Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


OTHY200 Neuroscience, Neurodevelopment

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Occupational therapists work in partnership with children, youth and families to identify occupational performance and participation goals and implement evidence-based interventions. Students will build on OTHY107 Infants and Children to develop knowledge and skills in information gathering, evidence-based assessment, goal setting, planning and implementing interventions, evaluation of outcomes, and effective written and verbal reporting, specific to children, youth and families. Knowledge and skills will be implemented within the context of person, environment and occupational enablers and barriers. Students will learn to apply theories, frameworks, measurement approaches and interventions to enable children, youth and families to achieve the goals they have identified as priorities. Students will demonstrate professional reasoning skills and adherence to ethical, culturally capable and safe, child- and family-centred practices.

This unit contains a learning outcome from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework (HCF, 2014) specifically addressing the HCF cultural capability Respect.

The overall aim of this unit is for students to be able to collaborate with children, youth and their families to identify and achieve their participation and occupational performance 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 - Identify occupational performance and participation in children and youth, (GA4, GA5)

LO2 - Apply appropriate theoretical and practical approaches to occupational therapy practice with children and youth, (GA5)

LO3 - Interpret and report assessment findings to relevant stakeholders, and select evaluation tools, using collaborative and interprofessional approach, for children and youth with a range of issues (GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9)

LO4 - Select, critique and report appropriate interventions to address child and family occupational performance and participation goals, considering personal and environmental factors, occupations, and interprofessional collaboration. (GA5, GA8)

LO5 - HCF 2.3.1 Design strategies to incorporate knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and concepts of health and wellbeing into health care practice to enhance cultural safety (GA1, GA5, GA8)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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:

1.1 complies with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia’s standards, guidelines and Code of conduct

1.3 maintains professional boundaries in all client and professional relationships

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

1.6. incorporates and responds to historical, political, cultural, societal, environmental and economic factors influencing health, wellbeing and occupations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

1.7 collaborates and consults ethically and responsibly for effective client-centred and interprofessional practice

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

1.10 practises within limits of her/his own level of competence and expertise

1.13 manages resources, time and workload accountably and effectively

1.14 recognises and manages her/his own physical and mental health for safe, professional practice 

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

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

2.4 understands and responds to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health philosophies, leadership, research and practices

2.9 maintains knowledge of relevant resources and technologies 

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

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-centred 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

3.4 develops a plan with the client and relevant others to meet identified occupational therapy goals

3.5 selects and implements culturally responsive and safe practice strategies to suit the occupational therapy goals and environment of the client

3.6 seeks to understand and incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ experiences 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

3.12 uses effective collaborative, multidisciplinary and interprofessional approaches for decision-making and planning

3.13 uses appropriate assistive technology, devices and/or environmental modifications to achieve client occupational performance outcomes  

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

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

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

4.10 seeks and responds to feedback, modifying communication and/or practice accordingly

4.11 identifies and articulates the rationale for practice to clients and relevant others

LO3, LO4


Topics will include:

Understanding childhood occupations

  • Occupational roles in the home, school and community
  • Cultural considerations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • Impact of developmental disorders and diagnoses on the occupations of children and youth
  • Self-care
  • Leisure
  • Play
  • School based productivity
  • Infant mealtime management

 Theories, models and frames of reference informing occupational therapy process

Biomechanical frame of reference

  • Canadian Process Practice Framework including alignment between goals, intervention and outcome measurement
  • Developmental theory
  • International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF)
  • Family- and child-centred practice
  • Learning theory
  • Motor learning theory
  • Participation and the family of Participation-Related Constructs (fPRC)
  • Person Environment Occupation Performance
  • model (PEOP)
  • Play theory
  • Sensory processing theory
  • Social participation theory

 Goal setting and measurement

  • International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) – measures at the level of body function and structure, activity and participation
  • Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM)
  • Goal Attainment Scale (GAS)

 Evidence-based interventions

  • Bimanual occupational therapy
  • Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT)
  • Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP Approach)
  • Functional Behaviour Analysis and Positive Behaviour Support
  • Goal Directed Training (GDT)
  • Handwriting interventions
  • Occupational Performance Coaching
  • Parent coaching
  • Pathways and Resources for Engagement and Participation (PREP)
  • Play-based interventions
  • Seating and positioning

