Get to know Lauren:
Why did you start Optimal Living Therapy?
I’ve always loved meeting and working with new people, whether they were colleagues or clients , and not long into my career as an OT I knew the best way I could support the clients I worked with was from a company that I wholeheartedly knew, put clients first. I also wanted to work as an OT in residential and community building space, to be able to influence better design for people with significant access needs, so the environment wasn’t a constraint to them living their life. At the time there weren’t really any options for me to work in that space, so I started working for myself. Since our inception we’ve continued to engage likeminded OTs, who love working with clients in the community, love being OT’s and who are fierce advocates for the work we do.
What is your day-to-day role in the company?
As the Founding Director of OLT I wear a few hats, my primary role is to provide the foundation and environment our team needs to provide excellent therapy supports to our clients, a big part of this is keeping on top of the ever-evolving nature of the NDIS and ensuring our team have the access they need to clinical support. Clinically, I primarily provide support in complex home modifications, SDA eligibility assessments and consultation regarding Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). SDA is an area I’m passionate about supporting clients in and educating industry peers on – this is why I’ve recently launched an online course called OTuition that aims to empower OTs with well-researched education and helpful frameworks to raise the quality of outcomes for clients.
What is the best part of your job?
As an OT, I enjoy being able to engage with a diverse range of people and companies – all of whom are working together to serve the same purpose and achieve the same goals. As the Founder of Optimal Therapy, the best part of my job is building a team that can sustainably provide OT services in an adaptable, agile and responsive way to what the market is demanding of us, and being in control of how we do that. Working in the NDIS hasn’t been an easy ride and it isn’t for the faint hearted, but at its core it’s a world first/world class scheme that can support people with disability to live their version of their life, not the life someone else has decided for them.
What do you consider your specialty area?
Specialist Disability Accommodation is my area of expertise and passion, but I have a love for everything to do with function and access in building and design. I am a consultant for disability accommodation projects, both predating SDA and since SDA emerged. I believe as OT’s working with the clients who are going to be the intended users of SDA homes, we are well placed to provide input on the functional design/layout of homes and provide input on technological inclusions that would improve independence. Being able to bridge the gap between what participants want and need in SDA, and SDA providers seeking to build fit for purpose homes is a really rewarding mission.