Research project highlights
ALLPlay Program (2016–2020)
ALLPlay is a national project that aims to provide equal access to sport for children of all abilities, with research informed by young children living with disabilities, their families, coaches, and experts.
ALLPlay seeks to create a culture of inclusion in sport by breaking down the systematic barriers faced by children with developmental challenges or disability so that they too can enjoy the physical, mental, and social development benefits of organised sport, and have increased opportunities to get involved.
- Director – Professor Nicole Rinehart
- National Inclusion (All Abilities) Manager – Logan Whitaker
- Project Manager – Tracy Taylor
- Research fellows – Dr Carmel Sivaratnam, Dr Tamara May, and Dr Nicole Papadopolous
- Digital Advancement Director – Associate Professor David Austin
- Online Resources Developer – Matthew Chong
- Deakin AFL Scholar – Shawn Stevenson
- ALLPlay Ph.D. Scholar – Katherine Howells
- Research assistants – Bridget Kennedy, Jeremy Quek, Chloe Emonson, Stephanie Merkouris, and Gavin Duarte
- Interns – Caroline Horvat, Hannah Blayden
ALLPlay Footy, the first initiative within ALLPlay, is designed to support children with developmental challenges or disability to feel comfortable, engaged, and enjoy participating on the footy field. To understand the benefits of participating in organised sport such as Auskick at a young age for children with disability, this program will examine the physical, emotional, and social improvements in 5–12 year old children with a disability using a pre-post study design, as well as a community survey.
Benefits will be investigated by comparing children involved in the Auskick program over this period with those who are not. Understanding the personal and family benefits of children with disability participating in organised sport will inform future evidence-based practice where sport such as Auskick may be prescribed from a young age to help aid the mental and physical development of these children.
The ALLPlay Footy website and free companion app provide coaches, parents and clubs access to handy tips and information on making Auskick a safe and inclusive space for children who may have a developmental delay or disability. This project is led by the DCSC at Deakin University in partnership with the AFL and the NDIA, and research collaborators at Charles Darwin University, Perth’s Telethon Institute and The University of Melbourne.
ALLPlay Footy is funded by Moose Toys ($1 million), Jonathan and Simone Wenig, and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) as part of an Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) National Readiness Grant. The Geelong Community Foundation has provided an additional $60,000 for the 2017–2019 period to support the development of cerebral palsy-specific resources for the ALLPlay website.
Inclusive Sports Program
To enable children of all abilities and disabilities to participate in sport together – and ultimately enjoy the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive benefits of sport and recreation.
Generously funded by a grant of $400,000 from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) over one year, the Inclusive Sports Program aims to enable children of all abilities to participate in sport together and ultimately enjoy the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive benefits of sport and recreation. There are three components to this overall study: a desktop review, community survey and coaches inclusion program.
The desktop review aims to identify all sporting clubs in Australia for which there is freely available web-based material for parents that includes information about the club’s inclusion approach or the specific opportunities they provide for children with a disability. Findings will be used to develop an online directory of inclusive sporting organisations that are freely available for parents, children, coaches and clubs seeking inclusive sporting opportunities for children in Australia. The community survey aims to understand what parents, sporting coaches and children feel are the barriers and facilitators to inclusive physical activity programs for Australian children (aged 4–17 years) with a disability. Finally, the coaches inclusion program aims to provide tips and resources to coaches on how to support children of all abilities. This program will be derived from information on which practices facilitate the inclusion of diverse children.
Paradoxically, children with special needs are often excluded from sport but are the most susceptible to the problems that sport and recreation address, such as lifestyle diseases, social isolation and mental illness. The Inclusive Sports Program is designed to address this paradox.
ALLPlay BETTAFooty (2017–2020)
ALLPlay BETTAFooty is an evidence-based, culturally-tailored training program and toolkit to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities identify children with developmental disabilities and enable them to participate in local NAB Auskick football via the ALLPlay program.
NDIA has continued their support of the ALLPlay program, providing 12 months of pilot funding for ALLPlay BETTAFooty through an ILC National Readiness Grant of $493,917. Also previously having contributed to the development of the ALLPlay Footy Auskick program, Moose Toys, ALLPlay’s main philanthropic donor, have generously donated another $1 million over four years to support the ongoing development of the ALLPlay BETTAFooty program as a national initiative.
ALLPlay Dance (2017–2018)
The ALLPlay Dance program will bring the benefits of ALLPlay to the dance community by providing evidence-based resources to enable participation of children and young people with disabilities in inclusive dance programs around Australia. ALLPlay Dance is funded by NDIA, with a $627,580 ILC National Readiness Grant.
Sleeping Sound with Autism Spectrum Disorder
The Sleeping Sound with Autism Spectrum Disorder study aims to examine the efficacy of a brief behavioural sleep intervention in treating sleep problems in primary school aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Efficacy of the sleep program will be evaluated by comparing children who receive the sleep program with children who do not and its effect on a range of social, behavioural and parent wellbeing outcomes. The outcomes of the brief behavioural Sleeping Sound intervention will provide a much needed evidence-based intervention to improve sleep and broader wellbeing in children with ASD. To register to participate in the study, visit the Sleeping Sound ASD website.
