Our research, where it started and what
guides us

The research work of Healthy Trajectories builds on a long-standing interest in improving the lives of those growing up with disability and their families.
Our research falls into four programs: Family Wellbeing, Early Childhood Initiatives, Optimising Health Outcomes, and Learning and Belonging. These programs are guided by two themes: Participation Across the Life Course and Consumer Research Partnerships. These themes have arisen from our work on the National Disability Research Agenda. All our research is done in partnership with people who have lived experience of disability – those people who we hope will benefit from what is learned.

A picture of a map of Australia, with four flag pins and two model boats scattered on top of it.

A National Disability Research Agenda

The National Disability Research Partnership funded an Australian Consortium to develop a 10 year National Disability Research Agenda (NDRA). Our Healthy Trajectories team partnered with the University of Sydney and others to do this work. This was funded by the  National Disability Research Partnership (NDRP) administered by the Melbourne Disability Institute (MDI). The final agenda will reflect the priorities of people with disability (of all ages), their families and carers. This agenda will identify policy and practice gaps, aligned with the Australian Disability Strategy.
The three phases of the NDRA project are now complete, and the full report and an Easy English version for each phase can be found on the NDRP website as follows:
By identifying key projects and themes which align with Melbourne Children’s Campus priorities and the Australian Disability Strategy, we will create the right conditions for maximum impact.

Our Research Themes

Research about what is needed to create inclusive societies so that children and youth with disabilities and their families can attend and be involved in activities that they need to, have to, or want to, do (e.g., leisure, healthcare, education, work) across the course of their lives. The two key elements of this theme – participation and life course – underpin all the Healthy Trajectories research themes.
Authentic consumer involvement in our research is a priority. This means that research in Healthy Trajectories is always done in partnership with young people with lived experience of child-onset disability and/or their parents/caregivers or other allies. Research is a life situation in which we work to make sure people with diverse lived experience can participate. Voice, perspective, and knowledge is valued and needed in all our work together. We will also do research about consumer involvement so that we can continue to build our ability to collaborate effectively, and we share what we learn.

Our Research Programs

All children develop within the context of their family. This theme focuses on research that aims to support the wellbeing of all family members, in the presence of child-onset disability.
Research that addresses issues for children with a disability or developmental concerns early in a child’s life, so that they may be supported to have the best possible start.
Research into minimising the impact that multiple health issues have on the everyday lives of children with a disability and their families.
Research that helps us build and create diverse learning environments that enable lifelong sense of belonging and inclusion for young people with a disability.

What guides our research?

We think that all child- and youth-focused work should be guided by the principles and practices of family and child-centred services, with the goal of child, youth and family empowerment. This means that our research is planned, implemented and used in ways that respect and support the integrity, capability and resilience of all families.
In addition to partnering with children and families and being family-centred in our approaches, there are other frameworks that help us think about what might support the outcomes we care about. We care about young people and families being able to participate in valued life situations, no matter how old they are or where they live. Participation is a human right, and it is important for everyone’s wellbeing.
In this section we talk about five frameworks. These frameworks are useful ways for us to see how our research comes together so we can have more impact than if we think about each project or problem separately. These frameworks each recognise that a health condition or diagnosis is not the most important thing about any person.
Our research is guided by these frameworks because we are focused on participation and quality of life, and on working with families and young people to support them to live a good life.

The International Classification of Functioning (ICF) is a way to describe functioning and disability, developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2001. ...

In 2011, Peter Rosenbaum and Jan Willem Gorter wrote a paper about the ICF called: "The F-Words in Childhood Disability: I swear this is how we should think."...

Families of people with childhood-onset disability want their children and family to participate in all the activities they need to, want to, or have to do, so that they can all lead a good life. The Family of Participation Related Constructs (fPRC) is a framework designed by Imms et al in 2017 to support participation-based research and practice....

In Healthy Trajectories, we think about ‘health’ as a resource for living. Having a disability does not automatically mean you are unhealthy. It might mean that you need to find and use a range of health services though. ...

Resilience can be understood as the adaptive process of bouncing back from stressors or trauma and/or overcoming obstacles to achieve a positive outcome....

Easy to Read
Child and Family Wellbeing

This is the picture our team uses for projects to do with
child and family wellbeing
Our research and work in this area includes
• national disability research
• mental health services
• family support
Early Childhood Initiatives

This is the picture our team uses for projects to do with
early childhood initiatives
An initiative is an idea that helps someone
Our research and work in this area includes:
• NDIS review
• gaps in services
• help for babies and young children with disability
• helping families find the best way for care
Optimising Health in Disability

This is the picture our team uses for projects to do with
• optimising health in disability
Optimising means making the best of something
Our research and work in this area includes
• making it easier to access health services
• help for young people with disabilities who have many needs
Inclusive Education

This is the picture our team uses for projects to do with
inclusive education
Inclusive means all can take part
Our research and work in this area aims to
• build school environments that are suitable for everyone
• help people with disability be included and educated
• and have their learning needs respected
Participation Across the Lifespan

This is the picture our team uses for projects that are for:
Participation Across the Lifespan
Participating means to join in
A life span means your whole life from being a baby to being old
Our research and work in this area aims to
• help young people with disabilities to join in
• to do the things they need and want to do

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