Centre for Disability Research and Policy

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Image artwork copyright Helen Cooke, an artist supported by Sunshine's Community Access Program Art Studio.

A better life for people with disabilities in Australia and around the world

Our centre aims to change the disadvantage that occurs for people with disabilities. We do this through addressing their social and economic participation in society, and their health and wellbeing. By focusing on data that demonstrates disadvantage, we can develop models of policy and practice to better enable support and opportunity for people with disabilities.

Symposium: End of Life and people with Intellectual Disability

12:30pm-5pm TUESDAY 23 AUGUST, The Epping Club, Sydney


End of Life Symposium

Jointly hosted by Sunshine and University of Sydney Centre for Disability Research and Policy

Date & Time: Tuesday 23rd August, 1-5 pm (registration from 12.30 pm)
Location: The Epping Club, 45-47 Rawson Street Epping NSW 2121
Cost: $70 (full registration); $35 (concession/ students)

This half-day symposium will feature presentations on end of life and people with intellectual disability from family members, consumers, service providers and researchers, including: Dying to Talk project investigator Professor Sue Read from Keele University in the United Kingdom.

In addition, parts of the Australian Writers Guild Award (AWGIE) winning DVD Dying to Talk: Community Living Staff Helping People with Intellectual Disability to Understand and Prepare for the End of Life will be screened.



Forum: The National Disability Insurance Scheme for people with brain injury - ensuring choice and control


9:30am - 4pm THURSDAY 25 AUGUST, Royal Rehab, Ryde, Sydney

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Brain Injury Australia and the University of Sydney’s Centre for Disability Research and Policy, in association with Royal Rehab, invite people with a brain injury, families, carers, service providers, researchers and policy makers to attend a forum on the National Disability Insurance Scheme for people with a brain injury.

The forum will explore opportunities for maximising their social and economic participation by building effective relationships with mainstream services including health, housing and employment. It will also investigate best practice goal-setting and planning for people with a brain injury.

  • Dr. Hans Reinders, Professor of Ethics and Mental Disability from the Free University of Amsterdam, will present findings from his research on person-centred planning for people with a brain injury.
  • Associate Professor Natasha Lannin from La Trobe University will report on her recent goals audit of Victoria's first purpose-built centre of excellence in brain injury rehabilitation, based at Caulfield Hospital.
  • The National Disability Insurance Agency will be represented by its Deputy CEO of Operations, Ian Maynard and Mary Hawkins, Director of Engagement for the Nepean and Blue Mountains Scheme expansion areas in New South Wales.
  • Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Director of the Centre for Disability Research and Policy from the University of Sydney, will lead a panel discussion bringing together lead players in the Scheme’s “trial sites” with those driving its nationwide roll out. Speakers include Kerry Stafford, the Executive Director of Acquired Brain Injury Services NSW.

Registration for the forum costs $90.00 (GST inclusive). A concessional rate of $55.00 is available for people with a disability, family members, carers and students. Morning tea and lunch will be provided.

The forum’s numbers are strictly limited, so register here early.

Latest Publications

Indigeneity and Disability

Twelve factors that can influence the participation of Aboriginal people in disability services

There is limited understanding of the views of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal workers about the factors that influence the participation of Aboriginal people in disability services. This inquiry identified and explored the factors that influence the participation of Aboriginal people in disability services, as described from the experiences of a sample of paid non-government disability service workers in New South Wales, Australia.

Schofield, T, Gilroy, J 2015, Indigeneity and health, A Sociological Approach to Health Determinants, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 99-122

Children, Family and Disability

Effects of ABRACADABRA Literacy Instruction on Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

This study explored the effects of ABRACADABRA, a free computer-assisted literacy program, on the reading accuracy and comprehension skills of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ABRACADABRA is a balanced literacy instruction program, targeting both code and meaning-based reading abilities. Twenty children with ASD, aged 5–11 years, were assigned by matched pairs to the instruction group or wait-list control group. Literacy instruction was delivered on a 1:1 basis in participants’ homes over a 13-week period (26 sessions per participant). Pre and post instruction assessment using standardized measures revealed statistically significant gains in reading accuracy and comprehension for the instruction group relative to the wait-list control group, with large effect sizes. These findings indicate that children with ASD may benefit from ABRACADABRA literacy instruction.

Benjamin Bailey, Joanne Arciuli, and Roger J. Stancliffe Journal of Educational Psychology, June 20, 2016

National Disability Insurance Scheme

In Search of an Integrative Measure of Functioning

Measurement of functioning and disability in the 21st century increasingly takes place in the context of complex relationships and interactions among people, communities, services and systems. One result of this complexity has been the development of a growing array of specialised measurement instruments, specific to purpose, health condition, setting or service provider. An alternative approach, particularly relevant for large national programs, is to seek or to develop an integrative, generic measure, relevant to diverse purposes and populations.
This paper examines Australian experience with two significant national programs – the NDIS and the Australian National Health Reform Agreement - and their unsuccessful search for a suitable measure of functioning. It goes on to set out the case for developing a generic, integrative measure of functioning (IMF), for use in rehabilitation, disability support, and related fields.

Madden, R.H.; Glozier, N.; Fortune, N.; Dyson, M.; Gilroy, J.; Bundy, A.; Llewellyn, G.; Salvador-Carulla, L.; Lukersmith, S.; Mpofu, E.; Madden, R. In Search of an Integrative Measure of Functioning. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 5815-5832.