Physical and Nutritional Health Supports


The Physical and Nutritional Health Supports eLearn is a single course consisting of three modules. This course teaches both direct support staff and clinicians such as occupational and physical therapists how to apply the principles of their crafts to those with IDD in a person-centered manner.

Person Centered Health Supports includes everything the person needs in their 24-hour a day life to prevent the consequences of disability or health changes. It is an approach to therapy and very much takes into account the life of the individual. She or he is at the center of each and every support. Each hour of every day is accounted for and supports put in place not just to keep the person safe, but to help her/him continue to grow and develop just as anyone else.

Course Outline:


Module Length: 51 Minutes

The first module, ‘An Orientation to Person Centered Health Supports’, covers the rock-bottom fundamentals of this subject. From an introduction to the principles and nature of supports themselves, to a brief discussion of the history of IDD services before launching into the subject of Person Centered Health Supports itself. After this module, you should be able to:

  • Know the definition of and how it applies in the context of serving those with intellectual and developmental disability.
  • Understand the basic development of a human being with a focus on developmental disabilities.
  • Understand the basics of Physical and Nutritional Supports.

Physical Supports

Module Length: 56 Minutes

The Physical Supports module covers the external and physically-based supports necessary throughout the 24-hour day to help maintain or increase the person’s function. These can vary anywhere from minor supports such as a weighted spoon to major supports like a specialized wheelchair. This module covers what those supports most commonly look like, how they are implemented for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and how to support those with these forms of tailored supports. After this module, you should be able to:

  • Know the basics of Physical Supports.
  • Describe the various types of Physical Supports.
  • Know the various types of positions used in Physical Supports.

Nutritional Supports

Module Length: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

Nutritional Supports is not so much related to what someone should eat but rather how to safely get what they eat into and out of the person’s stomach. Many people have difficulties with swallowing and stomach emptying. Nutritional Supports directly addresses these issues. The third and final module covers thoroughly the subject of eating and how to do it safely. It presents some of the many supports that are available to the clinician and support staff to achieve this purpose. Nutritional Supports is a massive subject in its own right. It all boils down to helping people to eat, not only safely, but with delight and enjoyment, same as anyone else.
After this module, you should be able to:

  • Know the basics of Nutritional Supports.
  • Know the safest positions for eating and swallowing.
  • Define the various textures and consistencies of food and liquid and when they are appropriate.

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