A particular focus of my research is on the mental health needs and wellbeing of people with disabilities and has included the development and evaluation of assessment protocols and intervention programs tailored to meet the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It has also included an examination of the use of psychotropic drugs to manage the behaviour of people with disabilities.
Other research projects and interests include:
Evaluation of group programs for the treatment of depression in people with intellectual disabilities and people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD);
The drug and alcohol treatment needs of offenders with intellectual disability, ASD in the criminal justice system;
The measurement of subjective wellbeing in people with intellectual disabilities;
Enhancing resilience in young people with disabilities;
Sleep interventions in school aged children with ASD;
Emotional distress in young adults with ASD;
Hording behaviours in children with ADHD;
Health literacy in people with intellectual disabilities; and
Improving our understanding of health, sleep, physical activity and motor development in young children with Autism.
I have a leadership role on the executive of the Deakin Child Study Centre, and the Centre of Mental Health and Wellbeing Research. My work has been primarily funded by beyondblue, the Victorian Department of Human Services and Corrections Victoria, as well as Australian Research Council linkage grants.
My work has been published and presented internationally, and my contribution has been recognized through award of an Australian Society for the Study of Intellectual Disability National Research Prize for the most innovative contribution by an Australian author.
As the Director of the Professional Programs in the School of Psychology and Course Director of the Doctor of Psychology (Clinical), I have a substantial role in curriculum development, design of assessment tasks, and mapping of content across units. I co-ordinate and teach into clinical units, most particularly the Psychological Interventions and Case Analysis units. My teaching is informed by my research and practice as a clinical and health psychologist.
My teaching expertise includes the adaptation and delivery of psychological assessment and interventions across the lifespan and particularly for people with intellectual disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and cognitive impairments resulting from injury and aging.
I have led the establishment of a clinical competency development team, with a focus on the development, implementation and evaluation of innovative teaching practices to enhance and to assess clinical competencies in trainee psychologists. The teaching initiatives arising from this team include the use of role-play and reflective practice, the development of high quality simulation resources and the introduction of the introduction of Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs). We continue to develop an evidence base for teaching practice, and present and publish this work. Our team (Sheen, Gurtman and McGillivray) were winners of the Victorian Government 2014 People in Health – Metropolitan Educators Award, as well as the Deakin University 2014 WJC Banks Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Learning.
Australian Society for the Study of Intellectual Disability 2001 National Research Prize for the most innovative contribution by an Australian author which resulted in positive life changes for people with an intellectual disability.
Distinguished Service Award (1992-2007) in appreciation of contribution and commitment as a member of the Intellectual Disability Review Panel - a quasi-judicial tribunal established under the provisions of the Intellectually Disabled Person's Services Act 1986.
Victorian Government 2014 People in Health – Metropolitan Educators Award for outstanding contribution to the training and development of current and future health workers.
Deakin University 2014 WJC Banks Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Learning.