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Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability

47th Annual Wellington 2012

conf 2012

The 47th Annual Conference for Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability: Research to Practice.
Was held Wednesday 7 to Friday 9 November 2012
Wellington Town Hall, Wellington, New Zealand

Keynote Speakers

  • Bill Lindsay, University of Abertay, Scotland
  • Jayne Clapton, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
  • Teresa Iacono, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia
  • Robyn Munford, Massey University, New Zealand
  • Averil Herbert, University of Waikato, New Zealand
  • Susan Balandin, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

For copies of the presentations of our keynote speakers, please go direct to the speaker.

Let's Talk Forum Paper

Bill Lindsay

Bill Lindsay, PhD, FBPS, FIASSID, is Consultant Psychologist, Clinical Director in Scotland and Head of Research for Castlebeck Care. He was previously Head of Psychology (LD) in NHS Tayside and a Consultant Psychologist with the State Hospital, Scotland. He is Professor of Learning Disabilities and Forensic Psychology at the University of Abertay, Dundee and Visiting Professor at Bangor Univ. He has held over £1 million in research funds studying cognitive therapy and offenders with Intellectual Disabilities and is currently conducting research on the assessment of offenders and on cognitive therapy. He has published over 300 research articles and book chapters and given many presentations and workshops on cognitive therapy and the assessment and treatment of offenders with intellectual disability. He has published 4 books including two recent volumes on sex offenders with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Plenary Presentation Title: Factors influencing referral pathways into and through forensic ID services


In this presentation I will review research related to pathways into and through forensic ID services. In our follow up studies of Community Forensic ID services (12 and 20 years), we found distinct trends in referral patterns with more recent cohorts being significantly younger and more likely to come from the criminal justice system. Sex offenders are older than other types of referrals (mostly violent) and men outnumber women 5 to 1. Our recent research has reviewed referrals to different levels of security finding that aggression and violence, referral source, diversity of offending behaviour, criminal justice involvement and IQ all predict where someone will be referred. Surprisingly, some variables commonly associated with forensic ID such as arson and sex offending do not predict referral pathways. We have found that security levels have only a small to medium, but nevertheless significant, relationship with assessed risk. I will also review treatment related to criminogenic factors such as violence and inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Jayne Clapton

Jayne Clapton is a Professor in the School of Human Services and Social Work at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. Jayne is a Disability Studies scholar who, for many years, has researched the relationship between ethics, inclusion and disability, particularly intellectual disability. Her research explores how different philosophies and values have underpinned historical and contemporary practices, and also impacted the exclusion- inclusion dualism. Jayne is a member of an international special interest research group on ethics and intellectual disability and has presented at national and international conferences with other members of the group. In recent years, she has extended her research about ethics and inclusion to issues of impaired decision making capacity in regard to Indigenous people; and also for people who experience chronic homelessness. In 2009, her book A Transformatory Ethic Of Inclusion was published by Sense Publishers.

Plenary Presentation Title: Ethics and Intellectual Disability: Perspectives for a common purpose


Existing relationships between ethics and intellectual disability are complex and encompass a range of values, disability theories and practices that are enmeshed in different ethical theories and principles. At the heart of such relationships are particular understandings of what it means to be a ‘person’. For ethics to provide a common purpose for all humanity, persons with intellectual disability must have intrinsic moral worth and be able to expect ethical protection. If ethics, as a discipline, cannot offer such worth and protection across the diversity of humanity, then our primary agenda must be to reconsider how we understand ethics in regard to people with intellectual disability; and then be committed to reconstituting a more inclusive relationship.

Teresa Iacono

Teresa Iacono is the Professor of Rural and Regional Allied Health, La Trobe University. In this role, she is overseeing the delivery of allied health degree programs across campuses in northern Victoria. With a background in Speech Pathology, Teresa’s clinical, teaching and research interests have been in severe communication impairment in people with developmental disabilities.

