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Seeking inclusion for all

Inaugural Chair of Disability and Inclusion calls for greater inclusion of people with disabilities.

Bruce Bonyhady talks NDIS

A snapshot of the National Disability Insurance Agency from the recent planning day.

TOBY Playpad engaged

More recognition for PRaDA's life-changing innovation.

Disability@Deakin team biographies

An image of Keith McVilly
Assoc. Prof. Keith McVilly
Associate Professor Keith McVilly is a Clinical Psychologist and Principal Research Fellow in the School of Psychology at Deakin University, Melbourne. He has a particular interest in working with and researching the support needs of adults with cognitive disability (e.g., Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Acquired Brain Injury) who present with severe challenging behaviours, including those with forensic profiles, together with the needs of support staff and family members.

Much of his research is conducted in applied settings, working directly with people with disability, their families and services providers. He has a keen interest in programme evaluation, and in examining the translation of research into policy and practice.

Keith has worked as a direct support worker, a clinician and service manager, in public health services and in private practice. He has worked as a researcher at the University of Sydney's Centre for Disability Studies, in the UK at the University of Wales' Welsh Centre for Learning Disabilities, and in the USA at the University of Minnesota's Research Centre on Community Living.

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

Keith is currently the Treasurer of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disability.

An image of Dominique Allen
Dr Dominique Allen
Dr Dominique Allen has published widely on Australian anti-discrimination law including on disability discrimination, human rights and promoting equality through proactive measures such as reasonable adjustments and positive duties. She is currently researching the role of statutory agencies in enforcing anti-discrimination laws.

Dominique completed her doctoral thesis at Melbourne Law School which evaluated Australia's existing anti-discrimination protections and proposed a series of reforms for improving the law's effectiveness at tackling discrimination and promoting equality. With Neil Rees and Simon Rice, she is the author of Australian Anti-Discrimination Law (Federation Press, 2014).

An image of Rob Carter
Prof. Rob Carter
Professor Rob Carter is an Alfred Deakin Professor and the Director of Deakin's Population Health Strategic Research Center.

Research experience

  • Chief Investigator, NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in Cerebral Palsy and responsible for health economic components of the research program.
  • Chief Investigator on an NHMRC Partnership application with Scope on service models in disability (under consideration).
  • On supervision panel for HDR student looking at assistive technology solutions: consumer experience, policy promise and potential outcomes.
  • Co-author of report on assistive technology.


  • Economic appraisal of new policies, services, procedures; including health technology assessment
  • Quality of life measurement
  • Health services research, including service models and funding arrangements in disability
  • PhD supervision
  • Teaching health economics

An image of Jenny Crosbie
Ms Jenny Crosbie
Jenny Crosbie holds a Bachelor of Arts (Disability Studies) from Deakin University and a Graduate Diploma (Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations) from the University of Melbourne.

Jenny has over 25 years experience in the disability sector in various roles. She was the CEO of Senswide, an employment service for people with disabilities and also the inaugural Executive Officer of the Disability Employment Services peak body. Jenny commenced employment with Deakin in 2004 in a research role in the school of Health and Social Development. She has worked on a number of projects in the areas of disability and reintegration of offenders.

In July 2013 Jenny was appointed the co-ordinator of Disability@Deakin.

An image of Julie Anderson
Ms Julie Anderson
Julie Anderson is the Project Officer at Disability@Deakin. Formerly a Community Pharmacist with a Masters in International and Community Development, Julie has been working as a research assistant for the past few years on a number of disability-related projects, including a project regarding the safeguarding of children with disability at the risk of abuse and neglect, and Picture My Future, which involved supporting people with intellectual disability through image-supported goal exploration. Julie's role at Disability@Deakin involves providing administrative support, as well as writing and managing content for the website.

Assoc. Prof. Lynne Adamson
Dr Lynne Adamson is Associate Professor, Occupational Science and Therapy in the School of Health and Social Development. A registered occupational therapist, Lynne has both a practice and academic background related to disability.

Her clinical practice has included acute medical services, spinal rehabilitation and mental health services, as well as management of health services.

