Tanisha Cowell

Senior SDA Assessor
SDA Consulting

Presentation Topic

Beyond the Basics – A ‘Best-Practice’ Approach to SDA Design
Joint presentation with Kate Cowburn

How does your SDA stand out from the rest? You have met the minimum requirements, and your Certified SDA is ready to welcome NDIS participants and their support staff. But have you thought about how your property will appeal to potential participants and staff?

As more and more SDA’s are being developed and hitting the market it is more important than ever SDA dwellings offer participants and support staff more than just the minimum. As a market driven model, the choice and control is with the participants to make decisions about where they live based on their individual needs, goals and desires.

This presentation aims to offer a best practice approach to designing SDA, a perspective which, when considered from the outset, will create a home that SDA participants will enjoy living in, friends and family will love visiting, and SIL providers will thrive working in. It focuses on the value of going above and beyond the minimum requirements of the SDA Design Standard to create homes that are more functional and desirable for participants, whilst also enhancing their support systems and sense of wellbeing.

The SDA Design Supplement covers elements that build on the SDA Design Standard minimum requirements with an emphasis on ways in which to improve occupation for participants not only in day-to-day activities, but also through improved access, engagement and participation within the local community.

Through adopting a best practice approach to SDA design, investors can also be more confident that their SDA dwellings will attract more interest from SDA participants, leading to lower vacancy rates.

The information presented draws upon evidence-based practice and Universal Design Principals to provide a comprehensive view of features that are effective and beneficial to SDA participants and support staff.

Small details can make big changes in the way people experience Specialist Disability Accommodation. We’re aiming to pave the way for future SDA homes that enhance participation, support and wellbeing and provide more functional and desirable housing options for SDA participants.


Tanisha has 5 years of direct experience working with individuals with disability, and more recent indirect experience working in disability access.

Her knowledge of the intertwined influence of the person, their environment and the activities conducted therein through occupational therapy theory and principles, allows for an in-depth understanding of the importance of businesses to provide accessible built environments and adhere to their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act.


  • Accredited Livable Housing Assessor, Registration Number: 20127
  • Completed SDA Assessor Course, (exam passed, Accreditation pending)
  • Associate Disability Access Consultant | Association of Consultants in Access Australia Inc. (ACAA) MN 527
  • Certificate III Health Services Assistance
  • Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)
  • Work Safely in the Construction Industry (White Card)
  • AHPRA Registration No: OCC0002093504
  • Director of Centre for Universal Design Australia
  • Multi-Sensory Environment Training


Phone: 1300 994 890 | (03) 9001 5805
Email: tanisha@equalaccessgroup.com.au
Website: sdaconsulting.com.au

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