Where to next for adults with intellectual disability who have completed an inclusive university program

Miss Charlotte Gobec1, Dr Fiona Rillotta1, Associate Professor Pammi Raghavendra1

1Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia

People with intellectual disability (ID) may not have the opportunity to attend university like their peers. Previous research has found that adults with ID who attended university programs reported an increased self-determination, developed social skills and formed peer relationships. However, there is limited evidence surrounding what adults with ID do after they complete a university program. The aim of this study was to investigate the experiences of adults with ID after they completed an Australian inclusive university program.

This project uses a phenomenological approach involving semi-structured interviews. We aim to interview 6-10 adults with intellectual disability who had completed an Australian inclusive university program. We have interviewed 3 at present. Thematic analysis will be used to explore the lived experience of adults with ID following university.

Preliminary results indicate varied post-program experience (e.g. full time employment; volunteering). Participants reflected positively on the program. One participant explained that the program gave opportunity to achieve what she wanted to in her work. The presentation will include findings from all participants. The systems in a person’s life impacting on their experience will be discussed.

This research contributes to the limited evidence-base of what adults with ID do after they complete university programs in an Australian context. It can also help inform future development and implementation of inclusive programs for people with ID at Australian universities.


Charlotte Gobec is a fourth year Honours student enrolled in the Bachelor of Disability and Developmental Education at Flinders University.

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