Inclusive research methods and practices involving people with intellectual disability

Scott Avery1, Associate Professor Angela Dew2

1First Peoples Disability Network, 2Deakin University, Melbourne, Victoria

Aims:
This workshop is designed for social policy researchers who are doing research that involves people with intellectual disability. The purpose of the workshop is to encourage researchers to critically reflect upon their methods and practices when engaging with the disability community. It will explore factors that enhance research collaborations between disability community organisations and University-based researchers. The workshop will focus on:
• the role of community organisations in research design and implementation,
• the factors that make the research relationships work, and
• what could be done to improve the relationships from the perspective of community and University based researchers.

The workshop is designed as a safe place in which participants can share their experiences and seek advice from their peers and the presenters on issues and ethical dilemmas in their research that involve people with intellectual disability.

An interactive ‘yarning circle’ approach will be used to engage conference delegates who have an interest in inclusion and intellectual disability research. While engaged in the yarning circle, delegates will collectively create a visual representation/map in response to discussion of three core issues described by presenters:

1. An understanding of social isolation and vulnerability that can be experienced by people with intellectual disability. Drawing on a case study of First Peoples with disability, some of whom may not have a formal diagnosis of intellectual disability, this part of the workshop will explore the multi-faceted nature of marginalisation that can be experienced by people who intersect two marginalised population groups. It will also consider the cultural context in which ‘disability’ can be understood in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and the implications for people with intellectual disability who might fall through the cracks of the service system.

2. Reflecting understanding of inclusion and isolation in research methods that aims to involve people with intellectual disability. This issue will explore how University based researchers can respectfully interact with people with disability and their organisations.

3. Affecting social change through strategies in the translation of research.

The workshop is designed as a safe place in which workshop participants can share their experiences and seek advice from their peers and the presenters on issues and ethical dilemmas in their research that involve people with intellectual disability.


Biography:

Scott Avery is descendant from the Worimi people and is the Research and Policy Director at the First Peoples Disability Network (Australia), a non-Government Organisation constituted by and for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples with disability. He has eight years experience of advocacy and applied policy research in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations which has informed national policies including the National Disability Strategy and Closing the GAp. He is currently undertaking a PhD at UTS on social inclusion and disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities which is nearing completion, and has recently published the book ‘Culture is Inclusion: A narrative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability’ based on this research. He has been awarded a research scholarship by the Lowitja Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research, and is an Ambassador for the Mayi Kuwayu study on the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait IsIander cultures to health and wellbeing.

Associate Professor Angela Dew is a Sociologist engaged in research related to people with intellectual disability and complex support needs. Angela uses qualitative and arts-based methods within an integrated knowledge translation framework to ensure her research results in practical solutions that can be tailored to individuals and local communities.

ABOUT ASID

The Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability (ASID) is a not-for-profit organisation that brings together research, policy and practice to improve the lives and services for people with a disability.

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