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Publication details

Robinson, S, Hill, M, Fisher, K, Graham, A & Valentine, K 2014, In the picture: understanding belonging and connection for young people with cognitive disability in regional communities through photo-rich research, final report - summary, Centre for Children and Young People, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.


Feeling like you belong and that you are connected to people and places is fundamental to young people’s identity. For young people with cognitive disability who live in regional Australia, very little is known about what helps and what hinders belonging and connection in their communities.

This is a summary of the research that addressed this gap in our knowledge by working collaboratively with young people. Young people were asked what helped them to feel like they belonged and were connected to their communities, and what aspects of belonging were difficult to achieve. The research investigators assisted them to describe their connections, and how to explore the facilitators and barriers to belonging and connection, including the impact of living in a regional community. The views and experiences of young people about their participating in research were also gathered through the research process.

This study confirmed and extended existing research about belonging and connection of young people with cognitive disability in regional communities, providing rich and important insights and practical ideas for change.

Partnering with young people with sometimes significant support needs in collaborative research processes involved the collection and analysis of their own research data, and witnessing the exhibition of their work as artists resulted in rich, rigorous research.