Belonging and exclusion in the lives of young people with intellectual disability in small town communities

Sally Robinson, Malcolm Hill, Karen R. Fisher, Anne Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


In recent policies, it is assumed that communities welcome the inclusion of young people with intellectual disability. However, little is known about perspectives of young people themselves. This article reports on research that sought to address this gap. Young people with intellectual disability living in three Australian small town communities participated in pictorial mapping and photo-rich methods to explore belonging and exclusion and links between these. Young people’s
feelings of comfort and safety with local spaces and people were important for their sense of belonging. Emplaced relationships with family and some friends were key to strong belonging, as were positive attachments to disability support workers and spaces. Social exclusion, either from particular places or more generally, was keenly felt. Young people’s confidence, willingness to enter social spaces and relationships were magnified by ways that systems responded to their impairment, at worst fracturing their sense of feeling welcome and included.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)50-68
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number1
Early online date27 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • intellectual disability
  • youth
  • belonging
  • community
  • exclusion
  • photo research
  • young people


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