Stephen Thomson

The concept of inclusion in Australian Indigenous culture: How is the concept of inclusion used as a response to differences such as disability in Australian Indigenous cultures?

The focus of the research is a response to perceptions of disability within the communities and cultures of Australian Indigenous peoples. There is no word for disability within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language where the traditional response has simply been inclusion. The world view of Australia’s Aboriginal and Islander communities’ features inclusivity and reciprocity where those of the community are included within community with adjustments made for differences. Individuals with disability have not been labelled or separated unless of course they were not able to participate. This lack of systematised response to disability means that explaining the need for diagnosis and assistance becomes difficult to communicate, particularly in an educational setting. How then is proper support offered and applied, if a product of confirming disability through diagnosis is family and community dysfunction? The question I would like to research is; How is the concept of inclusion used as a response to differences such as disability in Australian Indigenous Cultures?  A qualitative approach will be adopted in which a case study or studies are undertaken through the collection of data through observation and interviews.

Principal Supervisor: A/Prof Beth Saggers

Associate Supervisor: Dr Judith Howard