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Background Active support is being introduced in many residential and respite homes in an effort to improve engagement in meaningful activity of people with intellectual disability.

Method A train-the-trainer approach was used in a large government organisation that supports people with intellectual disability in Australia. Five apprentice trainers were trained to provide active support training to 65 staff associated with 6 group homes. These 5 trainers were then monitored to provide training to 54 staff in another 6 group homes. Staff evaluated their interactive training experiences, and pre and post outcome data were collected for a small number of service users from the second set of group homes, along with staff outcome data regarding residential working practices, group home management, and staffing practices.

Results The train-the-trainer model proved to be an effective strategy for training large numbers of staff. The interactive training component was particularly effective and was associated with improvements in service user engagement in domestic tasks and decreased depression levels. Staff job satisfaction increased and significant improvements were recorded in residential working practices.

Conclusions Active support training is an effective strategy for empowering staff to better support people with an intellectual disability to be meaningfully engaged in daily activities. There are implications for organisations related to ongoing implementation and practice improvement.


School of Education

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Journal Article

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