Supporting Aboriginal people with a disability to live a good life

Artwork created by NPYWC Director Margaret Smith to represent the project: Adults with a disability living a good life in the NPY Lands

Adults with a disability living a good life in the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Lands was presented by Centre for Remote Health, Allied Health Academic, Heather Jensen at the National Occupational Therapy conference in Perth in August.

Heather’s paper was based on the preliminary results of a research project, instigated by NPY Women’s Council (NPYWC) in collaboration with Sydney University, Centre for Remote Health (CRH) and the Poche Centre in Alice Springs.

Anangu (Aboriginal people from the NPY lands) and service providers agreed that some of the determining factors in living a good life include:

  • the importance of country and family
  • challenges experienced by carers
  • violence, vulnerability and disadvantage
  • the need for aids and equipment

Anangu were also concerned with immediate issues such as housing and food security, while the focus for service providers was on the challenges of providing services in this context.

The results of this research will be incorporated into CRH courses, in particular Working with People with Disabilities in Remote and Indigenous Communities offered in Alice Springs, and recently for the first time in Adelaide.

Heather also presented The Purple House: Occupational therapy practice in an Aboriginal community controlled organisation which compared models of Occupational Therapy practice with the philosophy of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations based on her experience at the Purple House in Alice Springs.


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Centre for Remote Health (CRH)