Restrictive Practice Audit – A future Prescription by Ainsley Swankie

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Midland Team Leader Ainsley Swankie

Restrictive Practice Audit – A future Prescription

Interchange Team Leaders are carrying out a Restrictive Practice Audit to ensure we are ready and compliant with the NDIS. However, the bigger issue behind it is Human Rights. I dreaded the thought of being a part of the audit and was genuinely frightened of what I may come across. I was silly! I have really enjoyed connecting with other neighbourhoods and realised that, Interchange has been supporting people in the least restrictive way.

According to the NDIS:

Restrictive practice means any practice or intervention that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person with disability. Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Restrictive Practices and Behaviour Support) Rules 2018 certain restrictive practices are subject to regulation. These include seclusion, chemical restraint, mechanical restraint, physical restraint and environmental restraint.

During the audit, I have been asked many questions, some of which I had no answers to, and others were straightforward. I have learned a lot through questions, answers, opinions and feedback from our customers, guardians, support workers and other providers. I encourage everyone to keep asking questions, it opens our eyes to how you’re feeling about the change!

Did you know… that we will still stop a customer from stepping out into traffic because this is our duty of care and not a restrictive practice.  

We have all recently felt the effects of restrictive practice and perhaps this example may help you reflect and consider. COVID-19 has been a challenging time for us all and the biggest reason for it having such an impact is probably because we were restricted in many ways and I will just add, we were let off pretty lightly through the whole situation.

  • We were secluded, we stayed home and didn’t access the community unless we absolutely had to.
  • We were restricted when shopping to 1 packet of toilet roll, pasta and rice for e.g.
  • We couldn’t hug or visit our friends and had to socially distance.
  • We may have even been prescribed medication to assist with the anxiety surrounding these conditions.

Did you know – being told “you cannot participate because you were rude last time” is a psychosocial restraint, which is a completely prohibited restriction under the NDIS.

Although we went through this challenging time together, these restrictions were for our own, and the public’s safety. Imagine if these kinds of restrictions were in place all the time, every day, how would that make you feel? Would you feel empowered, independent or in control?

Did you know – Child lock on a car is considered a mechanical restrictive practice.

We are working together with you, your family, your guardian, your support workers and other industry professionals to ensure that if we are using a restrictive practice it’s registered and approved by an NDIS registered behaviour support practitioner. With the consent of the person we support, the practitioner will develop a behaviour support plan to ensure that the right strategies are in place, can be appropriately monitored and have a plan for eliminating the restrictions wherever possible.

If you feel as though a restrictive practice may be a part of your NDIS funded support time, you can contact your Team Leader and discuss what’s going on or you can contact the NDIS directly.

You can make a complaint about restrictive practices to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.


Support workers – If you feel that what you’re doing is restrictive or just doesn’t feel right, it may be because it is. Chat to your Team Leader about your concerns.

Please let us know if there is any other information we can provide you with around restrictive practices by emailing

By Ainsley Swankie