Huge potential?huge gaps : service provider perspectives of emerging adults’ experiences relating to the National Disability Insurance Scheme and implications for occupational therapists
Introduction: Emerging adulthood is a period of development between the ages of 18 and 29. This critical life-stage between adolescence and adulthood is marked by exploration of life pathways and movement away from dependency towards self-reliance. Emerging adults living with disability hold similar aspirations to peers without disability, yet disproportionately experience social, economic and educational participation barriers. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) represents a profound change for service delivery in Australia, and hopes to address such barriers and facilitate positive outcomes for people with disability. Despite the magnitude of the reform, there is a paucity of research examining challenges and opportunities presented by the NDIS for this population group. Objectives: This study aimed to explore the views of New South Wales (NSW) service providers, including occupational therapists, pertaining to the NDIS transition experiences of emerging adults. Methods: Qualitative data was collected through open-ended electronic surveys completed by 38 service providers, from various disciplines, who were recruited via purposive and snowball sampling. Data was analysed using the six-phases of thematic analysis. Results: A global theme identified as “huge gaps-huge potential” was underpinned by the interaction of three organising themes: “opened doors”; “fallen between the cracks”; and “a long way to go”. Findings demonstrated an unequal mix of positive experiences and challenges for NSW emerging adults around the NDIS. The predominance of difficult experiences emphasises a need for system improvements. However, providers remain optimistic that with scheme maturation a better life can be achieved for emerging adults with disability. Conclusion: This study contributes new knowledge to the evidence base surrounding the NDIS and highlights recommendations for research, policy, education and practice that may facilitate optimal outcomes for emerging adults with disability. Implications for allied health professionals, including occupational therapists, are discussed.
SOURCE: Sharp, N. L., Casey, M., Bye, R. A., & Liu, K. P. Y. (2019). Huge potential?huge gaps : service provider perspectives of emerging adults’ experiences relating to the National Disability Insurance Scheme and implications for occupational therapists. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, Vol. 66, Suppl. 1: Occupational Therapy Australia 28Th National Conference And Exhibition, 10-12 July 2019, International Convention Centre, Sydney, 39-39.
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