Previous Award Winners

Distinguished Service Citation

ASID recognises individuals who have had contributed much to the organisation over a sustained period of time.  The Distinguished Service Citation award is conferred upon people who are current members of ASID, who meet these criteria.  This is an honorary award and can be related to any areas of the business of ASID including but not limited to:

  • Contribution to the ASID Board of Directors
  • Contribution to the Divisions of ASID
  • Convenor of ASID events
  • Editorship of ASID publications
2019 Recipient - Dr Hillary Johnson




Dr 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 Recipient - Dr Olive Webb




Olive 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 Recipient - Professor Keith McVilly




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.

Previous Recipients
  • 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)

Fellow of ASID

The title may be conferred on individual ASID members (including all classes of individual membership) in recognition of the member’s exceptional and significant contribution to the field of intellectual disability.  Service to ASID is not a criterion for selecting ASID Fellows as the ASID Distinguished Service Citation focuses of service to ASID as an organisation. This contribution will have been in one or more of the following areas:Research,

  • Service provision (including service development or improvement, administration),
  • Advocacy and/or self-advocacy,
  • Professional practice, and
  • Teaching and staff training.
2019 Recipient - Professor Leanne Dowse

2019 Professor Leanne Dowse

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Professor Leanne Dowse has played a critical role in interdisciplinary theorisation and inclusive knowledge co-production for people with cognitive (intellectual) disability who experience compounding disability and complex social disadvantage. She has conceptualised complex support needs as the interplay of cognitive, developmental, psychosocial, and physical impairment combined with adverse environmental factors, including behavioural risks, substance misuse, criminal justice contact, early life instability, insecure housing, cultural or intergenerational disadvantage, and trauma, violence and abuse. Her conceptually innovative work across multiple disciplines has increased capacity of researchers to engage with complex social problems associated with disability. It also enhanced the availability and applicability of knowledge and evidence for government and non-government policy makers, service providers and practitioners in disability, mental health, health, child safety, drug and alcohol, homelessness and criminal justice. As the Chair Intellectual Disability Behaviour Support (IDBS), Leanne Dowse developed a program now recognised as Australia’s leading research facility in interdisciplinary scholarship in cognitive disability.

Research leading to advocacy

One of countless examples of Prof Dowse advocacy activities is her 2013-14 Stop the Violence Project in partnership with Women with Disabilities Australia and People with Disabilities Australia, the outcomes of which resulted in women with disability being recognised as a priority group in the second National Action Plan (2014-16) under the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and the Children (2010-22). Furthermore, Prof Dowse is also at the forefront of Indigenous led, culturally informed research engagement with Aboriginal people with disability, their communities and representatives. She is an invited member of the Academic Advisory Panel to Australia’s First People Disability Network (FPDN), providing strategic advice, mentoring and research training to FPDN’s Research Manager in the conduct of a large-scale project to develop an Australian First Peoples with Disability research agenda. FPDN are also now partner in the NSW government commissioned project to develop resources for Culturally Informed Planning for Aboriginal People and their Communities, using a ground-breaking model of collaboration with Aboriginal researchers, organisations and communities across NSW. Prof Dowse’s work in the IDBS program included more than 15 community disability organisations partnerships to conduct inclusive research to build evidence for policy and practice reform in disability and complex needs.

2019 Recipient - Professor Patricia O'Brien

2019 Professor Patricia O’Brien

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Professor Patricia O’Brien has dedicated her career to improving the lives of people with intellectual disability across the lifespan. Her mission has always for people to be heard and listened to. Patricia’s career spans Australia, New Zealand and Ireland across research and service delivery.

Based on her PhD, she was instrumental in the creation of citizenship advocacy in Victoria (Australia) before relocating the Aotearoa New Zealand.

During Patricia’s time in New Zealand she was a leader in the deinstitutionalisation movement. Her learnings from the establishment of citizenship advocacy in Victoria, provided the foundation for her establishing the first citizenship advocacy initiative in New Zealand.