Dr Cadeyrn Gaskin
Cadeyrn Gaskin is a Senior Research Fellow within the Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing Research, working predominantly with the Social Inclusion, Diversity and Equity group. Although passionate about social inclusion and equity issues in their broadest sense, his primary focus is on using research to foster opportunities for disabled people to engage meaningfully in wider society. Key areas of interest include reducing and eliminating restrictive practices (e.g., restraint, seclusion), promoting healthy behaviours (primarily involvement in physical activity), and enhancing mental health.

Cadeyrn has over a decade's experience in the mental health and healthcare research. His doctoral research, for example, contributed to understandings of why adults with cerebral palsy engage in, or avoid, physical activity. In the mental health field, his work is contributing to the shaping of health services such that they are more responsive to the needs of consumers.

With the growing international focus on the need to involve disabled people throughout the research process, Cadeyrn is in a unique position to contribute to research projects. Cadeyrn has a life-long disability, and draws on both his research background and his lived experiences of disability to enhance the quality of projects in which he is involved.

His work is published in leading journals, such as Disability & Society, Research in Developmental Disabilities, and the British Journal of Psychiatry. He contributes to the training and continued education of current and future healthcare practitioners through delivering guest lectures and providing content for books, such as Clinical exercise: A case-based approach (Elsevier, 2011).

Ms Elena Jenkin
Elena Jenkin is interested in the experiences of children with disabilities within development contexts. Applying community development and appreciative inquiry principles, Elena is interested in how inclusion is understood and experienced along with factors that influence inclusion and human rights. A Phd candidate, Elena has over twenty years' experience of working alongside children and adults with disabilities in Australia, the Pacific and Asia.

Prior to joining Deakin University, Elena was a consultant to the development sector with a focus on the 'how to' of disability inclusion in areas such as policy, programming, training, early intervention, community based rehabilitation, health and sign language interpreting. Research inquiry has centred around understanding the outcomes of disability inclusion and more recently, disability inclusion within health services and systems.

Commencing with Deakin in May 2013, Elena is undertaking participatory research through the Australian Aid Development Research Award Scheme (ADRA) titled "Voices of Pacific children with disabilities" based in Vanuatu and PNG. This innovative research involves developing inclusive participatory methods that enable the voices of children with disabilities to be heard.

An image of Helen Larkin
Ms Helen Larkin
Helen is a Senior Lecturer in the occupational science and therapy program at Geelong Waterfront Campus and a Teaching and Learning Coordinator for the School of Health and Social Development. Prior to commencing at Deakin University, Helen worked for over 30 years in a range of occupational therapy clinical, management and consultancy positions with a particular interest in the area of disability and related research.

Helen's teaching responsibilities focus primarily in the third year of the occupational therapy program and she also teaches into first and second year units within the School of Architecture and Built Environment. Here the focus of her teaching is on the universal design of built environments and their role in promoting participation of all people, regardless of ability. Helen's specific research interests are based around the scholarship of teaching and learning; specifically curriculum development and review, reflective practice, work integrated learning and inter-professional education particularly in the area of universal design practice.

Helen has received recognition for her teaching through a number of awards at both University level and nationally. In 2012 she was awarded the Smart Geelong Network Researcher of the Year Award (Living with a Disability Category) and in 2011 an ALTC Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. In 2013 Helen was awarded an Office for Learning and Teaching Award for Teaching Excellence.

An image of Susie Macfarlane
Dr Elizabeth Manning
Elizabeth Manning is a lecturer in economics at Deakin University's School of Accounting, Economics and Finance. She is also the mother of 16 year old Penny, who has Cerebral Palsy, as well as 3 boys. Elizabeth has always been interested in the economics of public policy, particularly international trade, and also the domestic tax system. More recently her personal experiences of public policy relating to disability has spurred an interest in research and comment in this area. Elizabeth is currently co-supervising a PhD student, Vanessa Hogarth-Scott, who is examining labour force participation of people with invisible disabilities.

