Active Support resources

The following books, reports and resources have been collated from various sources, authors and organisations. We would like to acknowledge United Response for contributing their resources.

Every moment has potential – online learning resource

Prof Christine Bigby, Dr Emma Bould, Silvia Warren, Prue Adams, Arna Radovich, Department of Industry, Greystanes Disability Services, Living with Disability Research Group at La Trobe University.

Every moment has potential is an online learning resource that provides an introduction to Person Centred Active Support - a way of working that enables everyone, no matter what their level of intellectual or physical disability, to make choices and participate in meaningful activities and social relationships.

This online learning resource is based on research undertaken by many researchers in the UK and Australia including the late Professor Jim Mansell and Dr Julie Beadle-Brown, Professor Christine Bigby and Dr Emma Bould. The resource was funded by the Australian Government Department of Industry. It is a collaboration between Greystanes Disability Services and the Living with Disability Research Centre at La Trobe University. It was developed with input from a wide range of stakeholders, including Western Sydney Institute of TAFE NSW and an Industry Reference Group and Steering Committee. Click here to see full credits online.

Developing and maintaining person centred active support: A demonstration project in supported accommodation for people with neurotrauma.

This project aimed to explore the applicability of Active Support in supported accommodation services for people with neurotrauma, and the effectiveness of this model of staff practice in improving quality of life outcomes for this group. It is an initial step in building an evidence base about the types of staff practices, team work, and practice leadership that contribute to good quality of life outcomes for people with neurotrama living in supported accommodation. The key research questions were, 1) Is Active Support applicable as a staff practice with people with high and complex needs following neurotrauma? 2) Can Active Support be implemented in supported accommodation services for people with high and complex needs following neurotrauma? 3) What factors influence the adoption and embedding of Active Support in these settings?

Suggested Citation
Bigby, C., Douglas, J., & Bould, E. (2018). Developing and maintaining person centred active support: A  demonstration project in supported accommodation for people with neurotrauma. LaTrobe Living with Disability Research Centre.

Active Support Guide: An essential component of the way we work

This 12-page guide outlines the importance of the Active Support approach as part of person centred support via tips and case studies.

This guide describes why active support is fundamental for all the people we support. It details the essential components and strategies that must be in place to ensure support is well-organised, effective and truly meeting the needs of the individual.

We would like to acknowledge United Response UK and the Tizard Centre for sharing their resource. Click here for more online resources.

Active Support: Enabling and Empowering People with Intellectual Disabilities

Jim Mansell and Julie Beadle-Brown

Active Support is a proven model of care that enables and empowers people with intellectual disabilities to participate in all aspects of their lives. This evidence-based approach is particularly effective for working with people with more severe disabilities, and is of growing interest to those responsible for providing support and services.

Suggested Citation:
Mansell, J. & Beadle-Brown, J. (2012). Active Support. Enabling and Empowering People with Intellectual Disabilities. London, Jessica Kingsley

Person-centred active support: A handbook

Bev Ashman, John Ockenden, Julie Beadle-Brown & Jim Mansell

This handbook provides information and guidance on implementing person-centred active support. It can be used to support the multimedia training resource of the same name, or it can be read independently. Utilising examples, tools and experiences from a range of organisations and services, it provides the reader with additional information on a range of implementation issues. It also provides examples and suggestions to help successfully support people to participate in meaningful activities and relationships.

Suggested Citation:
Ashman, B., Ockenden, J., Beadle-Brown, J. & Mansell, J. (2010).  Person-centred active support: A handbook. Brighton, UK: Pavilion Publishing.

We would like to acknowledge United Response UK for sharing their resources. Click here for more online resources.

Practice leadership booklet

Achieving active support requires front line managers (practice leaders) to turn the theory of these approaches into practice and to support staff to implement them consistently. This resource is a tool for guide practice leaders in their role, to implement and maintain active support in all workplace practice.

We would like to acknowledge United Response UK for sharing their resources. Click here for more online resources.

Group Homes for People with Intellectual Disabilities Encouraging Inclusion and Participation

Tim Clement and Prof Christine Bigby

This book paints a picture of life in group homes today. The authors propose a framework for increasing community presence and participation, and consider the barriers to be overcome in achieving these key goals. Topics include the notion of 'homeliness', maintaining a balance between individual and group needs and practice leadership.

Suggested Citation:
Clement, T. & Bigby, C. (2010). Group Homes for People with Intellectual Disabilities Encouraging Inclusion and Participation. London, Jessica Kingsley

Positive Behaviour Support and Active Support:Essential elements for achieving real change in services for people whose behaviour is described as challenging

John Ockenden (United Response) with assistance from Bev Ashman (United Response), Julie Beadle-Brown (Tizard Centre, University of Kent) and Andrea Wiggins (The Avenues Group).

