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Personal profile

Research Biography

Michelle Bellon is an Associate Professor in the Disability and Community Inclusion, and Course Coordinator of the Bachelor of Disability and Developmental Education in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She also holds a joint appointment with the Caring Futures Institute (CFI) and Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN) as the Research Lead with the South Australian Intellectual Disability Health Service (SAIDHS).

Michelle's career is dedicated to supporting the health and wellbeing of people with disability. She began her career working as a Developmental Educator providing education, community integration and counselling support to adults with acquired brain injury (ABI) within community-based and private consultancy services. Her research, teaching and professional involvement combine interests in epilepsy, acquired brain injury, family/care-giver supports and access to health care for people with disability.

Professionally, Michelle has held a range of management roles including President of the Epilepsy Association of SA and NT, Director of Epilepsy Australia, and Board member of the Community Re-entry Program. Michelle is currently an Epilepsy Ambasador, committed member of Developmental Educators Australia Inc (DEAI), member of the Editorial Board of Brain Impairment, Expert Review Panel member for Lifetime Support Authority, Intellectual Disability Health Education and Training Expert Advisory Group, and on the Advisory Reference Group for Brain Injury SA.

Research Interests

Michelle has maintained an active research track-record in Disability and Community Inclusion for over 20 years, leading research teams examining and addressing a range of health and support needs for people with disability.

Michelle has held the following research roles:

  • Process and Impact Evaluation of the National Alliance of Capacity Building Organisations (NACBO). $100,000 (2021-2023). Fisher, K., Kayess, R., Gendera, S., Robinson, S., & Bellon, M. The final evaluation report is available here:
  • Our Voice SA: Evaluation of Our Voice Reching Out Project (2021-2023). Fisher, K., Robinson, S., Bellon, M., Gendera, S., & Calahan, T. $45,000. This research was funded by Purple Orange, and evaluated the impact and process of the OVSA project to build capacity for self-advocacy and connection for people with intellectual disability in South Australia. Final research reports and easy read versions are available here:
  • Alone Together: A research project about getting through Covid: Experiences from people with disability and their families. $49,935 (2020). Robinson, S., Xiao, L., Muir Cochrante, E., Bickford, J., Bellon, M., Lante, K., Idle, J., Parry, Y., Willis, E., & Silerston, N. Flinders University COVID grant.
  • Principal Investigator on a 2 year research study examining Postivie Behaviour Support following Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A Family-Directed Approach. $155,000 in funding from the Lifetime Support Authority (2017-2019), to examine the feasability of a family-directed behaviour support training proram for caregivers following a TBI. M Bellon, A Fisher, S Lawn, M Sohlberg, J Douglas.
  • Evaluation of Brain Injury SA's SSAYiT program for young people aged 15-24 with an acquired brain injury or other cognitive disability which aims to connect youth into employment, education and their community (2016-2018).
  • Supporting Upper limb reCovery through Exercise for Stroke Survivors (SUCCESS): group constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) (2016-2017) S Lennon, M Bellon
  • Principle Investigator, Families4Families: evaluating longitudinal effects of a peer support network for families following acquired brain injury in South Australia ($100,000 funding from Julia Farr MS McLeod Benevolent Fund; 2014-2015) M Bellon, J Farnden, R Crocker
  • Principle Investigator, Families4Families: exploring the experiences and neds of families following acquired brain injury in South Australia. ($162,500 funding from Julia Farr MS McLeod Benevolent Fund;  2012-2014) M Bellon, J Farnden, R Crocker, J Gardner
  • research relating to epilepsy and seizure disorders with research teams from the Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria on the Australian Epilpesy Longitudinal Survey and Epilepsy management in the disability sector (NDIS Practical Development Fund); Reducing epilepsy-related deaths (Epilepsy Australia); and Seizure-related hopsitalisations: comparisons with asthma and diabetes (Epilepsy Centre).

Research Expertise

  • health and wellbeing for people with disability
  • acquired brain injury
  • epilepsy and seizure disorders
  • co-design with people with disability

Research Collaborations

Michelle has established research collaborations with colleagues within the Caring Futures Institute, across colleges in Flinders University, interstate and overseas Universities (UNSW, University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, University of Sydney, University of Victoria and University of Oregon US), and state and national health and disability organisations, including the Cancer Council SA, Social Policy Research Centre, South Australian Council on Intellectual Disability (SACID), Epilepsy Centre, Epilepsy Foundation, Brain Injury SA, Families4Families Inc, and Our Voice SA. 

Completed Supervisions

Michelle is an experienced Research Higher Degree student supervisor. She has successfully supervised to completion 7 PhD candidates, 8 Masters (18 unit research dissertation),  and 14 Honours students. She also examines PhD theses for other Universities.

