Skip to main content
Unit of study_

OCCP5208: Biomechanical and Sensorimotor Strategies

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Students will develop knowledge and skills required to provide occupational therapy for people whose occupational performance is compromised by biomechanical and sensory motor impairments. A variety of theoretical perspectives used to guide practice will be covered. Students will learn how to evaluate performance, design occupation-embedded therapy programs, clearly articulate the theoretical and evidence-based rationale for their programs, and select methods to evaluate outcomes from therapy.

Unit details and rules

Unit code OCCP5208
Academic unit Participation Sciences
Credit points 6
BIOS1168 or BIOS5090
Assumed knowledge

Musculoskeletal anatomy knowledge

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Bronwyn Simpson Simpson,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Skills-based evaluation hurdle task Skill demonstration and discussion
Skill demonstration and discussion of an assessment or intervention
40% Formal exam period
Due date: 26 Nov 2021 at 23:59
10 minutes (dates in week 15 TBA)
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3
Small continuous assessment Quizzes
Online quizzes
15% Please select a valid week from the list below 5 questions ea, Wk 2-4, 6-12, 23:59 Sat
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Discharge report
Written assessment
45% Week 12
Due date: 07 Nov 2021 at 23:59
2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

  • Quizzes: Ten online quizzes on lecture and tutorial content. Students must complete the quiz by the Saturday following the relevant lecture. Questions will be randomly assigned to each student from a question bank. Students must complete the quizzes individually.
  • Discharge report: Students will be provided with information about a case study client. Students are to imagine they are an occupational therapist who has just finished working with this client. Students to submit a discharge report outlining their input (using the template on Canvas).
  • Viva: Practical assessment of theory and practical skills taught during the lectures and tutorials. A selection of written case studies and the category of skill to be demonstrated will be provided to students 3 weeks before the Viva. Students will be randomly allocated one of these case studies at the commencement of the viva, and told the specific skill to be demonstrated. 100% tutorial attendance (or completion of make-up activities) required to sit Viva. A second attempt is permitted following a failed Viva, with a maximum score of 50%. Barrier/hurdle task: must be passed to pass the unit of study.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Unit overview; 2. Occupational performance: focused practice; 3. Movement analysis Online class (2 hr) LO1
Upper limb actions used during occupational performance Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 02 1. Biomechanical and sensorimotor impairments 2. Analysing impaired movement Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Analysing impaired movement Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 03 1. Goal setting; 2. Assessing range of motion Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assessing range of motion Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO4
Week 04 Assessing arm use, dexterity and strength Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assessing strength Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 05 Task-specific motor training Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Stroke - asynchronous module Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 06 Other interventions to address motor impairments Online class (2 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Motor training interventions Tutorial (2 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 07 Assessment and management of sensory impairment Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assessment and management of sensory impairment Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 08 Spinal cord injury - asynchronous module Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Orthopaedic conditions - asynchronous module Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 09 1. Orthotic intervention, 2. Guest speaker Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Orthotic intervention Tutorial (2 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 10 Compensatory/adaptive techniques and assistive technology Online class (2 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Orthotic intervention Tutorial (2 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 11 Progressive neurological conditions - asynchronous module Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Orthotic intervention Tutorial (2 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 12 1. Assessment and management of dysphagia, 2. Functional electrical stimulation Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Functional electrical stimulation, dysphagia Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 13 1. Cardiopulmonary conditions, 2. Conditions affecting muscle tone - asynchronous modules Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Extra practice session Tutorial (2 hr) LO4

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: OCCP5208 is one of the ‘toolbox’ units of study in which you will learn specific assessment and intervention methods. These methods may cause harm if administered incorrectly. While it may be possible to learn about these methods from reading the professional literature, skill development requires that you have an opportunity to practise under the supervision of an experienced professional. For this reason, you are required to attend ALL scheduled classes for the entirety of each session. Attendance includes participation in on-line tutorials. If unable to attend face-to-face you will be required to complete activities in lieu of attendance (and/or an on campus workshop). Failure to attend 100% of the scheduled tutorials without complying with these amendments for absence will result in a Fail grade. Attendance will be recorded at tutorials.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed on the Library eReserve link available in the Canvas site for this unit.

