An approach to research and policy from the perspective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability

Despite the high prevalence of disability among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, not enough is known about the true extent and nature of disability.  

The absence of quality Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific disability research is a major risk in the implementation of key national policy priorities, including the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Closing the Gap in Indigenous Disadvantage.

FPDN is running a research program to address the gap in research and what it means for understanding the unmet needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability. Our research uses a community-driven, grounded approach to capture narratives of our people’s lived experience of disability. By ensuring that we collect qualitative data our research reflects what matters most in disability policy and services from the perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The research methods are designed to be inclusive of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and to reveal the important data that has previously remained hidden when traditional Western approaches to research are applied. Our approach respectfully shares the stories of First Peoples with disability ‘living our ways’ through the telling of oral histories and art.

The outcomes of our research will be used to formulate priorities for research and policies affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.  

FPDN has established an Academic Advisory Panel to provide the highest standard of academic oversight. We have also established relationships with key government agencies to ensure that the research can be translated in a way that drives systemic and policy change that benefits Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.
FPDN’s research is supported by a two-year grant through the National Disability Research Development Scheme.

FPDN also represents Australia regularly on the global stage at international conferences, and at the United Nations in Geneva and New York sharing insights and information relating to disability, social justice, human rights and Indigenous affairs.

Our research publications are available here.