and behaviours in practice are informed by relevant and contemporary theory, practice knowledge and evidence, and are maintained and developed by ongoing professional development and learning.

An occupational therapist:

2.1- Applies current and evidence-informed knowledge of occupational therapy and other appropriate and relevant theory in practice

 2.2- Applies theory and frameworks of occupation to professional practice and decision making

 2.3 – Identifies and applies best available evidence in professional practice and decision making

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Standard 3 - Occupational therapy process and practice

An occupational therapist’s practice acknowledges the relationship between health, wellbeing and human occupation, and their practice is client-centered for individuals, groups, communities and populations.

An occupational therapist:

3.1 – Addresses occupational performance and participation of clients, identifying the enablers and barriers to engagement

3.2 – Performs appropriate information gathering and assessment when identifying a client’s status and functioning, strengths, occupational performance and goals.

3.3- Collaborates with the client and relevant others to determine the priorities and occupational therapy goals.

3.5- Selects and implements culturally responsive and safe practices to suit the occupational therapy goals and environment of the client

3.6 – Seeks to understand and incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ experience of health, wellbeing and occupations encompassing cultural connections

3.7- Reflects on practice to inform and communicate professional reasoning and decision making

3.8- Identifies and uses practice guidelines and protocols suitable to the practice setting or work environment

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Standard 4 – Communication

Occupational therapists practise with open, responsive and appropriate communication to maximise the occupational performance and engagement of clients and relevant others.

An occupational therapist:

4.1 – Communicates openly, respectfully and effectively

4.2 – Adapts written, verbal and non verbal communication appropriate to the client and practice context

4.4- Uses culturally responsive, safe and relevant communication tools and strategies

4.5 – Complies with legal and procedural requirements for the responsible and accurate documentation, sharing and storage of professional information and records of practice

4.6 - Maintains contemporaneous, accurate and complete records of practice

4.7 – Obtains informed consent for practice and information sharing from the client or legal guardian

4.8 – Maintains collaborative professional relationships with clients, health professionals and relevant others

4.9 – Uses effective communication skills to initiate and end relationships with clients and relevant others

4.11 – Identifies and articulates the rationale for practice to clients and relevant others.

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4


Topics will include: 

Pathophysiology of neurological conditions

  •  Stroke
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Motor Neurone Disease
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Brain tumours
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Chronic Pain

Collaborative Goal setting

  • Communication
  • SMART and Goal Attainment Scale
  •  Evidence-based Measurement Focus of assessment (ICF levels)
  • Purpose of assessment
  • Clinical utility
  • Validity
  • Reliability
  • Responsiveness
  • Clients participation in the assessment process

Measurement focus

  • Participation
  • Occupational Performance
  • Motor
  • Somatosensory
  • Vision
  • Cognitive
  • Neurobehavioural 
  • Selection, administration and interpretation of evidence based assessments for adults with neurological conditions 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Teaching and learning approaches for this unit include: lectures, tutorials, case studies and self-directed learning.  Consistent with adult learning principles, the teaching and learning approaches used within these modes of delivery will aid in students constructing knowledge and will apply to real-life situations of occupational therapy practice. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities, demonstrating respect for the individual as an independent learner.


The lectures will provide a framework for the content of this unit, and situate it within an occupational therapy practice context. The tutorials will provide opportunity for experiential learning to further develop an understanding of the impact of neurological conditions on occupational performance and to develop skills in assessment approaches for clients with neurological conditions. Experiential learning in this unit is an important aspect for learning about how to administer a variety of assessments for clients as this type of learning allows students to practice the cognitive, sensory and motor patterns and communication skills required to become a competent occupational therapist.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and to develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.


Assessment 1:

Written Assessment: Critique of 2 assessments.

This assessment will provide the opportunity for students to gain skills in critique and justify the selection of an assessment for a neurological case study. Students will critique an assessment based on the psychometric properties and justify the selection for the case study. This is an essential skill in selecting and interpreting assessments for neurological clients.


Assessment 2: Group Presentation:

Students are provided with a video case study of a client with a neurological condition. Students work collaboratively in a small group (4 students) to develop a presentation that demonstrates their understanding of the pathophysiology of the condition identified in the case study, and explores the impact of the condition on the client’s occupational performance and participation. In this assessment, students also gain experience preparing for and conducting a neurological assessment and interpreting the assessment results for a client and caregiver. This assessment allows students to demonstrate their understanding and application of knowledge of a neurological condition, communication skills, professional reasoning

Assessment 3: Written Examination:

Assessment 3 is a written examination, comprised of multiple choice questions and short answer questions. The multiple choice questions examine students’ overall knowledge of measurement, and the short answer questions assess students’ application of knowledge in relation to neurological case studies.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1:

Written Assessment: Critique and justify the selection of an assessment for a neurological case study based on the psychometric properties.

25% Total



Assessment 2: Group Oral Presentation

Requires students to work collaboratively to develop their ability to apply knowledge of measurement to a neurological case study


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assessment 3: Written Examination


Enables students to demonstrate their understanding and application of core learning undertaken in the unit including materials from lectures, tutorials and preparatory readings


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Radomski, M.V., & Trombly, C.A. (Eds.). (2014). Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (7th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.

Gillen, G. (2009). Cognitive and perceptual rehabilitation. Optimising Performance. St. Louis: Mosby.

Gillen, G. & Brockman-Rubio, K. (2016). Treatment of cognitive perceptual deficits: A function based approach. In G. Gillen (ed). Stroke rehabilitation: A function-based approach (4th ed.). St Louis: Mosby

Schenkman, M. L., Bowman, J.P., Gisbert, R. L., Butler, R. B., Giddings, D., & Sawyer, S. (2013). Clinical neuroscience for rehabilitation. New Jersey: Pearson.

Shumway-Cook, A., & Woollacott, M. (2007). Motor control: Translating research into clinical practice (3rd ed.). Pennsylvania: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.

Townsend, E. A. & Polatajko H. J. (2007) Enabling Occupation II: Advancing an occupational therapy vision for health, well-being & justice through occupation. Ottawa, Ontario: CAOT Publications ACE.

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