An image of Susie Macfarlane
Ms Susie Macfarlane
Susie Macfarlane is an eLearning Education Developer in the Faculty of Health and is passionate about finding ways teach more inclusively and increase students' agency over their learning and assessment.

An image of Marita McCabe
Prof. Marita McCabe
Professor Marita McCabe has completed research in the areas of both intellectual and physical disability. Her research in intellectual disability has focused on sexuality and depression. She has examined factors related to sexuality, adjustment and financial stress among people with MS, MND, HD and Parkinsons.

Professor McCabe has received grants from beyondblue and ARC and has written over 30 refereed publication in the area of disability.

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Assoc. Prof. Jane McGillivray
A/Prof Jane McGillivray is Associate Head of School (Director of Postgraduate Professional Programs), Chair of the Doctor of Psychology (Clinical), and Associate Director of the Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing Research.

She is a registered clinical and health psychologist, who has longstanding practice, teaching and research experience in the disability domain. In particular, her work has focussed on the mental health and wellbeing of people with disabilities and has included the development and evaluation of anxiety and depression assessment protocols and intervention programs, tailored to meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders.

She has published in the area of restraint, including the use of psychotropic drugs to manage the behaviour of people with disabilities. Other research strengths include autism spectrum disorders in the criminal justice system, the impact of feeding difficulties on family interactions and stress, BMI, eating behaviours and physical fitness in people with disabilities.

A/Prof McGillivray has been successful in obtaining funding from beyondblue and the Victorian Department of Human Services and Corrections Victoria. A recent research highlight involves collaboration on an ARC linkage grant to develop a regular national pole of people with disabilities and the development of inclusive methodology to enable the participation of those who are commonly excluded (the 1 in 4 poll).

Her work has been published and presented internationally, and 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.

An image of Jan McGillivray
Ms Merrin McCracken
Merrin has worked in the disability field for over 30 years. She has a background as an Occupational Therapist, and returned to Deakin University (where she worked from 1995 - 1999 coordinating the Disability Resource Centre and developing the first Deakin Disability Discrimination Act Action Plan) in 2009, as Manager of Disability Services in Equity and Diversity.

Merrin has worked in statewide management and planning with a number of major disability service provider's across Victoria, including Scope and Vision Australia. She has experience in and a strong commitment to the development of inclusive practices in the community, and has managed projects that have contributed significantly to research and resource development for the disability sector and the community in areas including community access, early childhood intervention, decision-making and choice, and measuring outcomes in inclusion and education.

In the Higher Education sector she is a member of the Southern Higher Education Disability Network (SHEDN), and Vice President of the Australian Tertiary Education Network on Disability (ATEND) national committee.

An image of John Morss
Dr John Morss
John Morss received his PhD in 1980, based on a comparative study of the early cognitive development of children with Down's Syndrome. This research topic was prompted by voluntary engagement with children and adults with intellectual disabilities, and their families, in London and in Sheffield UK.

John also carried out (in Northern Ireland) some exploratory studies into the spatial awareness of school-age children with visual handicaps. He went on to teach human development in the Education Department of the University of Otago (NZ), an environment in which an inclusive and culturally sensitive approach to disability was a central commitment.

His current research interests in disability reflect his shift from psychology to law (especially international law) in the last decade, so that the impact of international agreements on the rights of people with a disability is a topic of interest. Questions of citizenship and other dimensions of social justice, are also of concern.

Judith Moyle
Judi Moyle (PhD, Master of Social Work, Bachelor of Social Work, Monash University) has worked over 30 years in the disability services sector, including: education, counselling, advocacy and support for parents and carers in Loddon Mallee Region.

She was the pilot Coordinator of the first rural Making a Difference brokerage and complex case management project in Loddon Mallee and established an Autism Steering Group to facilitate improved diagnosis and support for children with Autism in Loddon Mallee.

Judith is the Coordinator of disability programs Making a Difference, Family Options and the Puddle Jump House Respite facility in Warrnambool and Barwon South West and the Coordinator of Family Options and disability residential services with Oz Child in Southern Metro Region.

