Occupational therapists do universal design

A graphic depicting aspects of rules, right and wrong, and tick boxes. Accessible built environment advisors and practitioners know that it is an uphill battle to get clients to go beyond compliance. However, that doesn’t mean giving up. Occupational therapists (OTs) are often involved in home modifications, but not often thought about in the public domain. They often hold key information about how our minds and bodies interact with the built environment. So OTs can sometimes bring new solutions to the table with universal design. 

Apeksha Gohil has devised a universal design guide for OTs. The aim of the guide is for OT practitioners to offer universal design solutions to enable full participation by all users. The guide is a three stage stepwise process to reach universal design solutions beyond compliance and prescriptive standards. 

Gohil agrees stakeholders are primarily interested in what is required by the law. However, it is important to create awareness about user participation and co-design a part of the design process. One of the aims of the guide is to create awareness about role of OTs in universal design and create best practice examples. 

The Universal Design Consultation Guide for Occupational Therapy Practitioners is structured as a step by step guide. It also serves as a learning tool because it is very detailed. 

The document is available on ResearchGate, or you can download directly as a PDF document

Dr Apeksha Gohil is currently based at Federation University, but wrote this guide while based at University of Illinois at Chicago.