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Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability

Distinguished Service Awards

2019 Dr Hilary Johnson

C:\fakepath\HilaryDr Hilary Johnson’s remarkable contribution to ASID has expanded her 40-year career working in the disability sector.  Her contribution has included multiple roles, including Victorian President and general committee member.  She was a key organiser of the IASSIDD 15th World Congress in 2016.  She currently serves on the ASID Victoria board and is the editor of the Intellectual Disability Australasia.  Hilary is not only a highly respected Speech Pathologist, manager, lecturer, and renowned scholar, but also a leader, mentor and friend to the intellectual disability and augmentative communication communities in Australia and internationally.  In 1991, Hilary was granted the prestigious Winston Churchill traveling Fellowship.  In 2002 she co-developed and lead a new and innovative state-wide model of professional leadership and capacity building, a highlight of her career, which changed Speech Pathology practice for people with disability across Victoria.  In 2012, Hilary was awarded her PhD from La Trobe University for an important study on developing positive relationships for adults with complex communication needs and intellectual disability.  Hilary is a world renowned researcher and practitioner having published and presented widely.  In 1996, Hilary was made a fellow of the Speech Pathology Association of Australia, and in 2002 a Fellow of the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC).  In 2010, Hilary received a distinguished service award from the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC).  Hilary’s outstanding career was recognised on the Victorian Disability Awards’ Lifetime Achievement honour roll in 2018 for her significant contribution to the rights, participation, and inclusion of Victorians with disability.  I believe there is no one more deserving than Dr Hilary Johnson for ASID's distinguished service citation.

2018 Dr Olive Webb

C:\fakepath\Olive AwardOlive Webb has made an outstanding and long-lasting contribution to the field of intellectual disability in Aotearoa/New Zealand and Australia through  a number of significant roles, as a clinical psychologist, researcher, practitioner, advocate, lobbyist, leader, change agent and educator. Her contribution to the disability and community sector has greatly enriched the lives of people with intellectual disability.  This was acknowledged (2008) in Aotearoa/New Zealand when she received Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to Psychology and Intellectual Disability. 

At a time when many of her colleagues were advocating for and  implementing the use of punishment based procedures to reduce challenging behaviours Olive recognised and researched the effects that social and residential contexts had on behaviour (Webb &  Mcnickle, 1982,  Webb, 1983). Early in her career as a clinical psychologist Olive broke new ground when she became the first non-medical professional to be appointed Manager of the Psychiatric  Service for adults with intellectual disability at Sunnyside Hospital, reducing the number of in-patients from 150 to 25 people through developing community options.

Within Olive made a significant contribution to the health of 1311 people with intellectual disability through research which showed that 73% required health interventions (Webb & Rogers, 1999). These life-saving actions included the fitting of a pacemaker, and surgery and treatment for undetected melanoma and breast cancer. This research led to the introduction of annual health checks to everyone in the service which has continued to this day.

Olive has developed and delivered numerous training packages for support workers and medical practitioners in primary healthcare and mental health relating to people with intellectual disability.  She has  influenced Aotearoa/New Zealand Ministry of Health through her research and reports and as an elected member of the Canterbury District Health Board she has been a tireless raising issues relating to the needs of people with intellectual disability.

As a psychologist, Olive has a high national profile. She has been Vice President and President of the Aotearoa/New Zealand Psychological Society contributing to books related to the  professional practice of psychology (Webb & Gates, 2000; Webb, Verhoeven & Eggleston 2007). Aligning with her professional interests Olive has a passion for sustainable and inclusive communities. Since 2011 she has played an  active role as a Trustee, Chair or member of six community Trusts including Riding for the Disabled and Special Olympics.  

Contributions to Divisions of ASID

Olive has played a significant role at all levels of Aotearoa/New Zealand ASID. In 2003, she was instrumental in re-forming ASID in Aotearoa/New Zealand, and was the inaugural President of  ASID- Aotearoa/New Zealand from 2003-2005.  She has been an active Board/Division member until the present and has  held the membership portfolio for Aotearoa/New Zealand.   She has served as an Aotearoa-NZ Division Director on the Board of ASID Ltd. She has presented at national and international  conferences, contributed to IDA, published in JIDD, reviewed journals and carried out original research in a variety of areas. In 2017 Olive played a lead role in planning and organizing a very successful Support Workers conference, highlighting the often overlooked voice of direct support staff. 

Contributions to ASID Board of Directors

She has held the office of President, Vice President (2003- 2009), Registrar and Director for Australasian Society of Intellectual Disability.  These tenures occurred during a critical time in the development of the Society as it established and developed its credibility as an innovative and responsive research to practice body and more recently as  it transitioned from being an Association of Incorporated Societies into a the single entity of ASID Ltd.

