'Supporting Inclusion' is an online learning program which has been developed with you, the support worker, in mind. It can also be used by trainers or teachers to support their teaching. The purpose of this program is to create a space where disability support workers can think about what social inclusion means for people with intellectual disability, and learn or refresh some useful tools and strategies to support people with intellectual disability in ways that will promote their social inclusion.
The program is based on the principles of person centred active support, and is focused primarily on how this framework can be applied not just within supported accommodation services, but also out in the community.
The contents of this interactive online training program are the result of many years of research both in Australia and overseas. A substantial body of research evidence clearly shows that people with intellectual disability experience extreme forms of social exclusion. At the same time, our recent study on encounters between people with and without intellectual disability, also shows that disability support workers can play a crucial role in facilitating opportunities for people with intellectual disability to be more socially included.
How to Use this Online Learning Resource
You can access the online training program from any computer or tablet with internet access. If you prefer to work on a 'hard copy' or offline, you can also download the Workbook (in the resources section) and print it or save it to your computer. The Workbook contains all the material in the online program, except for the videos which must be viewed online.
he program is made of 8 modules and completing each of these modules should take no longer than 30 minutes, except for Module 2 which includes an activity that can take about two hours to complete. We encourage you to work through each of the 8 modules in order. You can do the training alone or as a group at your workplace in a team meeting for example. Each module includes short videos introducing key concepts and examples of support workers supporting service users out in the community. You can turn on English subtitles for each of the videos by clicking the "CC" button at the bottom of the video and choosing the "English CC" option.
ach module includes activities and questions that can be completed using the Workbook or the Activities Questions Booklet (both available for download in the resources section). The Activities Questions Booklet is a much shorter version of the Workbook, with just the activity questions. You can discuss your answers with supervisors and colleagues in team meetings.
The Supporting Inclusion can also be used as part of the formal training necessary towards the CHC43115 Certificate IV in Disability that is nationally recognised as part of the CHC Community Services Training Package. The program was mapped against the requirements of CHCDIS008 Facilitate Community Participation and Social Inclusion core Unit of Competency. Completing the online Supporting Inclusion resource fulfils some but not all of the requirements in this Unit of Competency. For further detail download the 'Program mapping' document in the resources section.
How this training program was produced
Many of the videos in this training program were produced in collaboration with the Ever After Theater Group that includes actors both with and without intellectual disability. These videos involve Ever After actors role-playing encounters between a person with intellectual disability, a support worker and a stranger or a friend. Although there was some improvisation by the actors, these scenes are not fictional. They are based on encounters that really did happen and were observed and recorded by researchers. These videos were produced in order to illustrate typical situations and in particular some of the things support workers do that can contribute to, or in some cases undermine, social inclusion for participants.
Funding and Credits
he online learning resource was funded by the Australian Research Council's (ARC) Linkage Scheme. It is a collaboration between La Trobe University, the University of New South Wales, Kent University, Yooralla and Jewish Care (Victoria).
We would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of many people who have contributed to the development of this training program.
In this module you will learn about the concepts of social exclusion and inclusion, their significance for people with intellectual disability and the concept of encounter as one aspect of social inclusion.
In the previous module we discussed random encounters with other people in the community as one way for people with intellectual disability to experience social inclusion.
There are many ways that you, as a disability support worker, can help create more opportunities for the people you support to experience such encounters with others in the community.
One way to do this is to support them to spend more time out in the community.
But in order to make the most out of time spent out in the community, in this module we consider which places in the community offer the best opportunities for encounters.
Let’s refresh our memory!
In Module 1 we discussed the limited social inclusion of people with disability.
In module 2 we already started thinking of ways you and other disability support workers could help amend this situation, for example by identifying ‘meeting places’ where service users can encounter other members of their community.
Before we move on to think of other ways you can support the people you work with to be more socially included, it is also important to step back and think why it is that people with intellectual disability experience such limited forms of social inclusion.
For any person, to experience social inclusion means leaving the relative convenience and privacy of home, and venturing out to the 'public realm'.
Often, this requires some planning. In previous modules we discussed some aspects of planning, for example planning where to go to. But there are other ways you can support a service user to plan their time out in the community in such a way that will not only make it more pleasant, but will also create opportunities for them to experience encounter and social inclusion.
As discussed in Module 3, people with intellectual disability often miss out on opportunities for encounter because of community attitudes, communication differences and staff practices.
Disability support workers can try to amend this situation by pro-actively trying to facilitate opportunities for encounter, when it is appropriate to do so.
In the previous modules we discussed the significance of encounters as a form of social inclusion. We also discussed how you, as a disability support worker, can make encounters happen, by informing service users about places to go to where they might find more opportunities for convivial encounters, and by supporting service users to initiate and respond to such opportunities.
But the role of support workers does not always end here. In some cases, you may be able to provide important support for the person you support to manage the encounter after it had started.
Often when a service user is engaged in an 'encounter' with another person, you will need to make careful judgment on whether it is appropriate for you to intervene at all, and if so, how.
Let's have a look at some of the options.
The research evidence shows that most encounters between people with intellectual disability and other people in their communities are positive, friendly encounters. But there are some more challenging encounters as well that involve risks to the service user, other community members and disability support workers. Sometimes the difficulty lies in the behaviours of a person with intellectual disability, sometimes in the behaviours of a stranger, and sometimes in the interaction and miscommunication between the two. In such challenging encounters you will face difficult dilemmas about how to deal with a service user or a stranger's behaviour. While there are often no absolute 'right' or 'wrong' answers to these questions, in this module we offer some ideas and guidance for support workers dealing with challenging encounters.
Congratulations! You have reached the final module of this online training program.
Let's take a moment to summarise and reflect on what we've learned.