She is actively sought after as a supervisor, and has refined her skills in supporting undergraduate and postgraduate research students to identify research gaps, introduce students to colleagues in the field to develop collaborative research goals, refine research questions, provide timely feedback and provide emotional support when needed. 
Principal Supervision:
  • A Family-Directed Approach to Brain Injury in Community Settings: The development of a Positive Behaviour Supoprt (PBS) program (Alinka Fisher, PhD)
  • Out-of-pocket burden in accessing assistive devices and technologies among people with disability temporarily living in Australia: A phenomenological exploration. (Mahesh Ghimire, Masters dissertation)
  • The effectiveness of strategies to teach activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living to adults with intellectual disability: A systematic review. (Demi Martin, Masters dissertation)
  • A systematic review of qualitative research examining barriers and facilitators to employment for people living with mental illness: implications for developing Asian countries (Jebunnesa Jahan, Masters dissertation)
  • Care-giving after traumatic brain injury: the impact on Care-givers quality of life (Dr Partima Singh, Masters dissertation)
  • Evaluating outcomes of the SSAYiT transition support program for youth with cognitive difficulties (Dr Samitha Samanmalee Gowinnage Dona, Masters dissertation)
  • Experiences of disability students in an international work integrated learning placement (Peggy Essl, Masters dissertation)
  • Exploring the factors which influence employment following spinal cord injury in Vietnam: A preliminary qualitative study (Thi Mai Dam, Masters dissertation)
  • Parents' experiences of their child's return to school following acquired brain injury (Kerstin Andersson, Masters dissertation)
  • Rehabilitation collaboration: experiences of people with Acquired Brain injury and their families when accessing services from multiple agencies in the community (Alison Nuske, Masters dissertation)
  • Exploring South Australian women's experiences of being diagnosed as autistic in adulthood (Millie Ingham, Honours dissertation)
  • Knowledge and perceptions of acquired brain injury among correctional staff in South Australia (Jessica Bennett, Honours dissertation)
  • Hospital admissions for children with seizure disorders in South Australia (Christian Parente, Honours dissertation)
  • Exploring the effects of hospital trials on caregiver use of intranasal midazolam during seiures (Rebecca Habel, Honours dissertation)
  • An exploration of the psychosocial effects of psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) (Alinka Thimm, Honours dissertation)
Associate Supervision:
  • Transition to university for autistic students in Australia: A phenomonological study (Alison Nuske, PhD)
  • Managing challenging behaviours after traumatic brain injury in the acute hospital setting (Heather Block, PhD)
  • An exploration of the service quality of Community Access Services for people with disabilities in Australia (Ted Evans, PhD)
  • Examining the nature of resilience and executive functioning in people with brain injury and people with multiple sclerosis (Nivashine Mohan, PhD)
  • Relationships in cyberspace: Experiences of adults living with intellectual disanility, accessing internet-based social media to explore sexuality and develop relationships (Judith Darragh, PhD)
  • Why would you want to be a Disability Support Worker? A qualitative analysis of long-term Disability Support Workers. (Peter Cookson, PhD)
  • Experiences of people with physical disabilities in Vietnam at work: towards inclusive workplaces (Thi Hien Nguyen, Masters dissertation)
  • Clinical supervision in Positive Behaviour Support: a qualitative study of perspectives of Behaviour Support Practitioners in Australia (Sue Goodall, Masters dissertation)
  • Staff perceptions of mealtime support plans written for the children they work with (Alexis Souvertjis, Honours dissertation)
  • Eamining the impact of a Graduate Certificate in Positive Behaviour Support on professional practice (Patrick Bleasal, Honours dissertation)
  • Examining time and resource allocation in Positive Behaviour Support processes: The perspective of PBS practitioners (Sarah Pepper, Honours dissertation)
  • Supporting emotional regulation in school aged children with autism: The role of allied health professionals (Sofia Paku, Honours dissertation)
  • The accessibility and usefulness of positive behaviour support plans for non-specialised support people (Chloe Jarvis, Honours dissertation)
  • The bucket of gold at the top of the hill: personal experiences of hope after acquired brain injury (Jasmin Kelley, Honours dissertation)

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Management of posttraumatic epilepsy for people with brain injury: a psycho-educational perspective

Award Date: 1 Jan 2005

Bachelor (Honours), An examination of the effects of changing contexts on the language and communication skills of adults with acquired brain injury

Award Date: 20 Dec 2000


  • Registered

Research Areas

  • Disability and community inclusion

Supervisory Interests

  • Brain injury
  • Community based rehabilitation
  • Disability
  • Family supports
  • Epilepsy and seizure disorders


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