She has provided training for Early Childhood Intervention providers in Malaysia 2000 (sponsored by Oz Child International) and in 2002 returned to Malaysia to conduct research for PhD, explorating content on developmental disabilities in undergraduate medical curricula in Malaysia (Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria -Monash University).

Subsequently, Judi was a Lecturer and Human Relations Counselling Clinician at CDDHV until coming to Deakin early in 2013. While at CDDHV, Judi facilitated a collaborative partnership between Dr Carl Parsons, a specialist Speech Pathology educator from Department of Education, Victoria, University Kebangsaan Speech and Audiology School in Kuala Lumpur and with the Medicine and Health Sciences faculty at Sunway Monash University in Kuala Lumpur, comprising a number of development projects to improve content, exposure and experience with children with developmental disabilities for undergraduate health practicums at those universities.

Judi was also part of the developmental team for Health and Disability: Partnerships in Action, a multi-modal disability curricula package produced by CDDHV, 2008 and recently co-authored (with Dr Gillian Eastgate, QLD) a Chapter on Sexual Health Promotion in the publication Health Promotion for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

In February 2013 Judi commenced as the Unit Chair of Bachelor of Social Work Field Education and of a Unit in the Disability pathway at Deakin University.

An image of Kevin Murfitt
Dr Kevin Murfitt
Dr Kevin Murfitt is a lecturer and researcher in workforce diversity, and human rights and advocacy.

Areas of particular interest include:

  • Attitude change in employment of people with disability;
  • The impact of experiential interventions such as mentoring in fostering better inclusion of people with disability in the workforce and more generally;
  • The role people with disability themselves have in attaining human rights, and reducing those attitudinal and other barriers to employment and inclusion.

Kevin also has over 6 years experience on the Asia-Pacific Board of the World Blind Union assisting with capacity building of blindness organizations throughout Asia-Pacific such as Laos and Mongolia; and was also on the Pacific Disability Forum's Executive Committee from 2008 to 2012.

Relevant post-graduate qualifications:

  • 2010 - Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, Deakin University.
  • 2006 - PhD, Faculty of Health, School of Psychology, Deakin University.
  • 1992 - Bachelor of Arts (Journalism and Psychology) with Honours in Psychology, Deakin University.

An image of Saeid Nahavandi
Prof. Saeid Nahavandi
Professor Saeid Nahavandi received his PhD degree in Automation and Control in 1991 from Durham University (UK). He subsequently joined Massey University (NZ), where he taught Mechatronics, robotics and carried out modeling and simulation research.

In 1998 he joined Deakin University, Australia, where he is currently an Alfred Deakin Professor and holds the Chair in Engineering. He is also the founder and Director of the Centre for Intelligent System Research at Deakin University leading 60 researchers.

Professor Nahavandi's principal research interest is in human machine interaction, modeling and simulation. He has focused on designing theories and algorithms for modeling and forecasting, uncertainty quantification, and decision-making using advanced artificial intelligence and soft computing methods.

Professor Nahavandi has received over 20 national competitive grants (ARC) and many industry based research grants from companies such as ABB, Boeing, Ford, GM, Nissan, Vestas etc. He is an IEEE Senior Member, Fellow member of Engineers Australia (FIEAust) and Fellow of The Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET).

An image of Goetz Ottmann
Assoc. Prof. Goetz Ottmann
Dr Goetz Ottmann is Associate Professor and lead researcher of the Uniting Care Community Options/Deakin University research partnership. In this role he has developed research that aims at improving the quality of care received by people with disabilities and older people within a community care context.

His research focuses on the involvement of people with intellectual disabilities in decision-making processes and the safeguarding of clients against abuse and neglect.

An image of Pubudu Pathirana
Assoc. Prof. Pubudu Pathirana
Assoc. Prof. Pubudu N. Pathirana received his B.E, Bsc, and PhD from the University of Western Australian in 1996 and 2001 respectively and subsequently worked in Oxford University, UK, University of New south Wales and currently at Deakin directs a research group concentrating on assistive technologies in disability management, rehabilitation and sport.