In 2004 she accepted the position of Foundation Director at the National Institute for Intellectual Disability, Trinity College Dublin.  In this role Patricia led ground-breaking work in inclusive research, education and advocacy.

In 2006 she secured a prestigious Marie Curie fellowship, for inclusive research. At this time, there was limited evidence of the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities as co-researchers. The project spanned 4 years, involved 4 post-doctoral researchers and 5 experience researchers. The learning/s from this research have been utilised internationally in the foundation of other inclusive research teams.

In her time at Trinity College, Patricia championed inclusive education and established the Certificate of Community Living: A 2 year course where people with intellectual disability were engaged in the experience of university.

In 2009 Patricia returned to Australia to take up her current position of Chair in Disability Studies and Director, Centre for Disability Studies, University of Sydney.  In this position she was able to draw together her extensive experience in research and evidence-based practice. Soon after commencing with CDS Patricia had established the Inclusive Research Network, which is arguably the longest running inclusive research network in Australia. The group has presented at every ASID conference since 2012 and two IASSIDD World Congresses and an ASIS Pacific Conference.  In 2012 Patricia went on to set up the uni 2 beyond program, where students with intellectual disabilities audit university classes of interest and participate in social and academic mentoring. This initiative has won international recognition with CDS awarded the Zero Project Award, in Vienna, Austria for Innovation Practice in Inclusive Education in 2016.  Patricia has also initiated events advocating for and sharing expertise to advance inclusive tertiary education for people with ID in Australia and a roundtable she organized in March 2019 culminated in the launch of a recent seminal book People with intellectual disability experiencing university life: Theoretical Underpinnings, evidence and lived experience for which she was leader, co-editor with Bonati, Gadow and Slee and a contributing author.

Patricia has published 6 books, 12 book chapters, 26 refereed journal articles, 20 monographs, has countless conference presentations, and is a sought after and acclaimed for her many keynote addresses.

In recent years Patricia has supervised seven PhD graduates and continues to supervise PhD students, contributing her expertise and furthering research for and with people with ID.

2018 Recipient - Associate Professor Patsie Frawley

2018 Associate Professor Patsie Frawley

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Patsie has a huge commitment to scholarship and together with her capacity to translate research into practice to the benefit of people with Intellectual Disability (ID). She has made an exceptional and significant contribution to research and practice particularly in the field of sexuality for people with ID, as well as addressing issues related to the prevention of violence and abuse of people with disability.

Patsie’s research has both informed policy at a macro level and had direct impact on the lives of individuals with disability across Victoria and nationally. For example, the Sexual Lives and Respectful Relationships programme (originally known as Living Safer Sexual Lives) is now used across several states. The programme continues to grow and develop, and is now being adapted to address the needs of LGBTQI+ people with ID. Throughout the development of these programmes and their supporting resources, Patsie’s commitment to rigorous research has ensured high standards and their effectiveness.

An important feature of Patsie’s research and development activities has been her long-standing and strong commitment to the co-design and co-production of research and policy. This was very evident in her work as Senior Researcher for the Office of the Public Advocate in Victoria, and in her long-term close working relationships with self-advocacy organisations such as Reinforce.

2018 Recipient - Dr Michele Wiese

2018 Dr Michele Wiese

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Michele’s professional contribution to people with intellectual disability, their families and disability support professionals dates back to the 1980s when Michele worked as a researcher with Macquarie University evaluating a NSW wide Training Resource Unit that introduced an innovative and positive approach to working with people with ID who had complex behavioural needs. Michele made a significant contribution to the research and went on to provide exceptional support to people with ID and their families in the area of positive behavior support, and was well known as an excellent trainer and resource person for staff in government and nongovernment services who were supporting people with the most complex of needs.

As a researcher at Macquarie University and then the Centre for Disability Studies, Sydney, Michele played a key role in designing and managing a number of research and development projects examining models of care for people with complex needs, including an innovative housing pilot for people with ID and behavior support in Queensland. Michele continues to provide significant training and consultancy support to disability support workers in this and other areas. Her work is always of the highest calibre and is well regarded. Other roles have involved clinical practice, research, teaching, lecturing, consulting, curriculum development, working with NGOs and project management.

