Individualised Supported Living Project – Curtin University

The Project

In 2007, the School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work at Curtin University in Western Australia, began a project to examine the characteristics and outcomes achieved when adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities were provided with necessary support to enable them to live in their own homes.

They were influenced by the appropriateness of the strong movement away from congregate options for adults with disabilities, particularly from institutions and group homes.

The aim of the project was to learn more about the characteristics of Individual Supported Living (ISL) in order to inform, educate, and influence greater “take-up” of these options by families and support services to enhance the lives of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

An increasing number of families were seeking individual options for their sons and daughters and small, specialist NGOs were emerging to provide support to families and adults with disabilities to enable this to occur.

They were also influenced by the development of Local Area Coordination which was “tailor made” to provide the kinds of support that were needed at the time, and the introduction of individualised funding, both of which were first developed in WA around 1980.

Finally, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was very clear about the rights of adults with disabilities to choose where and with whom they lived.

The 3-stage research project was initially named the “Personalised Residential Supports Project” which was renamed in the second stage as the “Individual Supported Living (ISL) Project”.

Early on we made a clear distinction between the terms “independent” and “individual”, with no intention that independence was a requirement before people could live in a home of their own.

The first two stages were supported by two small grants from the WA Lotteries Commission, and the third stage by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant. All three stages were well supported by many NGOs, families, and persons with disabilities. The third stage introduced research colleagues from Deakin (latterly, Melbourne) University, and Sydney University.

Click here to download the Final Report of the third stage of the research. It provides background detail and the outcomes of evaluating 130 examples of ISL “arrangements” in WA, Victoria, and NSW.

Click here to download the Individualised Supported Living Manual

Click here to download the Individualised Supported Living Review Scoring Booklet