Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


OTHY200 - Neuroscience, Neurodevelopment AND OTHY201 Social Determinants of First Peoples Health and Wellbeing AND OTHY202 - Ergonomics and Occupational Health and Safety AND OTHY203 - Occupational Therapy Interventions for Physical Conditions AND OTHY204 Occupational Participation and Disability AND OTHY205 Mental Health Recovery in Occupational Therapy 1 AND OTHY206 Upper Limb Orthoses and Rehabilitation AND OTHY207 Vocational Preparation and Rehabilitation

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit introduces students to the theories, principles and processes of Community–Centred Practice. These approaches are integral to improving community health, and the wellbeing, inclusion and participation of individuals and communities in both the local and international context and as such have great importance for future occupational therapists. The unit facilitates exploration of the fundamental components of Community–Centred Practice required for supporting communities to assess and identify occupational problems and needs, enabling them to partake in actions that enhance their occupational performance and participation. Local and international case examples are used to explore theories, principles and processes in practice and to highlight the challenges faced in community work. Students will engage with a community organisation/group throughout the unit to maximise their understanding and develop their skills in working with communities.

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

The overall aim of this unit is for students to understand and implement theories, principles and processes of community–centred practice.

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 - Apply knowledge about humans as occupational beings living in communities and engage in diverse communication processes with communities to plan for, articulate and justify effective, collaborative, community-centred services from an occupational perspective (GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8)

LO2 - HCF: 15.3 Develop strategies for redressing inequity in health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities (GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8)

LO3 - HCF: 13.3 Generate strategies for incorporating anti-racist and affirmative action approaches in health care practice (GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8)

LO4 -  Evaluate and advance a culturally appropriate and responsive occupation-focused project proposal to address an identified community need using the principles and processes of community-centred practice (GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8)

LO5 - Reflect on effective solutions to injustices and health inequalities that enable the participation and inclusion of people in community and that strive for human rights and occupational justice (GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8)

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

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

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

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

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 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 

1.11 maintains professional competence and adapts to change in practice contexts 

1.12 identifies and uses relevant professional and operational support and supervision 

1.13 manages resources, time and workload accountably and effectively 

1.15 addresses issues of occupational justice in practice

1.17 recognises and manages any inherent power imbalance in relationships with clients.


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 

2.5 maintains current knowledge for cultural responsiveness to all groups in the practice setting 

2.8 reflects on practice to inform current and future reasoning and decision-making and the integration of theory and evidence into practice 

2.9 maintains knowledge of relevant resources and technologies


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 

3.5 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 

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


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 

4.3 works ethically with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations to understand and incorporate relevant cultural protocols and communication strategies, with the aim of working to support self-governance in communities 

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 

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

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

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



Topics will include:

Community-Centred Practice for Occupational Therapy

  • Occupation-based community development (including CBR)
  • Community health promotion from an occupational perspective
  • Advocacy/social action (occupational rights and occupational justice)
  • Community education and capacity building
  • Environmental modification (social, physical, political) and planning/redesign
  • Natural disaster response and risk reduction 
  • Improving the well-being of communities
  • Occupational therapists as advocates and agents of change
  • Role of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists 

Community and Health

  • The concepts of community and community health
  • Social determinants of health
  • Applied to communities
  • In developed and developing communities
  • In Australia and internationally
  • Human rights and occupational justice

Barriers and Enablers of community participation and community health

  • Physical environment
  • Social environment
  • Attitudinal environment
  • Political and policy environment
  • Culture
  • Economic environment
  • Institutional/organisational environment

Principles and Processes of Community-Centred Practice 

  • What is community-centred practice 
  • Principles of community-centred practice 
  • Models of community-centred practice 
  • Role of occupational therapists in community-centred practice 
  • Community-centred practice program examples
  • Context and sites of community-centred practice 
  • Developing strategic partnerships
  • Building a community profile
  • Strategy, program and project development
  • Strategies for redressing inequity in health care for First Peoples
  • Strategies for incorporating anti-racist and affirmative action approaches in health care practice
  • Writing project proposals and securing funding/resources
  • Strategies and processes for implementation of community-based rehabilitation and development programs and projects
  • Monitoring and evaluation of projects
  • Challenges of working with communities

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of the fundamental knowledge and skills associated with community-centred practice. Teaching and learning strategies for this unit will include a combination of lectures, practical sessions and enquiry-based learning methods using complex scenarios. As adult learners, students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning and to participate actively within group activities. This learning strategy has been chosen for this unit as it enables students to refine their skills in using existing professional knowledge and skills, identifying their own further learning needs, and efficiently undertake new learning using self-directed means.

There are 10 professional practice hours additional to the core learning hours in this unit where students develop skills in leading participatory activities with a group and gain exposure to occupational therapists working in the field of community-centred practice. This approach allows for fundamental knowledge and skill development with support from academic staff and peers.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy allows students to progressively develop their knowledge and skills in community-centred practice. Students first demonstrate knowledge of the principles of community-centred practice by facilitating a participatory activity in response to a community need. In the second assessment task students consider effective community-level strategies for redressing inequity and racism experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities. In the final assessment task, students apply asset and strengths-based approaches to evaluate and advance a community project proposal designed to address an unmet need of a community group. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1: Group oral presentations: requires students to demonstrate their ability to verbally present a reasoned response/intervention plan related to issues contained in a community-centred practice scenario.

40% (group) 

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5

GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8

Assessment 2: Reflective Task: Requires students to reflect on inequity and racism experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in a community scenario and demonstrate application of appropriate knowledge and strategies needed to address inequity and racism.

30% (individual) 

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8

Assessment 3: Written report. Requires students to apply asset and strengths-based approaches to evaluate and advance a community project proposal designed to address an unmet need of a community group.

30% (group)

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5

GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8

Hurdle - Agreement of Contribution Form & record of contribution form 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA2, GA5, GA6, GA8

Representative texts and references

World Federation of Occupational Therapists. (2019). Position statement: Occupational therapy and community-centred practice. Retrieved from

World Federation of Occupational therapists. (2004). Position statement: Community-based rehabilitation. Retrieved from, N., Sakellariou, D., & Kronenberg, F. (Eds). (2008). Apolitical practice of occupational therapy. Edinburgh, UK; Elsevier.

Sakellariou, D., & Pollard, N. (2017). Occupational therapy without borders (2nd ed). London: Elsevier.

McKnight, J.L., & Kretzmann, J.P. (2005). Mapping community capacity. In M. Minkler (Ed.), Community organising and communitybuilding for health. New Jersey: Rutgers

Mikkelsen, B. (2005). Methods for development work and research: A new guide for practitioners (2nd ed.). Thousand Oakes,California: Sage Publications.

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