An Insider’s Guide To NDIS Occupational Therapy Assessments

An Insider’s Guide To NDIS Occupational Therapy Assessments

David Norris Occupational Therapist with company logo for Occupational Therapy Brisbane

In this article, we will take a closer look at the NDIS occupational therapy assessment process and help you understand the different types of assessments available, how to prepare for them, and what to expect.

An NDIS Occupational Therapist shares their insights so you can get the most out of an assessment for your goals. 

In this article you'll learn:
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    By the end of this article, you’ll have the insider’s knowledge of the NDIS OT Assessment so you can get the right support you need to unlock your full potential.

    The NDIS and OT assessments

    The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a government-funded program that provides support to individuals living with a disability.

    One of the key components of the NDIS is the ability to access NDIS occupational therapy services, which can help individuals with disabilities to achieve their goals and live more independently. However, for many individuals and their families, the process of accessing these services can be confusing and overwhelming.

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    Discover the benefits of an NDIS Occupational Therapy Assessment

    An NDIS occupational therapy assessment is an evaluation of an individual’s abilities and needs in relation to their everyday life.

    This assessment is used to identify areas of difficulty, strengths and goals and develop a plan to support the individual to participate in their daily life and achieve their goals. Occupational therapy assessments can include a wide range of activities, from self-care to leisure and work-related tasks.

    The benefits of an NDIS occupational therapy assessment are numerous.

    • For individuals with disabilities, an assessment can help identify areas of difficulty and develop strategies to overcome them.
    • For families and caregivers, an assessment can provide insight into the individual’s needs and how to best support them.
    • And for the NDIS support coordination and NDIA delegates, an assessment can help to ensure that funding is directed to the areas of greatest need for the participant. 

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    OT assessment preparation tips 

    Preparing for an NDIS occupational therapy assessment can seem daunting, but with a little bit of planning, it can be a smooth and stress-free process. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare for your assessment:

    • Gather any relevant medical information: This may include medical reports, therapy notes, and any other documentation related to your condition.
    • Think about your goals: Before your assessment, take some time to think about what you would like to achieve through occupational therapy.
    • List your current frustrations, limitations and barriers about your current services or plan that you’d like to resolve.
    • Write down your questions: It’s important to have a clear understanding of the assessment process and what to expect, so make sure to write down any questions you may have and bring them with you to your assessment.

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    Empower yourself: Understanding the different types of occupational therapy assessments

    There are several different types of occupational therapy assessments that can be conducted under the NDIS, each with its own unique focus. Some of the most common types of assessments include:

    • NDIS Access Assessment: This assessment is used to determine whether an individual is eligible for NDIS support.
    • Functional Capacity Assessment: This assessment is used to evaluate an individual’s abilities in relation to their daily living activities and identify areas of difficulty, strength and opportunity. Commonly this will involve the use of standardised assessments as well as observation and interviews.
    • OT Assessment: No doubt a generic assessment which can have broad application. From minor grab rail assessment to complex home modifications assessment, life skills, cognitive assessment to driving assessment, mobility assessment, seating assessments, specialised equipment assessment, assistive technology, you’d agree – it’s a broad statement. Some other applications could also be to evaluate an individual’s abilities in relation to specific tasks, such as self-care, leisure, and work-related activities.
    • An initial assessment will be the first clinical assessment that a therapist will complete with you when you first meet them. Our services are committed to working with adults living with neurological conditions and we’ve designed our initial assessment across 2 sessions.
    • Assessment times will vary depending on the assessment process as well as the purpose and objective of the assessment, such as the length of the report. Assessment and documentation for minor assistive technology for an experienced clinical will be commonly less than 2hrs. Where as, a detail and complex assessments with comprehensive reports may take as much as 20hrs of effort or more.

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    What’s the key differences between access and functional capacity assessments

    While both the NDIS Access Assessment and Functional Capacity Assessment are used to evaluate an individual’s abilities and needs, they have different focuses.

    An NDIS Access Assessment is used to determine whether an individual is eligible for NDIS support. It will assess an individual’s level of disability and need for support and provide clear evidence to support your NDIS access request.

    Functional Capacity Assessment, on the other hand, is used to evaluate an individual’s abilities in relation to their daily activities and identify areas of difficulty. This assessment will look at an individual’s strengths and goals, and will be used to develop a plan, refine a plan, or support a change of circumstance and need.

    Here’s what to expect during an NDIS OT functional assessment

    An NDIS OT functional assessment is a detailed evaluation of an individual’s abilities in relation to specific tasks, such as self-care, leisure, and work-related activities.

    During the assessment, an occupational therapist will observe:

    • The individual completing a range of tasks,
    • May also use assessments tools such as questionnaires and standardized assessments. We regularly use a suite of tools to help gather information specific to your situation.
    • The therapist will also talk to the individual and their family/caregivers to gather information about the individual’s abilities, goals, and needs.
    • Sometimes the output of the assessment is a report which comprehensively details your current functional capacity and provide recommendations for core and therapeutic support, capital, assistive equipment and consumables and allied health with a focus on capacity building.

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    So, when is the right time to get an OT functional assessment

    The right time to get an OT functional assessment will depend on your needs and goals.

    For some individuals, it may be appropriate to have an assessment at the beginning of their NDIS journey, while for others, it may be more appropriate to have an assessment later on or based on when their condition, symptoms and experience of disability changes.

    Working with people who live with neurological condition, we’ve seen the curve ball that life throws at people and how this can dramatically impact a person’s level of independence. No doubt, the timing of these events will rarely line up with a plan review which can add a further stressors to lives.


    1. Difficulty with daily activities such as self-care, leisure, and work-related tasks
    2. Difficulty achieving NDIS goals
    3. Changes in the individual’s condition or support needs
    4. A desire to access new types of support or equipment especially at a plan review

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    Simplifying the process: Do you need a doctor’s referral for an NDIS OT assessment?

    A doctor’s referral is not required for an OT assessment. However, we’ll admit that it’s of great benefit to have an up to date medical summary. It means we can spend more energy on understanding you not so much your health conditions.

    Your NDIS OT will typically accept referrals from a range of sources, including self-referral, family/caregivers, and service providers. However, it’s always best to check your occupational therapist to confirm the specific requirements for your assessment.

    David Norris Occupational Therapist with company logo for Occupational Therapy Brisbane

    Get expert support for your NDIS journey

    At Occupational Therapy Brisbane, we understand the importance of comprehensive, expert support for individuals living with disabilities. Our team of experienced occupational therapists specializes in providing NDIS occupational therapy services to adults living with neurological conditions.

    Through our comprehensive assessment process, we can help you understand your needs, develop a personalized plan, and access the support you need to achieve your goals. We’re committed to providing the highest level of service and support, and we are dedicated to helping you unlock your full potential.

    Don’t let confusion and uncertainty hold you back.
    Contact Occupational Therapy Brisbane today at 1300 783 200 to schedule your NDIS occupational therapy assessment and start on the path to achieving your goals. 

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