Katie Brooker

An investigation of physical activity and social support among adults with intellectual disability

People with intellectual disability report low levels of physical activity and social support to be active. This PhD research is investigating the relationship between social support and physical activity participation among adults with intellectual disability using qualitative public health methodologies.
Katie performed a process evaluation of a community-based walking and social support intervention for people with intellectual disability, Walk and Talk. The program pairs a person with intellectual disability with a walking partner (a community volunteer). This walking pair is supported to walk at least once a week around their local neighbourhood. Walk and Talk was rolled-out by a Brisbane service provider during which time Katie carried out the evaluation.

She has also conducted a systematic review of qualitative research with people with intellectual disability published in the past 10 years. This review is being used to inform the qualitative work with people with intellectual disability for this PhD. Katie has also sought the advice of an adult with intellectual disability to provide guidance and feedback to the research. She has conducted multiple in-depth interviews, photovoice and participant observation with seven participants and is developing a framework to understand social support and physical activity in the context of the Social Model of Disability and health practice theory.

Cindy Nicollet

“Interventions for adults on the autism spectrum who experience anxiety”

Anxiety can affect any person, including a person on the autism spectrum. Experiencing anxiety can be challenging, because it can make employment, education and socialising difficult. For a person with autism, anxiety can impact social relationships and increase repetitive, idiosyncratic behaviours and routines. It is important to find appropriate interventions to assist individuals with autism and anxiety, particularly for adults who want to work, study or be social. But, we know very little about ‘what works’ to help adults with autism with their anxiety. This project aims to develop an anxiety intervention for adults with autism and enhance health and wellbeing in adults on the spectrum and their families.

Cindy has undertaken a systematic review and meta-analysis of psychological interventions for adolescents and adults with autism and anxiety. She also interviewed adults with autism to gain understanding of their experiences with anxiety to inform her intervention which will be based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). She has recruited a total of 14 participants for the study. A series of three videos are to be incorporated as part of the program. The development of these videos was the result of a successful funding application made to the Endeavour Foundation early in 2016. Cindy has been working with a young person on the spectrum and their mentor to develop the videos. A provisional registered psychologist will assist with the delivery of the program and sessions will be videoed to ensure that both therapists are delivering the program as intended.