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.



Royal Commission Research Paper by CDRP released

Royal Commission research paper


The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released a research report written by CDRP’s Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Dr Sarah Wayland, and Ms Gabrielle Hindmarsh Disability and child sexual abuse in institutional context.

The report, which suggests that up to 14 per cent of children with disability are likely to experience sexual abuse, is available on the Royal Commission website. Disability and child sexual abuse in institutional context stresses the importance of future research to understand the interaction between a child’s age, gender, family and socio-economic circumstances and their family and community environments and their experience of abuse.




NDIS for people with brain injury forum - watch the presentations and download Themes here

forum photos
forum themes


A recent forum on The NDIS for People with brain injury: ensuring choice and control hosted by Brain Injury Australia and CDRP, in association with Royal Rehab and attended by people with a brain injury, families, carers, service providers, researchers and policy makers was a sold out success.

Due to the overwhelming interest in this Forum, the event was recorded. A Summary of Themes of the Forum that arose from the presentations and discussions throughout the day is also available for download.

Summary of Themes Download PDF

Summary of Themes Download WORD

ketnote choice and control

Video 1: Keynote - choice and control

Consumer perspective

Video 2: Consumer Perspective

client centred goal setting

Video 3: Client centred goal planning

NDIS Update

Video 4: NIDS Update

Panel discussion

Video 5: Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion Moderator: Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Director, CDRP
Panel: Kerry Stafford, Executive Director, Acquired Brain Injury Services NSW Rachael Alderton-Smith, Case Coordinator and Training Coordinator, Headstart ABI Services, Newcastle Vicki Lovegreen OAM, NDIS participant Ian Maynard, Deputy Chief Executive Officer - Operations, National Disability Insurance Agency Mary Hawkins, Director-Engagement, New South Wales Central, National Disability Insurance Agency





Featured on ReachOut.com website - CDRP Depressed Cake Stall

"...Where there is cake, there is hope. And there is always cake.”

cake stall

CDRPs Depressed Cake Stall, hosted by Stream Leaders Dr Michelle Villeneuve and Dr Jen Smith-Merry, has been featured on the ReachOut.com website as a great example of ways to raise awareness for mental health and raise money to keep their organisation running.

ReachOut.com provides specially targeted information to help any young person who visits the service. When they visit ReachOut.com, a young person will be guided to practical tools designed just for their needs, even when they don’t know what they’re looking for.



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.