A Guide to Transdisciplinary Practice



You may have heard the term “transdisciplinary practice” in relation to disability support but what is transdisciplinary practice and what is involved? Transdisciplinary practice involves professionals from different disciplines or areas of expertise coming together to integrate the support that they provide.

What is transdisciplinary practice?

For children with disability, transdisciplinary practice is a way of working to achieve better integration of services and collaboration between professionals where different disciplines work together to improve the outcomes for each child.

Is transdisciplinary practice different to multidisciplinary practice?

Yes. Both terms are used to describe the professional relationships between the people that support your child however transdisciplinary practice is different from “multidisciplinary” practice, because it features a greater degree of collaboration. In transdisciplinary practice, families are always an essential part of the team as they bring valuable knowledge and expertise about their child.

What services are involved in transdisciplinary practice?

Some of the services that might be involved in a transdisciplinary approach to provide better outcomes for a child with disability may include but is not limited to:

  • occupational therapy
  • speech therapy
  • physiotherapy
  • early childhood education and care (ECEC)
  • early childhood development
  • specialist early intervention
  • psychology

What does transdisciplinary practice look like?

At Xavier a transdisciplinary approach means that our allied health professionals will work with the family and, where appropriate, with input from other stakeholders such as childcare, school, medical professionals, to set appropriate goals and plan how therapy supports will be delivered.

We may allocate one therapist to work in a transdisciplinary way, if this is appropriate. This means that one therapist will also work on another therapist’s intervention program with your child. For example, while working with a child to develop speech, the Speech Pathologist may play games that also work on the Occupational Therapist’s goal of developing fine motor skills.

Our allied health team will meet with the family at agreed times to discuss progress and make any changes to the Support Plan if required. The therapist who is providing transdisciplinary support will at times need to refer the child back to other disciplines to update their programs and goals for the child.

When is a transdisciplinary approach not appropriate?

In some circumstances a transdisciplinary approach is not the right approach, each child’s situation is different. Some examples of where a transdisciplinary approach may not be suitable are:

  • Where your child with disability has needs that require specific skills and knowledge that can’t be generalised to other therapists (e.g. equipment prescription, very complex and specific needs)
  • Where the therapy support needs are out of scope for a specific discipline
  • Where an allied health professional does not have the knowledge or experience required, or cannot access advice, support and/or training of other disciplines

Find out more

Our Allied Health team are here to help if you’d like to talk about a transdisciplinary approach for your child. Simply call us on 1800 XAVIER or email