Teresa's interests are broad but her commitment has always been to recognise and respond to the needs of people with complex communication needs, and assessment of people with severe and multiple disabilities across the life span in the areas of communication, reading, health and mental health.

Her key research interest remains complex communication needs. She is a past editor of the journal Augmentative and Alternative Communication and co-edited a book on Autism Spectrum Disorders and AAC with Pat Mirenda (2009).

Plenary Presentation Title: Understanding the complexity of communication in people with intellectual disabilities.


Teresa's presentation will provide an overview of the diversity and complexities of communication in people with intellectual disabilities, drawing from her own work on exploring communication skills in young children, through to developing assessment strategies that address communication, reading, and mental health in adults. It will also draw on the work of doctoral candidates she hs supported to map the complexity. Teresa will discuss some of the fundamental human rights issues for people with complex communication needs. In so doing, we look forward to a greater appreciation of the role of communication in ensuring inclusive practicies can be made real for everyone.

Robyn Munford

Robyn is Professor of Social Work and Director of the Practice Research and Professional Development Hub, School of Health and Social Services, Massey University, New Zealand. She has qualifications in social work, disability studies and sociology and is the co-leader of a project researching young people’s pathways to resilience and a longitudinal project researching the transitions made by young people focusing on their work, education and life projects. Both projects are funded by the government agency, Foundation for Research Science and Technology. Robyn has extensive experience in disability and family research including research on family wellbeing using participatory and action research methodologies and has published internationally on this research. She has recently completed a research project that explored social and community practice in community-based settings. This project identified the factors that enable practitioners to effectively respond to the diverse needs of families and the support networks and interventions that make a positive difference for families. Robyn has published widely on social and community work theory and practice including strengths-based practice, disability studies; community development, bicultural practice and indigenous approaches; research methods and research ethics; children and young people; and, family wellbeing.

Plenary Presentation Title: Supporting families: Building strengths and resilience

Full Paper: Supporting families: Building strengths and resilience


This paper will explore how we can effectively support families and build nurturing and inclusive communities. It presents an approach that builds upon the strengths and competencies of families and begins with learning about what effective support means for them and for the person they are supporting. It adopts a person-centred and citizenship approach that is based on understanding the diversity of family life and focuses on how support services and systems can strive to uphold the rights of all family members to experience wellbeing.

The main learning points for this presentation include understanding how strengths approaches encourage practitioners to support families to develop resilience. Central to this is learning how services can directly respond to the requirements of families and do not, albeit often unintentionally, act as barriers to inclusion. The paper explores how strengths perspectives contribute to collaborative practice including how practitioners can form authentic and respectful relationships with families that enhance their coping skills and build long term strategies for enhancing family life. The provision of effective support to families is a community concern and learning to do this well is at the core of the processes that promote full participation of disabled people in all aspects of community life.

Averil Herbert (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Paretekawa, Kaputuhi)

Dr Averil Herbert has worked for over 30 years as a clinical psychologist in community and Māori settings. She has been active in promoting Māori-centred research and cultural competencies in research, training and practice.She has over 30 years working professionally in a range of agencies – secondary and polytechnic teaching, mental health and social welfare in Rotorua with a commitment to voluntary community work and Māori settings; tertiary teaching in psychology at the University of Waikato; research and academic contributions primarily Māori-centred research and cultural applications of psychological theory and practice; and research interests in Māori whānau health and well being and community support and intervention programmes.Dr Herbert received a Bachelor of Arts (1969) and Masters of Arts (First Class Honours) (1972) at Canterbury University with a thesis A job satisfaction survey in organisational psychology. Following clinical work at Tokanui Hospital and Rotorua Hospital in the 1970’s she completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology at Waikato University (1988). With an interest in cultural relevance of psychological theories and practice, she completed a clinical doctorate at Waikato University in 2003 with a thesis Whānau whakapakari: A Māori-centred approach to child rearing and parent-training programmes.