The key textbook (and requried reading) is Dirette, D. P., & Gutman, S. A. (2021). Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (Eighth edition.). Wolters Kluwer.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. identify and describe the major upper limb impairments that impact on occupational performance, and personal experience in adults and children
  • LO2. measure upper limb range of motion, strength, sensation, coordination, and arm/hand use using informal methods, structured observation, and standardised assessments
  • LO3. interpret assessment data, establish therapy aims, and set hypothetical occupational performance goals for selected case histories
  • LO4. identify, describe, and develop skill in applying methods used by occupational therapists to increase or preserve range of motion, strength, coordination, and endurance capacities that enable arm and hand use
  • LO5. demonstrate knowledge and skill in embedding upper limb strategy application training techniques within the performance of daily life occupations
  • LO6. articulate supporting rationales for therapy programs developed that take into consideration client preferences, critiques of evidence, and core theories
  • LO7. synthesise learning by developing and justifying occupational therapy programs for selected clients whose occupational performance is compromised by upper limb impairment.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
Australian occupational therapy competency standards 2018 -
Competency code Taught, Practiced or Assessed Competency standard
1.10 A Practises within limits of her/his own level of competence and expertise
1.13 A Manages resources, time and workload accountably and effectively
1.14 A Recognises and manages her/his own physical and mental health for safe, professional practice
1.17 A Recognises and manages any inherent power imbalance in relationships with clients.
1.8 A Adheres to all work health and safety, and quality requirements for practice
2.1 A Applies current and evidence-informed knowledge of occupational therapy and other appropriate and relevant theory in practice
2.2 A Applies theory and frameworks of occupation to professional practice and decision-making
2.3 A Identifies and applies best available evidence in professional practice and decision-making
2.9 A Maintains knowledge of relevant resources and technologies, and
3.1 A Addresses occupational performance and participation of clients, identifying the enablers and barriers to engagement
3.10 A Reviews, evaluates and modifies plans, goals and interventions with the client and relevant others to enhance or achieve client outcomes
3.11 A Evaluates client and service outcomes to inform future practice
3.12 A Uses effective collaborative, multidisciplinary and interprofessional approaches for decision-making and planning
3.13 A Uses appropriate assistive technology, devices and/or environmental modifications to achieve client occupational performance outcomes, and
3.2 A Performs appropriate information gathering and assessment when identifying a client’s status and functioning, strengths, occupational performance and goals
3.3 A Collaborates with the client and relevant others to determine the priorities and occupational therapy goals
3.4 A Develops a plan with the client and relevant others to meet identified occupational therapy goals
3.5 A Selects and implements culturally responsive and safe practice strategies to suit the occupational therapy goals and environment of the client
3.8 A Identifies and uses practice guidelines and protocols suitable to the practice setting or work environment
4.1 A Communicates openly, respectfully and effectively
4.11 A Identifies and articulates the rationale for practice to clients and relevant others.
4.2 A Adapts written, verbal and non-verbal communication appropriate to the client and practice context
4.7 A Obtains informed consent for practice and information-sharing from the client or legal guardian
4.9 A Uses effective communication skills to initiate and end relationships with clients and relevant others

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

The unit has been refined over the years. Changes in 2021 include additional time (and time estimates) given for the on-line modules, which students valued but reported took more time than anticipated. Some activities will be provided prior to tutorials to maximise opportunities for skill practice during the tutorials.

This unit of study may require you to attend a teaching activity timetabled in teaching venues installed with the University’s Clinical Recording and Observation System (CROS) in the Susan Wakil Health Building. Students should be aware of the privacy and information management implications of this system. For more information, please refer to the University’s Privacy Statement.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.