Occupational Therapy in South Australia
David Lister is an Occupational Therapist based in South Australia. He supports people who have disability, illness or injury in their family roles, social participation, play and learning as well as everyday eating, sleeping and self-care activities. To a greater extent, he offers strategies to support their mental health, adapts environments to be safer for his clients to live in and supports parents and carers to be better attuned to the people they care for.
As an experienced Occupational Therapist, David believes that everyone should be made to feel safe, have opportunities to do the things that are important to them and be able to participate with people who are important to them.
“We support people to do things that are important to them (occupations)”
Seizing the opportunity
On one occasion, three of David’s client’s expressed interest in participating in the role play game “Dungeons and Dragons”. David knew this was a great opportunity because his adolescent clients were expressing their interest in a social activity and they all had NDIS goals to increase their social and community participation. It was also a “light bulb” moment for Dave who had fortuitously read through a number of articles from Dr Kristie Patten Koenig, an Occupational Therapist from The University of New York who has emerging evidence on the role of special interest groups in adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Let the quest begin
Prior to the commencement of the game, David played a simpler version with each participant during their 1:1 therapy sessions to familiarise them with the basic rules of the game and how it’s played.
David organised and held a series of three hour sessions where each of the participants were given a character with special abilities. The characters had to work together to complete one objective: retrieving a stolen magic item and returning it to its rightful owner, who had set them on this quest. Of the three participants, only one of them had played a role play game in the past, and because they were relatively new to this type of social setting, the room was filled with nerves, excitement and anticipation.
All of them took to the game extremely well and assumed roles of hosting and providing food to each other during the game sessions at our Benevolent Society office.
A character designed and drawn by one of the games participants
A mission well accomplished
“Connecting with other people was great. I made a new friend!”
It was in the following days when the positive feedback came pouring in that David knew the games days were a success. “Connecting with other people was great. I made a new friend!” said one of his clients. One client who has challenges who has challenges to motivate themselves to get up in the morning said: “It felt like a way I could do something that took effort and energy without leaving me feeling terrible at the end. Usually when I have to put effort in I don’t. Dungeons and Dragons isn’t easy but it’s in inherently fun.”
Six months on from the games day and two of the participants are still playing role play games together on a regular basis. One of them has even created a group to play with, helping them to learn and guiding them through the game by describing her character and the story, which ultimately met her NDIS goals of independence and social participation. During their own time several participants drew artworks of their characters. This shows an engagement with a meaningful occupation for them.
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