What is Specialist Disability Accommodation?

The purpose of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) under the NDIS is to provide housing for people with very high support needs, typically those with physical and/or intellectual disabilities who require varying levels of support.

Prior to being eligible for SDA, NDIS participants are assessed by an Occupational Therapist, the purpose of the assessment is to determine if the supports are reasonable and necessary. If so, the NDIA will pay for the costs of their SDA.

SDA is compatible with many types of properties, including apartments, villas, duplexes, townhouses, houses group homes & shared homes.

Who Can Access Total Health’s SDA Services?

Total Health Physio primarily works with adult NDIS participants (over 18 years old) with a physical and/or neurological disability.

We are capable of supporting high and complex needs, however, during our initial discussions, we will establish if we are an appropriate provider.

Total Health Physio & SDA

Total Health Physio provides a range of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy services, these mainly consist of –

  • Physiotherapy sessions
  • Equipment prescription
  • Assessments – including Functional Capacity Assessments (FCA), Activities of Daily Living (ADL), Assistive Technology (AT) Assessments
  • Lodging funding requests to the NDIA
  • Report writing
  • Recommendations

Allied Health Services


Physiotherapists help participants with their physical needs within SDAs. They work collaboratively with Occupational Therapists to help the participant achieve functional goals.

Physiotherapists assess the environment and identify deficits in their function that may be improved through rehabilitation and therapy sessions.

Occupational Therapy

Our Occupational Therapists work with participants to address requirements in regards to functional capacity, equipment prescription, environmental changes and other support when moving to SDA type housing.

Basically, the goal is to allow participants to be able to live safely and independently within their homes in respect to their capacity.

Home Modifications

Typically, SDA housing is already well-equipped and caters for participants with complex needs, for example, wider doorways, ramps and wheelchair access is usually in place, however, there may still be something specific in that property that’s not suitable for the participant.

We perform home modification assessments of that environment to optimise it further to ensure the living arrangements are ideal. For example, our client may benefit from an added railing that was not previously there.

Participants Transitioning Into or Out Of SDA

Total Health Physio has experienced scenarios where we are supporting an NDIS participant transition into or out of SDA. When someone is moving into a new location, we are contacted to send an Occupational Therapist to assess the new property.

We provide the necessary guidance to make the transition as seamless as possible, and ensure that the accommodation is set up to meet the participant’s needs to allow the maximum independence. Our Occupational Therapist may perform a joint access visit with the participant, and walk through the property together, this is to discover small thresholds (i.e. needing a rail on a door).

Our Therapists help participants to build skills in a new environment and monitor any modifications or equipment requirements during the transition, or as long as our input is required.

Ready to work with Total Health Physio?

We are a team of caring Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists that are proud to serve the NDIS community.

  • We have worked in Melbourne for nearly a decade
  • We ensure our work adheres to Australian & NDIS standards
  • We are reliable, transparent and professional
  • We recruit brilliant clinicians and invest in ongoing education

Please feel free to contact us here.

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  • What assessments are conducted for SDA environments?

    There are many possible assessments that can be conducted in SDA environments, depending on the participant, their status, goals and purpose of contacting us.

    Typically, an Occupational Therapist will visit the residence prior to the participant moving in, this is to ensure that the property is safe to access and allows the participant to live as independently as possible in an optimally set up environment. In most cases, an NDIS support coordinator will identify appropriate accommodation and schedule the necessary assessments in advance.

    There are also ongoing assessments after the participant has moved in. The primary assessments Total Health performs are:

    • Functional capacity
    • Support needs
    • Assistive Technology
    • Home modifications


    We will always conduct an assessment that is appropriate for that person.

    For a participant with primarily physical disabilities, we may complete a physical assessment – looking at their motor patterns, strength, balance and so on.

    Conversely, if we are treating a participant with primarily intellectual and learning disabilities, our assessment and recommendations would be different.

    As an example, for someone severely impacted by the way they process sensory information, the OT would approach the assessment differently and may make the recommendation ‘the participant needs to live in a quiet environment with a maximum of two people, they cannot live with someone who is prone to emotional outbursts, there should be a quiet room for them to feel safe, otherwise, there is a risk of sensory overload’.

  • How do NDIS goals relate to SDA environments?

    Because someone is living in an SDA environment, does not mean their goals are SDA specific.

    In other words, the process for setting goals with SDA participants is identical to setting goals with regular NDIS participants.

    The overarching purpose of the NDIS is for participants to achieve safe living, have the ability to build capacity, access their community, and to reach a reasonable and necessary level of life and independence.

    As such, participants are encouraged to identify their personal short-term and long-term functional goals, which are listed in the NDIS service agreement.

    For example, a participant may have a range of goals, such as being able to grip cutlery to independently feed oneself, as well as developing the dexterity to play piano. Goals can also be quantified and specific such as “I want to be able to walk 200 metres around my block”.

    NDIS participants should be honest about their beliefs and expectations of engaging Total Health Physio, as setting realistic, mutual goals typically helps with motivation towards them.

  • How is daily functional capacity measured?

    Functional Capacity Assessments refers to an individual’s capability under controlled conditions to perform tasks and activities that are necessary or desirable in their lives. So, the measurement of functional capacity is specific to different roles or tasks for that individual.

    Total Health Physio performs an initial assessment that consists of a list of daily tasks. These may include:

    • Sitting to standing
    • Getting out of bed
    • Accessing the bathroom
    • Cooking and cleaning


    A Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist will write comments within the report using their clinical judgement. Additionally, outcome measures may be used, which can be reassessed periodically to see if the participant is making improvements to those functional tasks.

    A common outcome measure used in the SDA context is WHODAS – a questionnaire to assess cognition, mobility, self-care, getting along– interacting with other people, life activities & participation.

    Review dates are stipulated in the NDIS plan.

  • What is the average engagement length between an SDA NDIS Participant and Total Health Physio?

    It is variable.

    Each participant’s requirements vary and we cater our service and the frequency of service to the participant. This information is gathered and stipulated during the initial consultation. The variables include review periods, equipment trials, and so forth.