My iPad and my MacBook Pro against a grey background my iPad shows the PEOP model as part of a book and my laptop shows part of this blog but its cropped.
Occupational Therapy Student

Applying the PEOP Model to Placement as a Disabled Occupational Therapy Student

As a disabled student, I find placement really challenging, and I’ve highlighted this a lot on my blog.

There’s a lot of planning that goes on behind the scenes, as every single factor has to be thought about. To give you an idea of what a placement looks like for me, I thought that I would apply this to the Person- Environment- Occupational Performance model.

Side note- I wrote this blog a few months ago, and it needed to be formal so I could get my point across, which we all know is not my style. Don’t worry I’m sure my next post will be as chatty as ever!

About the Model:

The model highlights how people’s performance and engagements in occupations can improve quality of life and discusses how these occupations connect a person’s occupational performance to the environment promoting wellbeing (Duncan, 2011).

I can make sense of this, as when I’m on placement I have adaptions to help me achieve my goals, in that particular environment. For example, I have to use a laptop to make notes, and by having my laptop I can do what I need to do in the office (which is currently my kitchen) enabling me to feel part of the team. This is because I can engage more and get more out of my placement experience due to having my laptop giving me a sense of accomplishment.

The PEOP model discussed intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external) factors (Duncan, 2011).

Intrinsic Factors:

Motivation and personality, play big roles in any walk of life but as a disabled individual, it’s particularly important on placement to get what you need.

I always make it clear at the pre-placement meeting that I have an idea of what I think I may need as I’ll never know for sure because I’ve never worked in that environment.

It’s taken me a while on placements to establish my true needs as I have been known to hold back and don’t tell my educator all my needs. This affects how I work, as my needs impact on my ability to meet the competencies and therefore need to be disclosed. A middle ground needs to be established to allow the disabled student to feel comfortable and not feel bad for disclosing their needs (if they need to).

Sleep influences anyone’s placement experiences but for myself, with my physical needs, a good nights sleep is a must to be able to function on placement. For example, if I am low on energy due to feeling more fatigued or under the weather, then I won’t have a very productive day on placement.

This is why my virtual placement worked so well, as I was working from home at my own pace and I could sleep in later which made my day on placement go a lot smoother.

Extrinsic Factors:

Social economics is a big one for me (well it was pre COVID and pre passing my driving test of course- not that I’ve done much driving, but that’s another story) and it’s not necessarily the money that’s the problem; it’s the logistics.

I had to pay for transport taxis and then claim it back through Disabled Students Allowance, so I’d just be paying a standard bus journey. But, claiming it back was not easy as I had to email all my receipts electronically, I don’t miss the hours that my Dad and I (oh yes, it needed 2 people and 2 people who don’t might doing maths might I add) spent at the computer doing this. On my last face-to-face placement I just paid the standard bus journey this made things so much easier but putting this into place took quite a lot of doing between myself, university, the taxi company and Student Finance England.

The built environment goes without saying, it must be accessible for me which is another reason why virtual placements are my buddies. However, in previous placements, I have been very lucky and haven’t needed my wheelchair, but it still has to be accessible because walking up and down multiple flights of stairs a day would tire me out (Thinking about it this is more or less why I’ve not needed my chair before anyway- the powerful reflections of blogging lol).

I was meant to do a placement on a ward in 2019 however I couldn’t as the ward I was put on would have been too physically demanding.

Lastly, we come to technology which is a big factor in ensuring that I get the best placement experience, for example, I need a laptop as previously mentioned because I struggle to handwrite. Over the years I’ve also be known to need a communication aid as discussed in my AAC post. If I didn’t have the technology that I need on placement then my final report would be a very different story.

These are a few examples of what I need to engage in my occupations and the environment on placement. Sometimes my occupational performance can be improved which certainly has a positive effect on my overall wellbeing.

I hope this structure works as it’s something that I have been wanting to do a while on my blog- this post has been sat in my drafts for a few months now!

Sorry for the long read it really was too boring before so I had to put some more of my GV sparkle (if you want to call it that, please do, lol) into it.

Please let me know your thoughts and if you would like more post like this in the comments.

Thank you for reading, 


References (APA):

Duncan, E. (2011). Foundation for practice in occupational therapy. (5th ed.). [Online.] Retrieved from

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