Plenary Presentation Title: Unity in Diversity: Cultural Imperatives in Disability Research and Practice


Culturally relevant clinical research provides useful psychological models and underpins effective and ethical practice. Olkin (1999) posits three Models of Disability affecting the way a disability is perceived. The moral ‘deficit’ model, the medical ‘paternalistic’ model, minority ‘environmental/systems’ model. The third model and most inclusive model sees disability as an external problem involving (i) an environment that needs to accommodate the culturally diverse needs of individuals and whānau and (ii) an environment that needs to acknowledge negative or uninformed societal attitudes. As such, this author highlights many parallels between the experiences of individuals with an intellectual disability and those of other minority groups.

Cultural imperatives in psychology research and practice in Aotearoa/New Zealand affirm (i) the utility of a Treaty of Waitangi framework in acknowledging diversity and disadvantaged groups (ii) the enlightenment of Māori-centred research, and (iii) opportunities for inclusiveness in developing a multicultural and culturally competent workforce. A future which will depend on understanding diverse worldviews in an increasingly multicultural workforce.

Susan Balandin

Susan Balandin trained as a speech pathologist in the UK and worked as a clinician focusing particularly on people with disability and little or no functional speech in Australia for many years. After completing her doctorate she worked at the University of Sydney and Molde University College Norway.She is currently Director at the Jessie Hetherington Educational Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington. She holds honorary professorial positions at the Universities of Sydney, Edith Cowan, and Helsinki. Her research interests focus primarily on adults with a life long disability and their communicative interactions, including health interactions. Recently she has conducted several projects focusing on the use of social media as a learning tool and for developing friendships. Susan is a coeditor of the Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, and has published widely in the field of lifelong disability.

Plenary Presentation Title: Virtual Worlds: A new tool for people with intellectual or developmental disability and those who support them.


Social networks, including virtual worlds offer a range of opportunities for recreation, learning, business and socialisation. Furthermore social networking is very much a 'way of life' for many people. Social networks have been identified not only as redefining modern social interactions but also as being instrumental in supporting and creating political change. The social network 'net' is wide and includes more than Twitter and Facebook. Universities offer lectures in virtual classrooms, support virtual library facilities and sites where students and others can 'hang out' and explore the virtual environment. In a virtual world it is possible to visit a virtual hospital, go skiing, attend concerts, dance, travel and engage in many other activities. The use of an avatar as a virtual representation of the person accessing the world means that users have freedom to be whatever they choose including whether to disclose a disability or not. Nevertheless, virtual worlds also have a darker side which may concern parents and those who support people with disability. Aspects of privacy must be guarded, there have been accusation of virtual violence against women, and, in common with the internet, there are many opportunities for gambling and a range of sites specializing in sex. Despite such potential disadvantages, the advantages of virtual world access are many. Virtual worlds are free to use, they offer opportunities for chance meetings as well as planned get togethers and enable users to participate in activities that are only dreamed of in the real world. Although not everyone with a disability can access or use a virtual world, the options of using voice or text means these worlds are accessible and available to many from their own computer at home.

Currently there are few reports on the use of virtual worlds for people with disability and these tend to focus on training, whereas most people use virtual worlds for social networking. In this presentation I will provide an overview of how virtual worlds have been used by people with intellectual and developmental disability. I will also discuss not only the advantages and disadvantages of virtual world use but also how they can be used by stakeholders in the field of disability to enhance social networks and recreation opportunities and develop innovative learning opportunities.

ASID Awards

The following Awards were presented during the ASID 2012 Conference.


In recognition of exceptional and significant contribution to the field of intellectual disability.


Director of the Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability

The School of Population Health
University of Queensland

For his contribution across several fields, including:



Award to:

Lecturer (Teaching and Research)

Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW


Research Fellow

Living with Disabilities Research Group

School of Allied Health
La Trobe University
Melbourne, Victoria

For proposal: "Sexuality during Transition to Adulthood: framing the tension between unwanted risks and promoting a healthy sexuality".