This booklet highlights the extent to which the methods of Person Centred Active Support underpin the effective implementation of positive behaviour support. It also provides tips on what to look for when commissioning services for people with learning disabilities.

Suggested Citation:
Ockenden, J., Ashman, B., Beadle-Brown, J. & Wiggins, A. (Clement, T. & Bigby, C. (2010). Positive Behaviour Support and Active Support: Essential elements for achieve real change in services for people whose behaviour is described as challenging. United Response & Tizard Centre: United Kingdom.

Guide to Visiting and Good Group Homes

Prof Christine Bigby and Dr Emma Bould

The Guide to Visiting and Good Group Homes was based on research evidence to describe what a good group home for people with more severe levels of intellectual disability looks like, what you should expect to see and hear if residents are experiencing a good quality of life. Written in collaboration with The Office of the Public Advocate (Victoria), this guide was based on research and written for Community Visitors who visit and report of the quality of life of people living in supported and group accommodation.

Suggested citation:
Bigby, C., & Bould, E. (2014). Guide to Visiting and Good Group Homes. Melbourne: Living with Disability Research Group, La Trobe University.

Published articles

Identifying good group homes: Qualitative indicators using a quality of life framework

Christine Bigby, Marie Knox, Julie Beadle-Brown, and Emma Bould

This article explores the conceptualization of good outcomes and support for this group in terms of their quality of life and staff practices. Drawing on in-depth qualitative analysis of participant observations conducted over 9–12 months in seven group homes for 21 people with a severe and profound level of intellectual disability.

Observing practice leadership in intellectual and developmental disability services

Julie Beadle-Brown, Christine Bigby & Emma Bould

Improving staff performance is an issue in services for people with intellectual disability. Practice leadership, where the front line leader of a staff team focuses on service user outcomes in everything they do and provides coaching, modelling, supervision and organisation to the team, has been identified as important in improving staff performance. To date this finding is based only on self-report measures. This paper describes and tests an observational measure of practice leadership based on an interview with the front-line manager, a review of paperwork and observations in 58 disability services in Australia.

‘We just call them people’: Positive regard as a dimension of culture in group homes for people with severe intellectual disability

Christine Bigby, Marie Knox, Julie Beadle-Brown & Tim Clement

A dimension of the culture in group homes is staff regard for residents. Three in-depth qualitative case studies were conducted in higher performing group homes using participant observation, interviews and document review to measure a hypothesis that higher performing group homes, would have staff regard residents positively.

Person-centred active support – increasing choice, promoting independence and reducing challenging behaviour

Julie Beadle-Brown, Aislinn Hutchinson & Beckie Whelton

Previous research has found that active support is effective at increasing levels of participation in activities and supporting a good quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities. However, there has been little research on the effect of active support on other outcome measures. This study uses observational methodology, combined with staff-rated measures, to explore the impact of the implementation of person-centred active support on the lives of 30 people with severe and profound intellectual disabilities living in small group homes.

Culture in better group homes for people with severe and profound intellectual disability

Christine Bigby & Julie Beadle-Brown

Building on cultural dimensions of underperforming group homes this study analyses culture in better performing services. In depth qualitative case studies were conducted in 3 better group homes using participant observation and interviews. The culture in these homes, reflected in patterns of staff practice and talk, as well as artefacts differed from that found in underperforming services. Though it is unclear whether good group homes have a similar culture to better ones the insights from this study provide knowledge to guide service development and evaluation.

The role of practice leadership in active support: impact of practice leaders’ presence in supported accommodation services

Emma Bould, Julie Beadle-Brown, Christine Bigby &Teresa Iacono

The aim of the study was to explore differences in staff practice, associated with the presence of a practice leader in a shared supported accommodation service. Data from observations was collated from 58 services, involving 189 service users with intellectual disability including an Observation Measure of Practice Leadership being administered during the second visit.

Implementation of active support in Victoria, Australia: An exploratory study

Jim Mansell, Julie Beadle-Brown & Christine Bigby

This study explored resident characteristics of the people supported by organisations implementing active support, the provision of active support, its procedures and systems, and resident engagement in meaningful activity and relationships. Information was collected through questionnaires and direct observation of 33 group homes from 6 organisations in Victoria, Australia, with a 5–10-year history of implementing active support.

The effect of active support training on engagement, opportunities for choice, challenging behaviour and support needs

Stella Koritsas, Teresa Iacono, David Hamilton & Daniel Leighton

The aim of this study was to evaluate active support training and to investigate changes to perceived engagement in domestic tasks, opportunities for choice, frequency of challenging behaviour, and level of support needs. Data was collected through assessments completed on three occasions (at baseline, post-training, and at follow-up) by support workers from three group homes.

REVIEW: Every moment has potential: Person-centred active support online learning resource

Developed by Greystanes Disability Services and La Trobe University Available at no charge from

Lisa Hamilton