Disability and social inclusion ‘Down Under’: A systematic literature review

Piers Gooding, Julie Anderson, Keith McVilly


This article provides a systematic literature review investigating how the social inclusion of adults with disability is conceptualised in research concerned with policy and service provision in Australia. The review will summarise this literature, and clarify its relative strengths and weaknesses. The findings from the literature review are grouped into recurring themes, namely: deinstitutionalisation; the changing nature of paid support; different forms of ‘community engagement’; and socially valued roles, particularly in the realms of employment, volunteering, and consumer transactions. The literature mostly concerns people with intellectual and cognitive disability, more so than persons with sensory, psychosocial (mental health) and physical disabilities. Several gaps emerge in the literature, such as the experiences of Indigenous people with disabilities, both in terms of exclusion they may face, and solutions being developed by Indigenous communities; ambiguous understandings of social inclusion; and a lack of acknowledgement of prominent critiques of social inclusion. The review builds on these findings to make recommendations for policy, practice, and further research. 

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