Teachers and Schools

The following are some of the workshops for teachers and schools that have been presented over time.  All workshops can be adapted for specific needs and certificates can be provided for attendees to use for teacher registration evidence. For more details and costs contact

  • Why include?
  • Inclusion:  What works?  
  • Building Relationships
  • Changing a school to an inclusive one.
  • Challenging our assumptions.

For details and more examples,

click here


The following are some of the workshops for families that have been presented over time.  All workshops can be adapted for specific needs and groups.  For more information contact

Building a vision: Every family that we have worked with that has achieved an ordinary, valued life for their son or daughter has had a clear vision.  This is best if carefully constructed with key individuals who support you and your son or daughter, written down and widely shared.  This workshop looks in detail about how this vision can be developed with examples of what has been achieved by others.

Constructing Valued Roles:  Valued Roles are who we are and are known to others.  If we think about it we have a very large number of valued roles — partner, home owner, employee, friend, colleague, driver ….  However people with disability often have no valued roles at all.  Even the family roles of son, daughter, cousin etc may have been lost over time.  This does not mean they are role-less.  They are given stereotyped roles of menace, burden, eternal child, object of pity/charity etc.  Even one valued role (such as getting a real job) can dramatically improve a person’s life and lead to many other roles.  This workshop looks in depth at the importance of valued roles and how they can be constructed.  Many real examples.

Why Include? Familes are often told almost from birth that their chid will do better in a segregated environment with other people with disability.  This is very tempting with promises of lots of therapy, individualised attention, small groupings and welcome staff compared to the reaction of mainstream often being reluctance or even hostility.  This workshop goes into the moral, practical and evidence base for inclusion in school and society.  Inclusion is a fundamental human right of all children.

Teaching Reading:  Reading is a key skill in modern society but the sad fact is that many students finish high school with poor levels of reading or in some cases they are functionally illiterate.  Students with disability are at extreme danger of this due to the teaching of reading ceasing at grade 3, with the emphasis moving to ‘reading to learn’ rather than ‘learning to read’.  However, we have been working with families teaching their child with disability to read from as young as 2 years old, and with teachers to accelerate the learning rate of mainstream students in high school to an average of 300%.

Teaching skills:  Parents of children with disability often find that the ways that they taught their other children do not seem to work with the child with a disability.   This may lead  them to be doing things for their child for months or even years when the child is quite capable of learning the skill if we break it down and teach systematically.

The advocate’s toolbox:  Families, it seems without exception, experience difficulty with their child’s education if they have a disability.  This is always very difficult to handle — to insist on what you want and get the changes that you need without alienating the school.  There are many strategies that families need to help them navigate this very tricky journey.

Building belonging: A common experience of people with disability is building and maintaining relationships.  We have thousands of years of history of people with disability at the margins of society and the pressure for segregation means that they often have little belonging in the general society and schools.  There are a range of things that we can do to build belonging and active contribution of people with disability.

Preparing for Transitions:  In life there are many transitions that are crucial to our development:  Home to school; Class to class; primary to high; high to post school; home to independent living.  For people with disability these transitions can be overwhelming and may result in a person not coping well with difficulties arising that can have major impacts.  The more planning that we can put into these transitions, the more likely that we will be able to remove or reduce many of the barriers that add extra difficulty for them.

What is the law anyway?    The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Disability Education Standards 2005 are both strongly supportive of students with disability being include in the general class and lesson.  The United Nations Committee on the Rights of People with Disability (CRPD), which Australia has ratified, sets inclusion as a human right of all students and the responsibility of education systems to engage in systemic change to ensure this occurs.  

Teacher aides:  Parents often want to have a teacher aide attached to their child but the research indicates this is a very poor arrangement academically and socially.  However, teacher aides can be extremely useful if used well.  We need to develop strategies to maximise their effectiveness for building independence and social contacts for all students and students with disability in particular.

Common life experiences of people with disability:  Right from birth, people with disability can experience a series of’ wounding experiences’ such as rejection, stereotyping, segregation and congregation and often, violence and abuse.  Often this is subtle and done with the best of intentions but nevertheless can still cut deeply.  It is essential that those involved with people with disability are very aware of these wounds if they are to avoid doing great harm unknowingly.  A challenging workshop as it can confront us with our own unconsciousness of personally doing harm.

History of disability: The history of disability is extremely dark so this workshop is confronting and not for the faint hearted.  However if we do not know the history we may find ourselves repeating it. 


Building Belonging.  A reality for many people with disability is that they live a life with few relationships outside of paid staff.  When we consider the crucial impact that the range of relationships has on our self esteem and who we are to know that this area is critical to the good life.  In this workshop a range of highly practical and powerful strategies are discussed with opportunities to plan for the building of relationships in a wide range of challenging situations.

Common life experiences of people with disability and factors contributing to devaluation.  This workshop looks at common wounds experienced by people with disability and how many service processes commonly used contribute to these wounds and devaluation.  The power of imagery and the role of unconsciousness are covered to demonstrate the subtle and insidious nature of devaluation.  Developing valued roles as a strategy to counter devaluation is introduced.

Valued Roles and the path to an ordinary life.  Our life is full of valued roles.  They define who we are, are critical to our self esteem and automatically give us access to many of the good things in life.  However, many people with disability may have no social roles at all.  Even the family roles of son or daughter, niece or nephew may have been lost in effect over time.  However they are not role-less.  They are likely to be given stereotyped roles such as menace, eternal child, object of pity, burden and asexual or sexual threat.  These negative roles tend to keep them at the margins of society in a parallel world of segregation.  However even one powerful valued role such as a real job can change their life.  Others start to see them as a contributing individual, relationshps are made and other ife roles such as independent community member become more likely.  This workshop gives examples of how this can, and has been done.

Values and their centrality to service quality.  As soon as one provides a service to another human being one is in the moral domain.  This means that the underpinning values of the organisation will be critical to the ultimate service provided.  In this workshop the values in human service will be deeply analysed with the results likely to shock participants when the level of unconsciousness in human services is uncovered.   Alternative values and assumptions however can transform a human service to reflect the conscious ideals that the service aspires to.

Model Coherency development and evaluation.  All human service models are composed of 4 major parts:  The beliefs and values underpinning the service; the individual service users and their needs; the particular life area that the service addresses, and the processes by which the service is delivered.  In most services for valued people these aspects are coherent with each other resulting in a service that is relatively effective at meeting need.  However many services for devalued people are incoherent with a poor or even damaging service outcome for the service users.  This workshop analyses human services and shows how the approach of model coherency development or evaluation can be a powerful tool for dramatically improving service quality.

Disability awareness training.  Many community services, City Councils, businesses and community organisations have staff interacting with people with disability who may not have an awareness of how to positively interact with them. Similarly minor issues of accessibility can dramatically affect the quality of life of those individuals.  In this workshop, jointly presented with a colleague with a lifelong significant disability, participants will have an opportunity to reflect on how they interact with people can have a very positive impact to the benefit of everyone.