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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.

Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Technical Reports

Indonesia Map

Our three latest Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Technical Reports for 2015 have now been published:

  • Mapping of organisations in Indonesia in disaster risk reduction (MOIDRR)
  • Capacity Building for Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction in Indonesia
  • Practitioner Guidelines for Capacity Building for Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction in Indonesia



Transition to Retirement Research Featured in AAIDD Newsletter


Professor Roger Stancliffe's Transition to Retirement research has recently been featured in the prestigious American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Newsletter.
CLICK HERE for more information.

End of Life for People with Intellectual Disabilities Seminar, 30 June 2015

Audience at End of Life Event

Adults with intellectual disability deserve information and support about end of life to help them understand and plan. The symposium featured Australian and UK researchers and practitioners who are currently working on end-of-life issues with people with intellectual disability. These are universal concerns that apply regardless of disability, so several speakers discussed end of life as experienced by members of the broader community. The symposium included reports on the findings of Part 1 of the Sydney-based 3-year research project, Dying to Talk. Details about speakers and an abstract of each talk are set out in the program.

Over 130 delegates attended the seminar. They included practitioners from government and non-government disability service providers, personnel from government agencies, as well as researchers and health professionals.

Comments from delegates included, “the seminar was high value and presented quality information”.


CLICK HERE to view a story about the project in the Sydney Alumni Magazine.

Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellow Tianxi Xu

Postdoc Fellow Joins CDRP

At the end of June, Dr Tianxi (Timothy) Xu joined the CDRP as an Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellow, researching transition to work services in the Australian context.

His areas of expertise include postsecondary transition and employment services for people with intellectual disability. He earned his Master’s degree in Special Education from Central China Normal University, and recently obtained his PhD degree from the University of Newcastle.

Tianxi is passionate about exploring effective transition practices and policies that could increase the chances of employment for people with intellectual disability. His previous research projects focused on employment and school-to-work transition services in China. He will be working with Professor Roger Stancliffe for the remainder of 2015 on his postdoctoral project.

The Integrated Mental Health Atlas of Western Sydney Launch, May

In May, Professor Luis Salvador-Carulla helped to launch the Integrated Mental Health Atlas of Western Sydney (funded by Western Sydney Partners in Recovery). The project aims at a comprehensive mapping of mental health services, programmes and supports available in regional, rural & remote areas through Commonwealth, state and territory and local governments, private and not-for-profit sectors. This research takes steps towards understanding how inequalities cluster in geographic areas, and how these relate to poorer mental health. READ MORE.

Development for All 2015 – 2020 Launch, 25 May

Development for All Launch

From left to right: Sophie Plumridge, Jhalak Sharma Sapkota, Hon Julie Bishop, MP, Ewen McDonald, Deputy Secretary, DFAT

Hon Julie Bishop, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs launched Development for All 2015 – 2020: Strategy for Strengthening Disability-inclusive Development in Australia’s Aid Program at Parliament House on Monday 25 May. Stakeholders, parliamentarians, and members of the Australia Disability and Development Consortium (ADDC), who were instrumental in supporting the development of this strategy, attended the launch.

Ewen McDonald, Deputy Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) hosted the event. The Hon Julie Bishop launched the strategy, Jhalak Sharma Sapkota, an Australia Award Scholarship Recipient, spoke about his experiences in Nepal and studying in Australia and Sophie Plumridge, Executive Office of ADDC, spoke, representing the disability and development sector.

The launch of this new Strategy represents a key milestone towards implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified in 2008 by Australia.

Development for All 2015 – 2020 provides guidance for strategic decision making by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade by articulating four key areas for strengthening disability-inclusive development:

  1. supporting governance for equality;
  2. enabling infrastructure;
  3. ensuring inclusive education and skills development; and
  4. building resilience through inclusive humanitarian assistance, disaster risk reduction, and social protection.

The strategy draws on existing strengths and expertise in Australia to contribute to enhance the participation and empowerment of people with disabilities as contributors, leaders, and decision makers in community, government, and the private sector across the Indo-Pacific region.

Dr. Michelle Villeneuve, Co-Lead of the Disability and Development Stream at the Centre for Disability Research and Policy (CDRP), University of Sydney, attended the launch. Dr. Villeneuve said,

The Hon Julie Bishop recognizes the important roles of researchers, implementing partners, and advocacy organisations as key to promoting disability rights in the region. This strategy provides opportunity for CDRP, with research expertise in building resilience through disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction programs, inclusive education and employment, and sustainable governance at home and across the Indo-Pacific region to continue to be the driving force in the process of change in the region.

The CDRP aims to change the disadvantage that occurs for people with disability through addressing their social and economic participation in society, and their health and wellbeing.

CDRP News Archive


Latest Publications

To view the latest Advances in Mental Health journal issue which contains several articles by the CDRP team, CLICK HERE

In particular, see:

Barton, R. Robinson, T. Lllewellyn, G. Thorncraft, K and Smidt, A. 2015. Rural and remote perspectives on disability and mental health research in Australia: 2000–2013. Advances in Mental Health: Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention. This paper reports on studies identified in the Audit of Disability Research in Australia that address disability and mental illness in the rural and remote context.

Emerson, E., & Hatton, C. (2015). Levekår og helse. In Kermit, P., Gustavsson, A., Kittelsaa, A., & Ytterhus, B (eds) Utviklingshemming: Hverdagsliv, levekår og politick, p59-72. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.