Michele’s more recent work in the area of end of life care and death and dying is well known and highly regarded locally, nationally and internationally. As a member of ASID NSW/ACT Committee, Michele first presented at an ASID NSW Hot Topics day and identified a significant need among disability support organisations regarding the support of people with ID facing end of life care. Michele subsequently undertook her doctoral research in end of life care and her dissertation was End-of-life care of people with intellectual disabilities in community living services. She has always addressed this area with the utmost sensitivity, respect and dignity for all involved and her work is both ethically sound and brings positive direction and support to all stakeholders

Michele was project coordinator for the “Dying to Talk” project that resulted in a noteworthy toolkit that is accessible for all. She was an invited co-editor for a special edition in November 2017 of the Journal for Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities (JARID) on end of life care. Dissemination of findings and their implications has occurred through Michele’s presentations at key ASID and IASSID conferences and through publications and networking with key international researchers in the field where her work and contribution is highly regarded. Her numerous peer reviewed publications are frequently cited.

As a member of ASID NSW/ACT Regional Committee and then Division, Michele has also made a significant contribution. She was as an active committee member from 2008- 2017 where she assisted in organising and running events including numerous state workshops and conferences as well as the successful ASID Conference in Sydney in 2013. Michele took charge of our Operational plan and developed an effective operational procedure for this. She has also voluntarily worked with various ASID Conference program committees. The ASID endorsed Ethical Review of Research in the Disability Sector guidelines were developed and released as a result of Michele’s identification of the critical need for these in the disability sector and her tireless work to collaboratively consult and progress the work to completion.

Overall, Michele’s work exemplifies ASID’s charge of translating “research to practice”.

2017 Recipient - Clinical Professor Vivienne Riches

2017 Clinical Professor Vivienne Riches


Vivienne is a highly respected peer and colleague of many members of ASID, who has contributed more than 40 years to the disability sector through research, consultancy, and teaching and as a clinical practitioner. Professionally Vivienne is a registered psychologist and a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Disability Studies an affiliate of the University of Sydney. She holds conjoint appointments as Clinical Professor, University of Sydney and Clinical Psychologist.

Vivienne has made a significant contribution to research and development in the field of vocational preparation and employment for people with a disability, assessment and classification, support needs assessment, social and interpersonal competence, and transition from school to post school for students with disabilities, staff training and active Support, behavioural support and mental emotional health issues.  In the past 5 years alone, she has contributed to over 10 research projects, published many book chapters and journal articles, co-authored a book and presented at countless conferences.  In 2013, Vivienne was inducted into the Disability Employment Australia Hall of Fame, in recognitions of her outstanding contribution to Disability Employment.

On top of her teaching, research and clinical loads she has also supervised many provisionally registered psychologists, practicing psychologists and a number of PhD candidates.

Her contribution to the disability and community sector extends to active participation on boards and committees for a number of organisations, including but not limited to 7 years as a Board Director for ASID Ltd and over 9 years with the NSW/ACT Division of ASID.   In 2013, ASID NSW hosted the 48th Annual Australasian Conference in Sydney. Vivienne was instrumental in negotiating and securing a wide range of high profile local and international speakers as conference keynotes. It is without doubt that her networks, respect and reputation within the field were integral to the successful and well-received program that was delivered.  Vivienne served as the Vice President for ASID NSW/ACT from its reformation in 2007.  In 2011 she moved into the President’s position and served in this role until 2014.  Since stepping back from leadership of the committee, Vivienne has maintained an active role on the events committee, including recent co-coordination of a workshop on individualized funding and self-determination.

Previous Recipients
  • 2007 Ms Anne Bray, Mr Guy Hamilton
  • 2006 Mr Angus Capie, Mr Richard Bruggemann
  • 2005 Mr Eddie Bartnik, Prof Trevor R Parmenter, Mr Robert Martin
  • 2004 Dr Helen Beange OAM  Inaugural Award