His experience in the robotics, signal processing and computer communications are applied in addressing underlying issues pertaining to this area, concentrating specifically on systems involving wearable sensors, rehabilitation with bio-feedback, virtual and remote physiotherapy, remote sensing for respiratory applications involving sleep apnea and EMG based computer interaction for quadriplegics.

Assoc. Prof. Pathirana has a number of publications and research grants in this integrated system design area including funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC), Corporate Research Centres and National ICT Australia. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and serves in the editorial board of a number of journals including the International Journal of Advanced Robotics.

An image of Ding Phung
Assoc. Prof. Dinh Phung
Assoc. Prof. Dinh Phung has been working in the theory and application of machine learning for the last 10 years, making several original contributions in the areas of machine learning, data mining, health analytics and pervasive and multimedia computing.

In the past 5 years, he has published over 70 peer-reviewed publications and 2 patents, has been involved in the development of the award-winning TOBY Playpad technology for early intervention in autism, and has a track record of ARC funding, totalling over $1.4 million (as one of CIs).

In 2010, he shared the Curtin Innovation Award for developing innovative technology in autism early intervention. He received the International Research Fellowship from SRI International in 2005, Curtin Targeted Fellowship (over 4 years) in 2006, and an Early Career Research and Development Award in 2010.

Am image of Nicole Rinehart
Prof. Nicole Rinehart
Prof. Nicole Rinehart (BA(Hons), MClin. Psych, PhD (Monash), MAPS, CClin. College) holds the appointments of Professor, Clinical Psychology, Deakin University, Honorary Research Fellow, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, and Adjunct Professor, Clinical Psychology at Monash University.

She has published over 70 Journal articles and book chapters on autism, Asperger's disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). She has been involved in research grants for neurodevelopmental disorders totaling over 4 million dollars of funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council, ARC, Neurosciences Victoria, and other international funding bodies.

Nicole currently supervises a large group of PhD and Clinical Doctoral Students. Nicole has a broad profile of engagement with the community, including consultation (Clinical Psychologist) at the Melbourne Children's Clinic, and regular engagement with schools in the community. She has contributed to the NHMRC Clinical Practice Statement for ADHD and the revision of the Australian Therapeutic Guidelines for Developmental Disabilities. Nicole is a member of the Editorial Board for the American Journal of Autism.

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Dr Russell Shuttleworth
Russell Shuttleworth is a senior lecturer in Social Work, School of Health and Social Development. He is the Master of Social Work Course Leader and also teaches the research sequence in the Bachelor of Social Work Course. He has a Master of Social Work and a PhD in medical anthropology.

Russell's practice involved counselling/casework/referral for elderly and physically disabled persons, and he was also a long-time support-worker for men with physical impairments in the U.S. In 2002-03 he was a fellow in the Ed Robert's Disability Studies Fellowship Program at the University of California, Berkeley. He continued working with that program until 2007 to build the profile of disability studies and taught classes such as anthropology and disability and social work and disability.

At the University of Sydney, Russell's primary appointment was in Sexual Health, and he taught classes in sexuality and disability, sexuality and ageing and qualitative research methods, among others. Russell's research expertise is in qualitative methods and critical-interpretive theoretical perspectives. He has conducted disability-related research on issues such as sexuality, gender, leadership, access to health care contexts for persons with speech impairment, as well as a process evaluation of several disability programs.

He has also conducted research on both psychogeriatric and sexuality issues in aged care. Russell is currently part of an ARC Discovery Project researching the transition to adulthood for young people with impairments, employing life history methods. He is a long-time supporter of the Disability Movement and is currently working alongside a group of young disabled adults in Victoria advocating for their sexual rights.

A image of John Tourbourou
Prof. John Toumbourou
Professor Toumbourou is the Chair in Health Psychology within the School of Psychology at Deakin University and an Associate Director of the Deakin University Strategic Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing Research.