Emerson, E., & Brigham, P. (2015). Exposure of children with developmental delay to social determinants of poor health: Cross sectional case record review study. Child: Care, Health, Development 41, 249-257. doi:10.1111/cch.12144

Gore, N., Emerson, E., & Brady, S. (2015). Rates of breastfeeding and exposure to socio-economic adversity amongst children with intellectual disability. Research in Developmental Disabilities 39, 12-19.

Robertson, J., Hatton, C., Emerson, E., & Baines, S. (2015). Prevalence of epilepsy among people with intellectual disabilities: a systematic review. Seizure 29, 46-62.

Robertson, J., Hatton, C., Emerson, E., Baines, S. (2015 online early). Systematic reviews of the health or healthcare of people with intellectual disabilities: a systematic review to identify gaps in the evidence base. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities doi: 10.1111/jar.12149

Totsika, V., Hastings, R.P., Emerson, E., Berridge, D., Lancaster, G.A. (2015). Prosocial skills in young children with autism, and their mothers’ psychological well-being: longitudinal relationships. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 13-14, 25-31 doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2015.01.001

Wigham, S., & Emerson, E. (2015, online early). Trauma and life events in adults with intellectual disability. Current Developmental Disorders Reports DOI 10.1007/s40474-015-0041-y

Stancliffe, R. J., Tichá, R., Larson, S. A., Hewitt, A. S., & Nord, D. (2015). Responsiveness to self-report interview questions by adults with intellectual and developmental disability. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 53(3), 163–181. doi: 10.1352/1934-9556-53.3.163

Wilson, N. J., Stancliffe, R. J., Gambin, N., Craig, D., Bigby, C., & Balandin, S. (2015). A case study about the supported participation of older men with lifelong disabilities at Australian community-based men’s sheds. Advance online publication. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability. doi: 10.3109/13668250.2015.1051522

Culph, J., Wilson, N. J., Cordier, R. & Stancliffe, R. J. (2015) Men’s sheds and the experience of depression in older men. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12190

Anderson, K., Balandin, S., & Stancliffe, R. J. (2015). Alternative service delivery models for families with a new speech generating device: Perspectives of parents and therapists. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 17(2), 185-195. doi: 10.3109/17549507.2014.979876

Qian, X., Tichá, R., Larson, S. A., Stancliffe, R. J., & Wuorio, A. (2015). The impact of individual and organisational factors on engagement of individuals with intellectual disability living in community group homes: a multilevel model. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 59(6), 493-505. doi: 10.1111/jir.12152

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.

Honey, A, Chesterman, S. Hancock, N. Llewellyn, G. Hazell, P. and Clarke S. Knowing What to Do and Being Able to Do It: Influences on Parent Choice and Use of Practices to Support Young People Living with Mental Illness. Community Mental Health Journal (Early online.) A parent’s response to a young person’s mental illness can influence their recovery and wellbeing. Many parents devote considerable time and energy to supporting a young person experiencing mental illness and engage in numerous different practices to do so. Yet little is known about why parents use particular practices. This article explores this question through qualitative analysis of parent perspectives.

Curryer, B., Stancliffe, R. J., & Dew A. 2015. Self-determination: Adults with intellectual disability and their family. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability. Advance online publication.

Wiese, M., Stancliffe, R. J., Read, S., Jeltes, G. & Clayton, J. (2015). Learning about dying, death and end-of-life planning: Current issues informing future actions. Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability,40(2), 230-235. doi 10.3109/13668250.2014.998183

Hindmarsh, G. Llwellyn, G. Emerson, E. Mothers with intellectual impairment and their 9-month-old infants. Few studies have utilised population-based data to examine the lives of families headed by parents with intellectual impairment. This study examined the health and social context of mothers with intellectual impairment compared with their peers without intellectual impairment, and the 9-month developmental outcomes of their infants. Read more here.

Fraser, G. Llewellyn, G. Good, Bad or Absent: Discourses of Parents with Disabilities in Australian News Media Public representation of people with disabilities is often controversial. All too often the message is that disability is a burden or in stark contrast people with disabilities are heroic and extraordinary. Parenting with a disability continues to confront public perceptions of who parents are and their parenting abilities. In this recently released early online paper, Dr Vikki Fraser and Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn critically analyse major Australian newspapers critiquing the construction of parenting and disability, finding negative constructions of parenting and disability that undermine possibilities and opportunities for people with disabilities to fulfill this valued social role. Read this paper early online here.

During natural disasters, specific needs of people with disability are often unmet, leaving them vulnerable and unprotected.
Villeneuve, M. 'People with disability should be included as equal partners in disaster planning' - an article in The Conversation by Dr Michelle Villeneuve. During natural disasters, specific needs of people with disability are often unmet, leaving them vulnerable and unprotected. (Image from Florin C/www.shutterstock.com)

Llewellyn, G. Hindmarsh, G. Parents with intellectual disability in a population context by Gwynnyth Llewellyn and Gabrielle Hindmarsh. This paper reviews the current state of knowledge about parents and parenting with intellectual disability in a broader population context, taking the field forward from primarily reporting on parents already identified in clinical or service groups. Check out two other recent publications on population studies of parents with intellectual disability in Australia.

Man, N., Llewellyn, G., & Wade, C.Estimated prevalence and living circumstances of parents with intellectual disability in Australia from selected national surveys. This technical report details the processes undertaken to estimate the prevalence of parents with intellectual disability in the Australian population, their characteristics and living circumstance based on analysis of data available from Australian national surveys conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Man, N., Llewellyn, G., & Wade, C. The number and characteristics of parents with intellectual disability from Centrelink income support administrative data. This technical report details the processes undertaken to estimate the number of parents with intellectual disability on social security payments in Australia and their characteristics at a given time period.