Otago Polytechnic
IDEA services artwork pieces v2

Meaningful occupation

Occupational Therapy students are helping adults with intellectual disabilities to engage in the community.

IDEA Services supports adults of all ages with intellectual disabilities to live in their own homes and live satisfying lives in the community. Our Occupational Therapy students have partnered with the Dunedin area office of IDEA Services on three different projects to help achieve the second of these goals.

One team of students organised an art exhibition, accompanied by a silent auction. The exhibition, held in the Hub at Otago Polytechnic, provided an opportunity to break down the stigma of intellectual disability by showcasing their artistic talents. The students also created an opportunity for the artists with intellectual disability to build professional relationships by meeting postgraduate students from the Dunedin School of Art to discuss their work. The silent auction resulted in the sale of 23 of the artworks, providing not just a financial benefit for the artists but also a boost in their self-esteem and confidence.

Another team of students arranged a wearable arts fashion show for members of Switch and Artspace but in all the excitement a number of other vocational day bases jumped on board. Switch caters especially for younger adults with intellectual disabilities. The goal was to create an opportunity for community participation through creativity and collaboration. People worked in groups or individually to create their outfits, which one group member then modelled at the fashion show. The project also included collaboration with the fashion school at Otago Polytechnic, with fashion students also designing and modelling their own garments. Twenty-three models with intellectual disabilities modelled to their choice of music, and an audience of more than 100 attended the fashion show.

And the third team organised an inter-service sports day, at the Edgar Centre. The students adapted a range of sports to enable people of all levels of physical ability to participate and enjoy success. Specialised equipment was kindly provided by Halberg Trust and Sport Otago. A total of about 60 people participated in the sports day, from at least two different agencies, providing valuable social and competitive experiences as well as healthy physical activities.