Research to probe how disabled adults cope with change

09 February, 2012

How adults with disabilities cope with a major change in their life will be investigated in a year-long research project led by a Charles Sturt University (CSU) academic.

Dr Clare Wilding with CSU’s School of Community Health is collaborating with Northcott Disability Services to collect  stories about  how people with a long-term disability have experienced a major transition in their life, such as moving house, getting married, changing jobs, retiring, winning a major prize, chasing a lifetime goal, or experiencing the death of someone close to them.

"Transitions can affect anyone. Sometimes they are expected, sometimes they are a surprise. Sometimes you can seek a change, and sometimes change is beyond your control," said Dr Wilding, who is based in Albury-Wodonga.

"I am looking at how people experience transitions in their lives. This may be a change in their work, or living situation, or significant relationships or health. These events can change the way they live, what they do, where they live or with whom they live."

Dr Wilding is seeking stories of coping with change from people living in NSW and aged between 45 and 60 years who have had a physical, intellectual or mental health disability since childhood. People wanting to participate can submit their story via an online survey, by post, or by emailing an audio or video recording of their story. If preferred, they could tell their story in a phone interview with Dr Wilding. 

Carers of adults who have had a disability since childhood may act as a proxy for the person they care for and submit a story on that person’s behalf.

"Using the stories that we gather, we want to find out what can help people during times of transition, including therapies," Dr Wilding said. 

"The research will be reported to the NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care to be used to help plan future services for people with disabilities in NSW, so this is an opportunity for people to have their say on what is important and helpful to them during times of transition," she said.

To find out more on the research project or to book an interview time, contact Dr Clare Wilding on (02) 6051 9256.

Source: CSU