Editorship, publications and presentations

From 1980 – 1988 Olive was editorial consultant for the Australasian and NZ Journal of Developmental Disability and between 1995 – 2005 was on the Editorial Committee for two journals.  She has presented at numerous international conferences including two precursor ASID research organisations and IASSID on topics including interpersonal relationships, sexuality, dual diagnosis (Glue, Webb, & Surgenor,1988), medication use, clinical assessment, service development for people with epilepsy and intellectual disability, primary health care health screening (Webb & Rogers, 1999) and meaningful outcomes for people with intellectual disability.

A major research interest has been the use of medication by people with intellectual disability conducting a 10 year follow-up survey and published extensively in leading New Zealand, Australasian and international journals (Dovey & Webb, 2004; Webb & Rogers, 1999).

Supporting evidence

Dovey, S., & Webb, O., (2004). General practitioners' perception of their role in care for people with an intellectual disability.  Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 44, 53.

Glue, P., Webb, O.J; & Surgenor, L. (1988).  Psychopathology in adult mentally handicapped hospital patients. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 22(3) 312 – 315.

Webb, O. J (1983). The effects of different residential environments on the behaviour of intellectually handicapped adults:  Unpublished PhD thesis , University of Otago.

Webb, O.J. & Gates, S.,  (2000). Informed consent in and people who have intellectual disability. In H. Love & W. Whittaker (Eds.)  Practice Issues for Clinical and Applied Psychologists in New Zealand. Wellington: New Zealand Psychological Society, 43-56.

Webb, O. J.; Mcnickle, D. C. (1982).  A comparison of the adaptive social behaviour of intellectually handicapped Sheltered Workshop trainees from three different residential backgrounds. Australia and New Zealand Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 8(1),21-25.

Webb, O.J., & Rogers, L. (1999). Health screening for people with intellectual disability: the New Zealand experience. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 43(6) 497-503.

Webb, O., Verhoeven, M., &  Eggleston, E.  (2007). Principles of psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities.  In I. M Evans, J. J  Rucklidge,  &  M.  O’Driscoll  (Eds.) Professional  Practice  of  Psychology  in Aotearoa/New Zealand (pp. 445–465) .New Zealand Psychological Society: Te Ropu Matai Hinengaro o Aotearoa, Wellington. 


2017:  Professor Keith McVilly

C:\fakepath\keith mcvilly headshot

Keith has been a member of ASID for many, many years and was a long-serving member of the ASID Board. He held a number of positions but especially the role of secretary and was the ‘go to’ person for all things relating to the history of ASID and ASID’s constitution and by-laws - as they were then.  In 2003 Keith produced the book “Positive Behaviour Support for People with Intellectual Disability: Evidence-based practice promoting quality of life” and ASID has sold it on its website as one of its publications ever since. In 2005-6 he embarked on an exhaustive exercise and after canvassing people with intellectual disabilities throughout Australia and New Zealand, produced the 2007 Australasian Code of Ethics for Direct Support Professionals. This is now available free of charge on the ASID website.  The Code of Ethics was a forerunner of ASID’s position papers.

Keith has published widely in the intellectual disability field and has addressed issues such as social inclusion, least restrictive practices, community living, challenging behaviour and quality of life.

Professionally, Keith is a Registered Clinical Psychologist and the Foundation Professorial Fellow for Disability & Social Inclusion, in the School of Social & Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. His work addresses the translation of research into policy and practice, with a focus on promoting the well-being and community inclusion of people with multiple and complex disabling experiences.

His work reflects the centrality of relationships to wellbeing. Much of Keith’s research is conducted in applied settings, working directly with people with disability, families and services providers. He has a particular interest in the issues affecting people with cognitive impairment who present with severe challenging behaviours, and those involved in the criminal justice system. He also has a strong interest in the professional development of the direct support workforce, including their formation in ethical practice. Informing his research, Keith has worked as a direct support worker, a clinician and service manager, in public health services and in private practice.

He was the founding Convenor of the Australian Psychological Society’s Special Interest Group for Psychologists working with People with Intellectual & Developmental Disability.

Keith is on the Executive of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD). In his current university role, Keith is the academic lead for the University of Melbourne’s university-wide Hall Mark Disability Research Initiative. (Ref: University of Melbourne website)

ASID is grateful to Keith for his contribution to the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and to ASID.


  • 2008: Roger Stancliffe 
  • 2003: Karen Nankervis (Vic) & Bill Taylor (Vic) 
  • 2002: Tim Griffin
  • 2001: Eddie Bartnik & Stephen Trumble (Vic)
  • 1996/97: Greg Lewis
  • 1996: Helen Beange (NSW)
  • 1994: Meryl Caldwell-Smith (NSW) Adrian Ashman (QLD) Judith Dey, Verne Caradus and Audrey Greenberg
  • 1993: Moira Petersie, John LeBreton, Lorna Sherlock, Cliff Judge (Vic)
  • 1992: Inaugural award -Trevor Parmenter (NSW)