Sleeping Sound Special Needs
This project, titled 'Sleeping Sound Special Needs: A feasibility pilot study', is funded by a Faculty of Health Postdoctoral Research Fellowship over a two-year period from 2016–2018. This research aims to conduct a novel cross-sectional study characterising sleep problems of children (aged 6-13 years) with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who also have an Intellectual Disability (ID) and examining key correlates of sleep problems in ASD+ID, as well parents’ perspectives and preferences for sleep interventions. The study will also involve a small pilot investigation of a brief behavioural sleep intervention in children with ASD+ID. Findings from this study will result in a significant advance in the treatment of sleep problems in children with ASD+ID.
Joy of Moving Australia
Ferrero’s international foundation (Kinder + Sport) have donated $880,000 over a four-year period from 2017–2020 to establish the Joy of Moving Australia (JoMA) research project, titled 'Getting children moving: An evaluation of the effectiveness of the "Joy of Moving" program in Australian primary school aged children'.
This partnership will allow Deakin University to conduct an evidence-based research program, which aims to be the preferred physical activity program that is available to all Australian primary school-aged children and endorsed by experts. This study will see the development and evaluation of an Australian first JoMA program to promote physical activity for all young Victorians.
The program will be evaluated for its effectiveness in improving children’s engagement in physical activity and physical fitness, as well as a holistic range of child outcomes such as motor, social, emotional and cognitive function. In addition, we will develop evidence-based resources based on our research expertise for children with developmental disorders to ensure that the resources are inclusive of children of all abilities regardless of the child’s physical, psychological or social disadvantage.
Professor Nicole Rinehart
BA (Hons), MClin Psych (Deakin), PhD (Monash), MAPS, APS College of Clinical Psychologists
Professor of Psychology (Clinical), Deakin University; Director, Deakin Child Study Centre, Deakin University; Honorary Fellow, Critical Care and Neurosciences Theme, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute; Clinical Psychology (Paediatric) Consultant, Melbourne Children’s Clinic.
Professor Jane McGillivray
B.B.Sc (Hons Psych), M.Psych (Clin), DHSci (Deakin), MAPS, APS College of Clinical Psychologists, APS College of Health Psychologists
Associate Head of School (Director of Postgraduate Professional Programs), School of Psychology, Deakin University; Deputy Director, Deakin Child Study Centre, Deakin University.
Associate Professor Peter Enticott
Associate Professor of Psychology (Cognitive Neuroscience), Psychologist, Deakin University; Adjunct Associate Professor, Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc), Central Clinical School, Monash University.
Associate Professor David Austin
BBus, GDipPsych, GDipAppSci, PhD (Monash)
Director, eMental Health Unit (e-MHU), School of Psychology, Deakin University
Director, Digital Advancement, School of Psychology, Deakin University
Associate Professor Melissa O'Shea
BA (Hons) (Swinburne University), PhD (Monash)
Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, School of Psychology, Deakin University
Dr Emma Sciberras
BA, Grad Dip Psych, DPsych (CClin), MAPS
Senior Lecturer, Clinical Psychologist, Deakin University; Honorary Research Fellow, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Research Staff/Research Fellows
|Katherine Howells (PhD)|
|Karin Dicander (Clinical Masters)|
|Christina Martin (DPsych)|
|Nicola Read (DPsych)|
|Kieran Thorpe (Masters by Research)|
|Samuel Pearce (DPsych)|
|Moira Whelan (PhD)|
|Bianca Liew (Clinical Masters)|
|Simone Thomas (PhD)|
|Michael Barham (PhD)|
|Pam Barhoun (PhD)|
|Soukanya Bekkali (PhD)|
|Felicity Bigelow (PhD)|
|Jed Burgess (PhD)|
|Lara Fernandez (PhD)|
|Jason He (PhD)|
|Claire McNeel (PhD)|
|Dinisha Parmar (DPsych)|
|James Plumridge (PhD)|
|Nicole Sloan (DPsych)|
|Kate Stephens (PhD)|
|Anna Ware (PhD)|
|Kristyn Windsor (DPsych)|
Adjunct members/honorary staff
|Emeritus Professor Bruce Tonge|
|Associate Professor Jennifer McGinley|
|Professor Katrina Williams|
|Professor Patricia Howlin|
|Dr Anna Murphy|
Collaborators and partners
Thank you to the DCSC major partners:
- The Australian Football League (AFL)
- Ferrero Rocher Kinder + Sport
- National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
- Moose Toys.
The DCSC is also proudly associated with:
- Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI)
- National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS)
- School Sports Victoria (SSV)
- Telethon Kids Institute.
- The Alfred
- Royal Children’s Hospital
- Monash Health.
- Charles Darwin University
- Monash University
- The University of California (UCLA)
- The University of Melbourne
- University of Strathclyde
- The University of Western Australia.
+61 3 9244 6712
Email the Deakin Child Study Centre