Access To Mainstream Services

We aim to find ways of making mainstream services more accessible and responsive to people with cognitive disabilities. These services will continue to provide the vast majority of services and supports required by people with disabilities despite the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Our current research is focused on hospital services, the education system and electoral processes.

Projects

Find out more infomation about our projects and research. Below is a list of our current projects with links to research papers.

Inclusive education

An inclusive education system brings many benefits. From individual benefits like learning, employment opportunities, and psychosocial well-being to benefits for society, seen in better cost efficiencies (for example, only running one type of school and decreasing discrimination). Many students enjoy being in groups with their peers. Learning among diverse group of peers enriches the experiences for people with disability.

Increasingly, mainstream systems cater to people with disability. Disability specific education services are under pressure and there has been a sustained push to include people with disability in mainstream services. This research theme explores the challenges, successes and ways forward in making education more inclusive.

Supporting inclusion in mainstream schools

Professor Teresa Iacono, Dr Amanda Kenny, Dr Carol McKinstry

Developing options to enable specialist schools to become “Centres of Expertise” to support inclusion in mainstream schools.

This project explores options for how the expertise in Specialist Schools could be harnessed to support mainstream schools to be inclusive of students with disabilities. Funding for this project was awarded by the Victorian Principals’ Association of Specialist Schools (PASS) to a team lead by Professor Teresa Iacono. The project also brings together stakeholders from across La Trobe University and specialist and mainstream school communities to co-design options for how specialist schools can become “Centres of Expertise” to support inclusive education.

On-line modules to strengthen inclusive educational supports

Professor Teresa Iacono, Drs. Nerida Hyett, Jo Spong, Carol McKinstry, Kerryn Bagley, Oriane Landry

Co-designing on-line modules to strengthen inclusive educational supports for children with disability through collaboration with allied health.

This project brought together allied health and education researchers, in partnership with mainstream and special education schools, and an allied health practice in Bendigo. It was funded by an Information, Linkages, and Capacity building (ILC) Readiness grant (2017) from the NDIS.

A co-design group comprising parents of children with disability, education staff, and allied health practitioners developed  the content for an on-line package aimed at supporting the inclusion of students with disability. The package demonstrates how these supports can maintain a child-focus, while meeting requirements under NDIS and Program for Students with Disability funding.

Following the successful conclusion of this grant in late 2018, funding has been awarded by the La Trobe Research Focus Area – Building Healthy Communities, for the project team to conduct a randomized control trial to assess the effectiveness of the inclusive education package in terms of designing supports for students with disability within inclusive school settings.  The funding is for an 18 month period.

A Randomized Control Trial of Shifting Perceptions to Enhance Inclusive School Education

Professor Teresa Iacono, Drs. Nerida Hyett, Jo Spong, Carol McKinstry, Oriane Landry, Kerryn Bagley and the University of Newcastle – Professor Michael Arthur-Kelly,

Following the successful conclusion of the above grant in late 2018, funding has been awarded by the La Trobe Research Focus Area – Building Healthy Communities, for the project team to conduct a randomized control trial to assess the effectiveness of the inclusive education package in terms of designing supports for students with disability within inclusive school settings.  The funding is for an 18 month period.

Health System

Supporting the inclusion of people with cognitive disabilities in the health system

Professors Chris Bigby, Teresa Iacono and Jacinta Douglas

Previous reports suggest that the health system is unresponsive to the requirements of people with disabilities and their families as a consequence of their needs and circumstances being poorly understood within a healthcare context. We take people with cognitive disability (intellectual disability and traumatic brain injury) as the exemplar group of service users with disability. This study, funded by the National Disability Research Agenda, aims are to understand the barriers to responding appropriately to people with disabilities and delivering them quality healthcare services; and Identifying promising ideas that facilitate inclusion and responsiveness.