Victorians called upon to drive forward change in disability

23 November 2016

Research project launched

Disability services provider Endeavour Foundation is issuing a call to people with an intellectual disability in Victoria to put themselves in the driving seat when it comes to decision making.

Encouraging anyone with an intellectual disability, their parents, carers and supporters to reach out to researchers at La Trobe University, who are examining opportunities for empowerment, Endeavour Foundation – one of 11 industry partners involved in the research – described the project as a potential “catalyst for change”.

Maria Vassos, Senior Researcher with Endeavour Foundation, said that the arrival of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is just one step towards a world of opportunity.

“We are delighted to partner with La Trobe University to undertake this research into the best way to enable people with intellectual disabilities to make their own decisions about their own lives.

“It’s critical that we find better ways to support people to take control of their destiny – exercising their rights to choice and control. The research will teach parents, carers and supporters skills they can use when supporting their family member or friend with an intellectual disability.

“In effect, under the NDIS people with a disability will have greater choice in how they live their lives – all within a funding system that is geared towards exploring and supporting potential. There is no better time to ensure that everyone is empowered to maximise the opportunities at their fingertips.”

Professor Christine Bigby emphasised the importance of this work.

“As the NDIS rolls out across Australia, people with disabilities will have more and more opportunities to make decisions about the directions of their own lives. Some people, particularly those with intellectual disability or acquired brain injury, need good support to take maximum advantage of these new opportunities.

“This study aims to test new evidence based resources designed to help supporters of people with cognitive disabilities give more effective support with decision making. It will also hear from people with cognitive disability themselves and their supporters about their experience of providing support in order to better understand the processes involved.”

The research will include interviews and questionnaires, as well as training for those who offer support. For further information, email decision.making@latrobe.edu.au or call Dr Lizzie Smith on 0394791954.

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