 Strategies to support interventions

  • Environmental adaptation and assistive technology
  • Greber’s 4QM model of facilitated learning
  • Home programmes
  • Play
  • Visual supports

Interprofessional practice

Written and verbal reporting and communication

Service delivery models

Funding models including NDIS 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

In this unit, students will revise and acquire skills and knowledge of carefully selected theories, frameworks, assessments, interventions and intervention strategies. Students will use professional reasoning to apply this repertoire of skills and knowledge to assist children with a range of diagnoses impacting their occupational performance. Over the course of the semester students will developmentally refine skills in observing child ability, selecting and reporting assessment results and selecting, justifying and reporting interventions.

Learning activities for this unit may include blended and self-directed learning, lectures, practical sessions, workshops and case studies. Lectures will deliver core content and background material and students will be expected to engage with lectures prior to tutorials as this content will be assimilated and applied in tutorials. Completion of self-directed learning activities prior to tutorials complements and extends lecture content. Self-directed learning activities and lecture content will be applied in tutorials, practical sessions and workshops using case studies, role play and experiential learning. Tutorials are interactive, and students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities, demonstrating respect for each individual as an independent learner. Learning activities have been designed to develop practical skills in assessment, goal setting, intervention planning, outcome measurement and verbal and written reporting, , outcome measurement and verbal and written reporting. Learning and Teaching approaches included in this unit were developed in collaboration with First Peoples’ Cultural Advisors.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.  The assessments have been designed to develop written and oral presentation skills and to enable demonstration of assessment, goal setting, intervention planning and professional reasoning that is evidence based. Assessment approaches in this unit have been developed in collaboration with First Peoples’ Cultural Advisors. The 3 main assessment pieces are designed to develop skills that lead to applying sound professional reasoning for working with children and families.

Assessment 1 focuses on acquiring and assimilating information through interpretation of observations of children and assessment results, and reporting , this information for a child with a disability. This will be completed in a group where students are required to work collaboratively and will enable development of professional reasoning in interpreting observations.

Assessment 2 is an individual assignment where students will develop an intervention plan for a child with a disability. The student will draw on information and assessment material provided in a case study, research evidence and professional reasoning. This will enable students to apply their understanding of available evidence and apply professional reasoning tin developing an intervention plan.

Assessment 3 is an oral (viva) examination that will require students to verbally explain and rationalise an evidence-based intervention plan prepared for a child and family. This individual assessment is authentic to paediatric occupational therapy practice where students will be required to justify and explain professional reasoning to supervisors, team members, and children and families.

Hurdle: Paediatric simulation – participation in the paediatric simulated practical will develop skills in interprofessional practice and working with infants and families.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assignment 1: Group Written Assignment - Assessment and Reporting

This assignment enables students to work collaboratively to demonstrate assessment and reporting of information for a child with a disability 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Assignment 2: Written Individual Assignment - Intervention Programme

Enables students to develop an intervention plan for a child with a disability based on evidence and professional reasoning 


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA4, GA9

Assessment 3: Examination - Oral

Students will be assessed on their understanding, selection and knowledge of how to implement an occupational therapy intervention for a child/youth and family.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9


Following participation in the paediatric simulation workshops, students will demonstrate an understanding of interprofessional skills in assessment of a child and planning a coaching intervention for a parent


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Rodger, S., & Kennedy-Behr, A. (2017). Occupation-centred practice with children: A practical guide for occupational therapists. Wiley-Blackwell.

Dawson, D. R., McEwen, S. E., & Polatajko, H. J. (Eds.). (2017). Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance in occupational therapy. AOTA Press.

Dodd, K., Imms, C., & Taylor, N. (2010). Physiotherapy and occupational therapy for people with cerebral palsy: A problem based approach to assessment and management. Mac Keith Press.

Imms, C., & Green, D. (2020). Participation. Optimising outcomes in childhood-onset neurodisability. McKeith Press.

Kramer, P., & Hinojosa, J. (2019). Frames of reference for pediatric occupational therapists (4th ed.). Walters Kluwer, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

O’Brien, J., & Kuhaneck, H. (2020). Case-Smith’s occupational therapy for children and adolescents (8th ed.). Mosby Elsevier

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