He has published over 260 papers, 130 in peer-refereed journals. Professor Toumbourou has been influential internationally and nationally in assisting the development of research and practice in the fields of prevention science and health psychology. This work has relevance to preventing modifiable causes of disability including: child neglect and abuse; foetal alcohol symptoms; and injury. He has received international awards for his contributions to prevention science and has been influential in reshaping Australian health policies to more effectively prevent adolescent alcohol and drug misuse and related problems such as teen pregnancy.

He serves as the voluntary Chief Executive Officer of the not-for-profit company Communities That Care Ltd, which is auspiced by the Royal Children's Hospital and supported by the Rotary Club of Melbourne. Communities That Care Ltd., offers a prevention science community training system that can reduce causes of disability while also encouraging volunteering and prosocial behaviours that can increase mentorship and social support for people with a disability.

A image of Svetha Venkatesh
Prof. Svetha Venkatesh
Professor Venkatesh has developed frontier technologies in large scale pattern recognition exemplified through over 150 publications in the last 5 years.

She and her team have tackled a wide range of problems of societal significance, including the critical areas of autism, security and aged care. The outcomes have impacted the community and evolved into publications, patents, tools and spin-off companies - recent examples include iCetana: Winner, The Broadband Innovation Award, Tech23, 2010 and Winner, WA Innovator of the Year, 2011 and TOBY Playpad: Winner, Commercialisation Award, Curtin University 2010. The TOBY team were also awarded the Excellence in International Education - Research Engagement award at the Victorian International Education Awards, 2013.

She is a Fellow of the International Association of Pattern Recognition and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. She has won approximately $7 million in competitive research funding in the last 5 years. Professor Venkatesh has just been awarded the Barwon Health Researcher of the Year at the recent Smart Geelong awards.

A image of Valerie Watchorn
Ms Valerie Watchorn
Valerie is a lecturer in the occupational therapy program within the School of Health and Social Development. Valerie is actively involved in the education of undergraduate occupational therapy students across the four year levels including supporting and liaising with fieldwork partners across healthcare and community settings. In her teaching role, Valerie covers a range of issues relating to the health and wellbeing of all people, including those that experience disability. Broadly speaking, these include consideration of the range of personal and environmental factors that influence people's participation across all domains of life and the development of strategies that enhance participation. Specific areas of interest include assistive technology, environmental access and design and the many socio-political factors that influence the availability of these enablers.

Valerie has been involved in education on issues relating to disability for many years and has worked with a wide range of groups including post-graduate health professionals, attendant carers, pharmacy students, medical students, architects, builders and others. Within her current role, Valerie is actively involved in an ongoing inter-professional collaboration on Universal Design of built environments between the School of Architecture and the School of Health and Social Development.

As an occupational therapist Valerie has extensive experience working with children and adults who experience disability due to a range of personal and environmental factors. Valerie has worked in community based services both in metropolitan and regional settings in Victoria and overseas.

Assoc. Prof. Erin Wilson
Assoc. Prof. Erin Wilson is a Senior Lecturer at Deakin University where she co-ordinates the major pathway in People, Society and Disability within the Bachelor of Health Sciences. She holds a doctoral degree in Social Work and Social Policy in the field of community development.

Erin is an active researcher in the area of inclusive community, disability, and disadvantaged groups with a special interest in community development practice. Erin is also active in supporting the capacity of the disability sector to undertake research and use the evidence base to influence practice and policy.

Her current research in disability focuses on outcomes measurement, inclusive practice and human rights in both Australian and developing country contexts, and has recently been awarded an AusAID Development Research Award along with other colleagues at Deakin. She is a leader in the area of measurement of outcomes resulting from the provision or services and supports and effective policy. She has worked with a range of disability and mental health sector agencies, as well as government, to establish outcome frameworks and outcome measurement instruments.

She has previously undertaken research in the area of effective policy in regard to Assistive Technology provision. Erin has a special interest in research methods that enable the participation of people with disability as researchers, respondents and in advocating change based on research findings.

Erin currently supervises Honours and Higher Degree Research candidates in the following areas: outcomes of assistive technology; supported decision making; effects of the NDIS on young adults; participative program evaluation methods; among others.

Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

27th February 2015